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Old Weller Antique (107) Bourbon

Old Weller Antique Bourbon, 53.5% abv(107Proof), $24/bottle

Old Weller Antique is a high proof “wheated” bourbon from Weller and Sons distillery in Frankfurt, KY. The first sniff reveals a good bit of the alcohol you would expect from a bourbon at this proof, however it’s not too tough to work through considering. The nose is somewhat restrained and helped mightily with a splash of spring water to open it up a good bit more. Hints of ripe banana, vanilla, and caramel sweetness reveal themselves at the forefront, but the nose lacks some layered depth. The sip has some nice alcoholic bite and punch, caramel, some integrated barrel char, and sweetness. A splash of water once again elevates those flavors further, and yields a much more creamy mouth feel and viscosity. The finish tapers off short and quick with some light oak remaining, but still leaving me a bit wanting. Old Weller Antique lacks depth and complexity, but is a very nice “sipper” offering some classic bourbon flavor at a very good value.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 7.2(Good)

36 Comments

  1. Don says:

    Oh man I love this stuff. OWA is wonderfully simple and embodies the spirit of a Wheat bourbon. I’ve had better but at this price point there is no competition. OWA is simply the best value in a wheat bourbon period. It is my house wheater. Great stuff. BTW I think you are correct it opens up wonderfully with water. Again at this price point I don’t think there is a bourbon that opens up more or gets brighter with a splash than OWA.

  2. Don, thanks so much for the response. I think you summed it up very well. OWA is a simple bourbon that absolutely embodies what I tend to see in “wheaters” in the 8 and under range. Some really great flavors that you would expect from a bourbon (Caramel, Vanilla) come through well with the creaminess a wheater can many times produce. For me it just lacks a bit of depth and finish to get it a higher score. But in terms of price, it’s a fantastic value. Honestly I think it’s superior to original Maker’s Mark for less money. That’s saying something there.

  3. Dave in Oklahoma says:

    WOW!!!! You have a great web-site and do an excellent job on reviews!! I have put this site in my favorites on my computer and look forward to more reviews. Keep up the good work!!!

    Go Sooners!!!!!
    Dave in Oklahoma

  4. Dave, thanks a bunch for the compliment. I’m really glad you like it. I love sharing my thoughts on bourbon and whiskey so this is great fun for me. Always appreciate the comments and suggestions too. Keep em coming.

    And at least you didn’t say, “Go Gators!”. The Sooners I can live with. ; )

    Take care!

    -Jason

  5. Tommy Viola says:

    Jason, mainly I just want to say that I really like your reviews. Thanks for putting in the time to do them.

    I think I probably like OWA a little better than you do. I wonder if it’s because the bottles I’ve had have been much older. The two most recent bottles I have say “’95″ and “’99″ on the bottom, which leads me to believe the former is SW and the latter is either late SW or early BTAC. But, strangely enough, I liked the ’99 better.

    Anyway, the main point is, I get a real kick out of your reviews, and I learn alot, too. So thanks, and keep it up.

  6. Tommy, thanks again for commenting. You are right from the standpoint that bourbon is a natural product and batches can vary. One batch might of the same product can demonstrate enough subtle differences that it certainly impact flavor tremendously.

    I’m glad you like the reviews also. I have a log of great stuff coming soon so please come back and check em out.

  7. Gary Martin says:

    Best “top shelf” bourbon I’ve tried. No other bourbon above 96 proof can touch it for smoothness. A unique flavor, richly a fine bourbon but at the same time distinctive as a truly crafted bourbon should be.

  8. Lorraine says:

    I have 2 bottles of Old Weller, unopened with seal intact. One is in the original clear box and both have the original tags. Both are hand-numbered. One is #17761 and one is #5135-D. Any idea of their value?

  9. Lorraine this is a good question, but one I’m unfortunately not equipped to answer. Greg over at Bourbondork is a master “dusty” hunter and might very well have some good information for you. Good luck!

  10. Matthew c. says:

    Jason the content t of alcohol per the flavor notes are part of the aluyre of the bourbon. it is precisely what the maker intended.
    The sweet notes that you apparently have detected are incorporated perfectly for a wheat type sour mash with its apparent sweetness . old wellerr antique 107 is, in my opinion, the best of the ken… strait varieties by far . it allows for the right punch to flavor ratio for any wheat style bourbon enthusiast.

