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Weller Bourbon Complete Guide | Weller Bourbon Reviews

Last updated Oct 26, 2020 | Published on Oct 14, 2020

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by Matty Sims

Reading Progress:

Weller bourbon is the original wheated bourbon (the secondary grain in the mash bill is wheat as opposed to rye). It was created in 1849 by W. L. Weller & Sons and refined in its current format by the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in different versions from 1935 to 1972. Once Stitzel-Weller closed the brand bounced around being sold several times to different distilleries. It finally found its home at Buffalo Trace in 1999.

They brought The Original Wheated Bourbon back into the limelight expanding the brand over the last decade with several expansions and increasing production. Compare the production for the William Larue Weller in the chart at the bottom. Up until the fall of 2015, the highest number of bottles released was 7,780. 2016 saw 13,421, 2017 saw 19,040, and 2018 saw 17, 179 bottles released. Buffalo Trace stopped bottle release counts in 2019.

The Weller Wheated Bourbon Collection

Weller Special Reserve
Weller Special Reserve
AKA Weller Green Label
90 Proof
 W.L. WELLER ANTIQUE
Weller Antique 107
AKA Weller Red Label, OWA
107 Proof
 W.L. WELLER 12 YEAR
Weller 12 Year
AKA Weller Black Label
90 Proof
Weller CYPB

Weller C.Y.P.B.
AKA Weller White Label, CYPB
95 Proof

Weller Full Proof

Weller Full Proof
AKA Weller Blue Label
114 Proof

 WILLIAM LARUE WELLER

William Larue Weller
AKA BTAC Weller
Barrel Proof, Uncut, Unfiltered

 W.L. WELLER  SINGLE BARREL

Weller Single Barrel
AKA Weller Orange Label
97 Proof

Weller Full Proof

Weller Full Proof
AKA Weller Blue Label
Barrel Proof, Uncut, Unfiltered

 WILLIAM LARUE WELLER

William Larue Weller
AKA BTAC Weller
Barrel Proof, Uncut, Unfiltered

 W.L. WELLER  SINGLE BARREL

Weller Single Barrel
AKA Weller Orange Label
97 Proof

Start shopping for bourbon swag for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Weller Bourbon: The Original Wheated Bourbon Reviews

Weller Wheated Bourbon

Weller is named after William Larue Weller (1825–1899). Legend has it he was the first to use wheat as the secondary grain instead of rye in a bourbon mash bill. W.L. Weller hired Julian Van Winkle as a salesman for W. L. Weller & Sons in 1893. That was the start of a beautiful partnership. Van Winkle would later purchase A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery which would merge with W. L. Weller & Sons to create the legendary Stitzel-Weller Distillery in 1935.

Formerly, there were two other modern releases of Weller bourbons:

  • W. L. Weller 19 year (Review) – BTAC at 90 proof, Bottled by Buffalo Trace, 2000 – 2002
  • W. L. Weller Centennial 10 Year (Review) – Bourbon Heritage Collection at 100 proof, Bottled by Diageo and Buffalo Trace, 1998- 2009 (see the video below)

Weller Special Reserve Review

Weller Special Reserve

Weller Special ReserveDetails
ProductionWheated Bourbon
BarrelNew, Charred American Oak
MashbillUnknown
AgeNAS
Proof90°
ABV45%
Price$20
DistilleryBuffalo Trace Distillery
ProsSoft, Subtle Flavors
Great for Sipping
Great for Cocktails
ConsNot Complex
Rating88
InventoryGreat to Have on Hand

According to Buffalo Trace,

The Original Wheated Bourbon Whiskey features an exceptionally smooth taste, substituting wheat for rye grain. Bottled at 90 proof, this bourbon stands out with its burnt orange color. Its softer flavor notes make this bourbon great for sipping or making cocktails.

Glass

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Nose

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Taste

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Finish

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Verdict

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Weller Antique 107 Review

Weller Antique 107

Weller Antique 107 (OWA)Details
ProductionWheated Bourbon
BarrelNew, Charred American Oak
MashbillUnknown
AgeNAS
Proof107°
ABV53.5%
Price$50
DistilleryBuffalo Trace Distillery
ProsBold, Complex Flavors
ConsNone
Rating93
InventoryStock Up When You Find

Weller Antique 107 is a fan fav for those who love wheated bourbons because it perfectly balances the sweet notes you expected from a wheater with the bold robust spice and long finish. Prior to Buffalo Trace distilling Weller, the OWA 107 used to be the full proof offering in the Weller line. Stitzel-Weller had a lower entry proof (similar to Maker’s Mark today) which made their full proof bourbons hit the 107 proof mark. Now the entry proof at Buffalo Trace is higher so it’s no longer a full proof bourbon, but it doesn’t disappoint.

