Category Archives: William Larue Weller

Review: 2012 William Larue Weller

As the Tennessee Vols continue their pathetic search for a football coach, I am left scouring the house for the highest proof stuff I can find. I only slightly kid about that. In all seriousness, my week of Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) reviews continues on with William Larue Weller – the only wheater in the bunch. This is the part where I’d like to tell you, “hey, if you want to find Pappy 15 but can’t – give this one a go!” Well it turns out Weller, much like Stagg in the BTAC collection, is just as tough to find. Regardless, here are my thoughts on what is typically one of the better bourbons of the year.

2012 William Larue Weller Bourbon, 61.7% abv (123.4 Proof), $80/bottle
Color: Deep Amber
Nose: Dried fruits (dates, raisins), macerated berries, cherry licorice, toffee, and brown sugar.
Palate: Toffee, caramelized nuts, chocolate caramels, clove and cinnamon, fading into bitter black coffee.
Finish: Toasted oak, vanilla, clove, and fruity sweetness.
Overall: As usual this one is an exemplary whiskey. The 2011 was darker, richer, and more complex, but the 2012 is easier sipping with a touch less zip and spice. Such a decadent pour, like dessert in a glass.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.3 (Superb/Outstanding)

Review: 2011 William Larue Weller Bourbon

It’s perhaps the most highly anticipated release of the year in American Whiskey. Each Fall the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC) releases a line up of five whiskeys; George T. Stagg Bourbon, Eagle Rare 17 Bourbon, Sazerac 18 Rye Whiskey, Thomas H. Handy Rye Whiskey, and the subject of this review, William Larue Weller. Supply and demand are clearly good for business because these whiskeys can be tough to come by. Some might suggest you have to have compromising pictures of your local spirit merchant to even get a bottle or two. I say just make friends and/or be a great customer and that usually helps.

William Larue Weller is made from a wheated bourbon mashbill (grain recipe) that contains no rye grain. It’s a similar (likely exactly the same) recipe as used in Pappy Van Winkle.

2011 William Larue Weller Bourbon, 66.75% abv (133.5 Proof), $80/bottle

Color: Mahogany, deep amber

Nose: Dark dried fruits (dates, raisins), Fruitcake, toasted almonds, cocoa, and creamy cafe au lait. This is one where a splash of water releases beautiful roasted notes of coffee beans and saddle leather.

Palate: Dark and sultry. Toffee, roasted and caramelized nuts (slightly burned?), candied fruits, black coffee, bitter dark chocolate, and clove. The balance of sweet, rich, spicy, and bitter is just outstanding.

Finish: Chocolate caramels, concentrated berry syrup, toasted oak and vanilla.

Overall: Clearly one of the three best whiskeys I’ve sipped this year thus far, but I do hate the fact that this stuff is so damn tough to get. I can’t believe they don’t have more of this to get to the public. Keep searching though because this is without question an Epic whiskey. It’s the best William Larue Weller of the last 2-3 years for sure, and based on the three I’ve tasted from the collection this year (Stagg and Handy), it’s the best so far in my opinion.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.6 (Epic/Classic)