  11. Matthew, thanks for the comment. I appreciate the opinion – the great thing about whiskey is we’re all right.

  12. M. goldstein says:

    I live Iin PA. and it is not sold here. Where can I buy Old Weller 107 Proof? NJ? DE?

  13. Brad says:

    Jason. I’ve had an interesting experience with OWA this year. Earlier in the year, late summer, I got a couple of OWA’s and enjoyed them. I recall the color being more golden with a hint of copper. Nice nose, interesting, took a bit to open up and air out for an almost solventy quality to dissipate. But I liked it, pretty good.

    Then more recently this Nov 2011, I bought a couple more OWA’s and the color was much more deep copper, the nose was sweeter, the whole flavor seemed more complex and more aged, really fantastic. I wouldn’t even say it was the same stuff as before. This newer stuff has been an absolute A-list favorite of mine this season. Seriously good. Today I brought home some new fall 2011 Old Rip Van Winkle 10/107. It’s shockingly similar to this OWA I’ve been enjoying. The ORVW is better, clearly, but it’s like a better bottle of the same stuff with maybe a hint of a bit more age on it. Better, but not WAY better, and oh SO similar.

    So short story, I’m amazed at the difference between my earlier purchases of OWA compared to this recent batch that I’d put on par with some very highly rated stuff. Almost makes me wish you’d give OWA another shot and see if you make a similar observation.

    B

  14. Brad, I plan on revisiting OWA soon. I am clearly in the minority on my thoughts there. Looking forward to giving it another go.

  15. Oscar says:

    first off: who’s favorite bourbon isn’t pappy van winkle? which by the way is displayed in a number of expressions, one as young at 12. ALL of which are WHEATED.
    SECOND: did you realize the pappys come out of the SAME DISTILLERY as the old weller 107?
    3rd: DID YOU REALIZE THE OLD WELLER 107 AND THE PAPPY VAN WINKLE BOURBONS HAVE THE SAME MASH BILL

    i might say it’s time for another review.

  16. Oscar, if you review many of my reviews and comments, especially most recent reviews and comments I am sure it will be clear to you that I’m well aware of the affiliation between the Van Winkle bourbons and the Old Weller Antique. Many of my posts have discussed this in detail. A few corrections however. The OWA107 comes out of Buffalo Trace and is the same distillery for the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 year, Van Winkle 12 year, and the Pappy Van Winkle 15. The distillery that produces the 20 and 23 is no longer producing whiskey. That distillery was named Stitzel-Weller. So yes, some of the Van Winkle products come from Buffalo Trace, but some do not.

    Now, back to the OWA107. My opinion of younger wheaters is they can at times be flatter and lack dimension and depth that older wheaters have. OWA 107 in my opinion, and based on the bottling I reviewed, demonstrated this flat and quite plain jane flavor profile. It was also overwhelmed by the 107 proof. As noted, I realize I am clearly in the minority on my opinion of OWA 107. It is what it is. Wheated Whiskeys tend to evolve dramatically over time on oak and develop complexity and flavor that simply isn’t present in younger wheaters.

    I appreciate that you don’t agree with my review. I most certainly will review this whiskey again when time allows, and my review/score of it may or may not change. The beauty of whisky is the opinion of the drinker, not the reviewer, is what matters most. Thanks for posting your opinion.

  17. Michael says:

    That’s the lowest score I’ve seen on here.
    Jim Beam White was higher!

    Yes, try this again. It’s very good.

  18. Bmac says:

    Here’s a curious thought. What if the other lower-end Wellers are batches that didn’t quite have the flavor profile of the 12yr and beyond. Many other chains practice this, such as Jack Daniels. The green label is cheaper and are batches that aren’t up to standards on no.7. Otherwise, why have so many variations? Old Weller Antique, W.L. Weller 12yr, and Weller Reserve. With the stocks they have, wouldn’t it be better to focus on a more polished product?

    I happen to have a bottle of Old Weller Antique and W.L. Weller 12yr (as well as William Larue Weller, Pappy VW 15 yr, and VW Fam Res. 12yr) . I didn’t like Old Weller Antique, but then I didn’t like W.L Weller 12yr in the same way….then the 12yr blossomed after 6 months. So to Jason…perhaps some airtime is needed for OWA? In fact that might be an enlightening review.

  19. Bmac says:

    Just as an update, I walked into a Sigel’s here in Dallas and they had several older bottles of Old Weller Antique with the age statement. Checking the numbers on the bottom of the glass and it would indicate that these were from 2008 – 2009; so no SW juice.