Weller 107 was sought after and hard to find even in the 1960s. President Lyndon B. Johnson sent a lobbyist on a bourbon hunt in Texas looking for thirty-six bottles to woo Senator Richard Russell according to Robert Caro, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, in Working.

“Weller 107 was a very special sour mash.  So few bottles were manufactured each year – each bottle was numbered by hand – that there would be only a few for sale in any one liquor store, or, indeed, in any one city.  It was the favorite beverage of a powerful southern senator, Richard Brevard Russell of Georgia, whose support was vital to the career of Lyndon Johnson and the balance sheet of Brown & Root.  As soon as Russell had accepted Johnson’s annual invitation to visit the Johnson Ranch, Lyndon would call George Brown of Brown & Root, and Brown would dispatch the Brown & Root lobbyist, Posh Oltorf, in the company plane from city to city until three cases – thirty-six bottles – of 107 were assembled for Lyndon to give Russell as a gift to take back to Georgia with him.”

Awards: Gold Medal at the 2016 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition

Glass

Weller antique is honey colored with a rose gold tint. It’s oily but not quite as thick as the Weller 12. Smaller beads make their way down the glencairn whiskey glass.

Nose – 92 Points

It’s like a bouquet of summer berries and crisp late summer apples covered in white chocolate and dusted with cinnamon. I also get hints of honey. The more I nose this the more the baking spice come to the play.

Taste – 94 Points

I remember buying my first bottle of Weller Antique and thinking, “Wow this is spicey.” Now not so much. The front of the palate is bright and fruity with caramel. The side and back is baking spice and red pepper. And as you chew this bourbon you get just a bit of tingling spicy on the tip of the tongue.

Finish – 97 Points

The finish is long which is why bourbon nerds love OWA. It’s got charred oak and baking spice with just subtle hints of red fruit and caramel. The real star is the oak and spice which is perfectly balanced.

Verdict – The Bourbon Bard Gold (94 Points)

If you can come away with 2 or 3 (or more of these a year), count yourself lucky. It may be the best value at right at its price point. Weller Antique is well regarded for a reason. It’s a big, bold wheated with a long finish. This is a full bodied world champion.

Related: Best Bourbons Ranked for Every Budget (2020)

Weller Craft Your Perfect Bourbon (C.Y.P.B.) Review

Weller C.Y.P.B.

Weller C.Y.P.B.Details
ProductionWheated Bourbon, High Floors
BarrelNew, Charred American Oak
MashbillUnknown
Age8 Years
Proof95°
ABV47.5%
Price$39.99
DistilleryBuffalo Trace Distillery
ProsBalanced Flavor Profile
ConsFinish Lacks Boldness
Rating92
InventoryStock Up When You Find

According to Buffalo Trace,

A few years ago we asked whiskey drinkers to “Craft Your Perfect Bourbon” (C.Y.P.B.) online by visiting buffalotracedistillery.com/yourperfectbourbon/ and choosing their ideal bourbon recipe, proof, warehouse location and age. Thousands chose wheated bourbon, just like William Larue Weller did years ago. This limited edition whiskey is the result of the overwhelming consensus—a wheated recipe bourbon, aged on the highest warehouse floors for eight years and bottled at 95 proof.

Glass

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Nose

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Taste

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Finish

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Verdict

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Weller 12 Year Review

Weller 12

Weller 12 YearDetails
ProductionWheated Bourbon
BarrelNew, Charred American Oak
MashbillUnknown
Age12 Years
Proof90°
ABV45%
Price$39.99
DistilleryBuffalo Trace Distillery
ProsBalanced, Complex, and Creamy
ConsNone
Rating94
InventoryCoveted Prize When You Find It on the Shelf

According to Buffalo Trace,

As part of the wheated bourbon family, this twelve year old W.L. Weller is aged far longer than most wheated bourbons. This offering is a smooth, easy-going and balanced offering with a beautiful deep bronze color.

Weller 12 is often called the Poor Man’s Pappy. It does remind me of Pappy 15 and the older releases minus the oak.