    However, there is a lengthy conversation on Straight Bourbon.com about Weller Antique NAS(no age statement) and with the age statement. Some are saying the flavor is quite different between the two. I wonder if that isn’t psychological?

    When a distillery changes the bottle or label, is because they’ve changed the recipe too? Now that there is no age statement on Weller Antique…does this mean they are no longer wanted to be limited to 7 years?

  20. DramMan says:

    I’m in the OMG group here. A score below Jack Daniels No. 7 and Jim Beam White Label? OOOO MMMM GGGG!!!! I find this to have the best nose in bourbon and Scotch whisky. I continue to sniff the glass after the bourbon is long gone. But it requires water and waiting for the nose to slowly develop. My initial reaction to the nose is like yours (“Where’s the bourbon?”), but, in this case, patience rewards. And I can understand the “flat” tasting comment, too; it does not have a standard flavor arc. Instead, it’s rather uneventful until 5 seconds after swallowing, at which point it suddenly blossoms on the tongue, and keeps blossoming, for a very long finish. That blossoming is one of the great and unique pleasures in the World of Bourbon. It’s easy to dismiss this bourbon too soon. It’s characteristics are not aggressive and in your face; they are subtle and seductive and don’t reveal themselves immediately. Plus, maybe you got a lesser batch. A year and a half after your review, I hope you give this one another try. For someone like yourself who enjoys bourbon so much, it’s a shame for you to miss this rare experience.

  21. DramMan, I am in the minority on this whiskey for sure. Perhaps a revisiting soon. We’ll see!

  22. Charlie says:

    I don’t have any other bourbon in my home. For me it doesn’t get any better than this. It’s what I drink. For more than 25 yearsnow!!

  23. theBitterFig says:

    The Party Source in Kentucky just south of Cincinnati sells a single-barrel, store only OWA which is pretty nice. A bit of wood spice and liquorice. Hell of a value too, at the standard price.

  24. Drew says:

    You know, I recently bought a bottle of Old Weller Antique for the first time and my overall impressions were similar to what Jayson wrote here. I found it to be very unbalanced, too much heat from the alcohol masking the more delicate sweetness. Last Friday I found an older bottle with the age statement and old label, I think from around 08. I have to say, the difference between that whiskey and the newer NAS bottle I had was night and day. This older bottle I found is so good it’s not even funny. Head to head with my recent ORVW 10/107 and it’s very close to being it’s equal. I, too, wonder if the age statement being removed hasn’t effected this brand. Just my two cents.

  25. scott t says:

    this is the bourbon i first reach for to drink it for its sake.

    at 107p i find the alcohol robs the true tastes that lie within. i use a water dropper to about 1.5 ounces of whiskey to cut it down to about high 90-ish proof. to me , this is where the heavy wheater opens up. often with a faint smoked grape-cherry taste at the end. like a dessert almost. very delicious and reccomended for one lookling for hi 90s proof (after cut) 7yo wheated bourbon

  26. Steve Shepard says:

    Hey guys. I recently came across a couple bottles of this. A co-worker’s father in law passed away at 90 years of age this year. While cleaning out his house, they came across TONS of scotch, whiskey and bourbon. He received most of them when he retired at 67. Do the math, you can tell how aged the OWA is. It shouldn’t affect taste should it? In fact, I was kind of hoping that it might be worth something to an enthusiast. Any suggestions? Or should I keep it all to myself? I do love bourbon, scotch and whiskey!

  27. Josh says:

    Steve Shepard – Keep them and drink them, by all means. Quite a discovery.

  28. Nick says:

    Hi Jason- hey many thanks for letting us bourbon nerds geek out on your site! You do a great job man.

    I swore off OWA for a long time. Like Makers, I thought it was not very thought provoking. Zzzzz. I went back to this for the first time in a long time last month. Is it possible that they have really upped the quality of what’s going in this bottle? It was a horse of a different color. Still young and still somewhat unspectacular next to the 12 yr Weller, but much better than I remember.

    Take care!

  29. tom says:

    I have a 1970′s bottle of Old Weller 107 #392-X unopened is it still good to drink? Help!

  30. Max B. says:

    Tom- there’s only one way to find out.

    Jason- I don’t think you mis-reviewed or mis-tasted this bourbon, I just think you mis-scored it. Given everything you said about OWA –both good and bad– I don’t think it deserved a 7.2. Not a big deal of course and throughout doing as many reviews as you it is to be expected. It only makes sense, given our human qualities, that you might like bourbon A better than bourbon B on average, but on a given day might give “A” a lower score.

  31. Bobby T says:

    I picked this up at Binny’s earlier today. This is a fantastic bourbon — probably one of the best I’ve tasted in the recent months. Much better than the 7.2 score I see here. It’s almost like — or maybe it is — Pappy with a different label. It’s sweet — more so than I expected — but not overly so. Carmel, vanilla — yes — but with a complexity that has a hint of red pepper and maple. Really good stuff — an astonishing find, actually.

  32. Thanks much says:

    At 107, the nose is largely obscured by the alcohol. Brought down a little in proof, the nose is much nicer and the palate takes on a sweetness that reminds me a bit of Four Roses Small Batch. I’m surprised how – at 107 – it has very little heat on the finish. It seems to have more heat on the finish after it’s brought down ?!? haha. Wow. Maybe it’s just that the flavors come out and the whole experience lengthens a bit so I’m noticing the heat. That has to be it.

    Nice bourbon. I think your review is accurate. It’s a good bourbon – not a great bourbon, but a good – perhaps even very good bourbon – but not a great bourbon. The only thing I don’t like about it is a bit of lingering cherry cough-drop on the finish which lasts longer than anything else. So, if you’re four or five minutes between sips, there’s a bit of a medicinal mojo going on at the back of the tongue.

    Nice though – yes, I’d drink it over Makers. I don’t know if I’d even compare it to Makers46 – they’re so different. Makers46 is the SmoothDaddy of bourbons. Makers46 is the bourbon you can pour for both your friends who like bourbon and also for your friends who have no idea what bourbon is, and who would be put-off by a big >100 proof rye-bomb. I don’t think OW Antique was ever intended to be a smoothie. I think you’re spot on when you say that they intended for it to be a big simple macho punch with some nice sweetness. In fact, it is exactly that.

    I don’t usually mix bourbons, but I have some Elmer T Lee around, which has nice spice but is a bit too buttery and smooth for my taste. So, on a lark, I mixed 1/3 OWA107 to 2/3 ETL and put just a very few drops of water in to bring the whole thing back down to 80 and it’s really nice. It’s like OWA107, but as the palate fades, this nice spice rises up. The OWA cuts the butter in the ETL enough to reveal the spice, and the ETL adds a lot of interesting later mouth feel to the OWA to give a more classic finish… more caramel and less vanilla – and the cherry cough drop finish goes away.

  33. Jon says:

    I am drinking this right now….3 years after your review. And I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. Thanks for the review, and it helps validate what I am tasting in this particular bottle. This year it also has a tannic bitterness mixed in with the sweetness, which I do not find particularly pleasant. With a little water added, it’s more palatable and I can sense a little more of what’s in the juice. Maybe consistency is an issue based on some absolutely glowing comments here. It’s just always hard to come back to something once you’ve had that one off bottle.

  34. jon smith says:

    I have a unopened bottle of Old Weller 107 proof from late 1970-1980. It is in the original special bottle with gold veiling.
    Can you please tell me if this is worth anything…or should I just enjoy it. Thanks for your help
    Jon

  35. jon smith says:

    I have a unopened bottle of Old Weller 107 proof from late 1970-1980. It could be older not really sure but I know it’s pre 1981. Also it appears to be a numbered bottle (No 1512a) It is in the original special bottle with gold veiling.
    Can you please tell me if this is worth anything…or should I just enjoy it. Thanks for your help
    Jon

  36. John says:

    We have a bottle of 1970 Old Weller 107 Original Barrel Proof. Seal on cap is intact with front label. No back label on bottle – gold veins on bottle. Do you know its’ value?

4 Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason Pyle, Joyce Pinson. Joyce Pinson said: RT @jmpyle: The latest #bourbon #review is up, Old Weller Antique, a 107 proof wheated #bourbon. http://ow.ly/2APNs [...]

  2. [...] Jason at SourMashManifesto tastes it at his pool table.  He and I agree on the nose and palate, though I seem to get more out of the finish than he does.  He still recommends it. [...]

  3. [...] SourmashManifesto.com and RedWhiteandBourbon.com spoke well, but not fawningly, of [...]

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