Also, in many bourbon groups you’ll hear people talk about making Poor Man’s Pappy by mixing 40% Weller 12 and 60% Weller Antique 107. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried this Pappy blending voodoo.

Awards: Extraordinary / Ultimate Recommendation (95–100 pts) from the 2015 Ultimate Spirits Challenge and a Silver Outstanding medal from the 2015 International Wine & Spirits Competition (UK)

Weller 12 in the Glass and Color

Thick and oily with long legs. It’s a chestnut color.

Nose – 95 Points

I love a bourbon that smacks you in the face when you pop the cork (or, in this case, twist the cap). The minute I poured this into my glencairn whiskey glass caramel, apple pie baking spice, and buttered pie crust hit my nose.

Now nose in the glass — all those flavors are intensified. Plus a wonderful tart apple and blackberry note.

Taste

The front and mid palate are all maple syrup and dark rich caramel streusel. My wife makes this apple pie with a streusel on top — oats, caramel, pecans, and pie crust cut outs. That’s what this reminds me of. The back of palate does have subtle baking spice balanced with tart green apples.

Finish

The finish is medium. In this era of bourbon where everyone is hunting for the crazy long finish I’m more than ok with this medium finish. It’s got just a hint of spice along with maple syrup and caramel and just a touch of charred oak. Complexity and balance epitomized.

Verdict

The masses usually proclaim Weller Antique 107 as the champion of the lower Wellers. However, I’ve always loved Weller 12 for its creamy, buttery mouthfeel and rich flavor profile.

Weller 12 is the bourbon whiskey, if I could find it regularly, that would be my daily drinker in another world. Alas, I can dream.

Weller Full Proof Review

Weller Full Proof

Weller Full ProofDetails
ProductionWheated Bourbon
BarrelNew, Charred American Oak
MashbillUnknown
AgeN/A
Proof114°
ABV57%
Price$49.99
DistilleryBuffalo Trace Distillery
ProsOWA and Weller 12 Had a Love Child
ConsNone
Rating93
InventoryLook for Store Picks

According to Buffalo Trace,

William Larue Weller developed his original bourbon recipe with wheat, rather than rye. Bottled at the same 114 proof the spirit was when it entered into the barrel, this non-chill filtered wheated bourbon forgoes chill filtration to preserve all the naturally occurring residual oils and flavors that occur during the distillation and aging process (potentially making it appear cloudy at cold temperatures). This bourbon balances a rich mouth feel, with robust notes of vanilla and oak. A whiskey that satisfies the demand of the non-chill filtered whiskey enthusiasts, honoring the man who made wheated bourbon legendary.

Related: Weller Full Proof Barrel Pick Tasting Notes

Glass

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Nose

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Taste

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Finish

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Verdict

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Weller Single Barrel Review

W.L. WELLER SINGLE BARREL

Weller Single BarrelDetails
ProductionWheated Bourbon
BarrelNew, Charred American Oak
MashbillUnknown
AgeN/A
Proof97°
ABV48.5%
Price$49.99
DistilleryBuffalo Trace Distillery
ProsN/A
ConsN/A
RatingN/A
InventoryN/A

According to Buffalo Trace,

William Larue Weller, born in 1825, spent most of his life educating the public on his first-of-its-kind bourbon recipe using wheat in the mash bill. Weller’s gentle, mild and smooth sipping experience changed whiskey as we know it. Handpicked and bottled one exceptional barrel at a time, this special release is bourbon to be savored. Delivering nuanced variations from the ageing process. For the refined bourbon palate, no two barrels are quite the same. Expect distinct, full-bodied flavor in the celebrated tradition of Weller’s wheated bourbon.

Glass

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Nose

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Taste

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Finish

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Verdict

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William Larue Weller (Buffalo Trace Antique Collection)

William Larue Weller

William Larue Weller broke into the scene in 2005 as part of Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. It is an uncut, unfiltered bourbon (that means it’s barrel proof and the fats aren’t filtered out). The age and the proof change from year to year as you can see below.

Awards: The 2016 WLW won a 2017 Double Gold medal by the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

ReleaseYear of DistillationProduct AgeRelease ProofNumber of BarrelsWarehousesWarehouse FloorsEvaporation LossNumber of Bottles (est.)
Fall of 2005Fall of 199312 years, 2 months121.941Q5th58.04%4,602
Fall of 2006Spring of 199115 years, 3 months129.922M5th50.64%2,905
Fall of 2007Spring of 199710 years, 3 months117.934I9th53.27%4,250
Fall of 2008Spring of 199711 years, 2 months125.340I9th52.05%5,131
Fall of 2009Fall of 199811 years134.841N, O5th57.20%4,694
Fall of 2010Summer of 199812 years, 3 months126.655I, P4th and 9th55.50%6,547
Fall of 2011Fall of 199812 years, 11 months133.545N, O, P4th and 5th57.20%5,152
Fall of 2012Spring of 200012 years, 4 months123.449P, I2nd and 4th56.60%5,689
Fall of 2013Spring of 200112 years, 1 month136.239M, P3rd and 4th55.30%3,468
Fall of 2014Spring of 200212 years, 3 months140.239D, K, L2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th62.30%3,933
Fall of 2015Spring of 200312 years, 3 months134.6105I, K, L2nd and 6th72.30%7,780
Fall of 2016Winter of 200312 years, 7 months135.4145D, K, L3rd and 6th65.40%13,421
Fall of 2017Winter of 200512 years, 6 months128.2155D, I, P1st thru 6th54.08%19,040
Fall of 2018Winter of 200612 years, 6 months125.7149C, I, K, L, M, Q2nd thru 5th56.90%17, 179
Fall of 2019Winter of 200712 years, 6 months128.0N/AI2nd and 3rd57.00%N/A
Fall of 2020Winter of 200812 Years, 6 Months134.5N/AI, C3rd, 5th, and ^th73%N/A

Weller Bourbon: Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Weller bourbon cost?

Depending on the expression, it ranges from $20 to $99 at MSRP.

  • Weller Special Reserve $19.99
  • Weller 12 Year $39.99
  • Weller Single Barrel $39.99
  • Weller Antique 107 $49.99
  • Weller Full Proof $49.99
  • Weller C.Y.P.B $39.99
  • William Larue Weller $99.99

Is Weller a good bourbon?

It is a well regard wheated bourbon. On Distillery.com, they are rated as follows:

  • Weller Special Reserve – 91 out of 100
  • Weller 12 Year – 93 out of 100
  • Weller Single Barrel – N/A
  • Weller Antique 107 – 92 out of 100
  • Weller Full Proof – 92 out of 100
  • Weller C.Y.P.B – N/A
  • William Larue Weller – Over 90 But Different Every Year

Is Weller the same as Pappy?

Currently, the same mash bill is used to distill both wheated bourbons, but the warehouse location and floors may different. Pappy is generally aged on only the first floor which produces less fluctuate in temperate and less extremes for a more subtle and smoother bourbon.

What is the best Weller bourbon?

If you can find William Larue Weller do not pass it up. It is a consistently great among the BTAC and stands head and shoulder above the other Weller expressions.

What states sell Weller bourbon?

Weller is a nationally distributed bourbon, but states like OH, TX, CA, and GA seem to get more than other states.

How do I find Weller bourbon?

Weller, like many allocated bourbons, can be hard to find. I would make three recommendations. First, get to know a local store. Buy from them. Talk with them. The whole nine yards. Second, join a local and/or national bourbon group. The community is tight knit and once you’re in and make friends chances are you’ll find someone who can help you find one. Third, spend all of your time and energy hunting. Go door to door. Follow whiskeys delivery trucks. Sleep in your car. Don’t go to work. You get the picture. Not ideal.

Who is William Larue Weller?

According to the Buffalo Trace Distillery website,

Born in 1825, William Larue Weller was one of the early whiskey pioneers in Kentucky. After serving with the Louisville Brigade in the 1840’s, Weller returned to Louisville to open his wholesale liquor business. Weller developed his original bourbon recipe with wheat, rather than rye in the mash bill. Wheat is a soft grain providing his bourbon with a mild, gentle and smooth taste.

Weller is reported to have used the slogan “Honest Whiskey at an Honest Price.” He spent his lifetime educating consumers about the differences in his bourbon. William Larue Weller’s wheated bourbon became so popular, that Weller was forced to put a green thumbprint on barrels to ensure that customers were receiving the real deal.

Pappy Van Winkle eventually merged Weller’s namesake company with the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery to form the Stitzel-Weller Distillery.

The legacy of William Larue Weller continues to be honored today with award-winning wheated bourbons such as Weller 12 Year, Weller Special Reserve and Weller 107 Antique.

Start shopping for bourbon swag for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.

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