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W.L. Weller 12 Year Old

Worth the Wait

7 1988

@OdysseusUnboundReview by @OdysseusUnbound

7th Jan 2020

0

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    22
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    22
  • Overall
    88

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

WARNING: this review is longer than my typical reviews

The internet is a strange place. Social media is even stranger. Log on to Twitter, say something as innocent as "I like Alaskan Malamute puppies" and within the first ten minutes someone will undoubtedly tell you that you're the worst person who's ever lived and that you should re-think your life.

I've left a few bourbon groups on Facebook for similar reasons. Now most whisky appreciation groups on Facebook are interesting, convivial places where you can find recommendations and information you can't seem to find anywhere else. However bourbon-specific groups seem to draw a different type of enthusiast, or maybe I just haven't found the right ones. In most scotch groups, for example, divergence on taste preferences are treated as just that; individual preferences. In the Facebook bourbon groups I've visited, there's a direct correlation between your bourbon preferences and your value as a human being. I was chastised, derided, and belittled because I had the audacity to state that my particular bottle of Weller 12 Year Old, wasn't very good. It was perfectly clear to these grown men who I didn't know that I'm "just a triggered libtard snowflake". Of course, they were the ones carrying on about it IN ALL CAPS ! but I digress. Odd, very odd.

Luckily the members of Connosr are more sympathetic, insightful, and knowledgeable. I was told by a few people that some batches of Weller 12 were nigh on undrinkable unless they were allowed to "sit" for a year or more. This became a challenge for me, since I'm more of an instant gratification kind of guy. I want my bourbon to be delicious and I want it to be amazing now. But given the choice between pouring my Weller 12 down the drain and waiting it out, the decision was obvious. Wasting bourbon is criminal.

My tasting notes are almost always an aggregate of several tastings, but I don't always include separate notes and dates. I did in this case since I was expecting the bourbon to change.

Tasting Notes (April 2018)

neat from a Glencairn glass

  • Nose: cherries, oak, brown sugar, a bit of old leather and tobacco.
  • Palate: rich mouthfeel, deep cherry notes, a bit of maple syrup, a lovely beginning marred by a somewhat off-putting cough syrup note.
  • Finish: the sharp, discordant medicinal cough syrup note persists and masks what is otherwise a pleasant maple-pecan-oak finish. Good overall, but the cough syrup note is incredibly disappointing and doesn’t seem to go away with time or with water.

I tasted my Weller 12 a few more times in the subsequent months of 2018 and it was always the same, lovely aromas, nice start to the flavour development, and turning unbearably awful and bitter on the finish. It was disappointing but my fellow Connosrs encouraged me to keep my bottle around and promised that the bitter cough syrup note would eventually dissipate.

Initial Score: 70/100 (mostly because of the bitter and off-kilter finish)

Tasting Notes (November 30, 2019)

Neat from a Glencairn glass

  • Nose: subdued, oak, vanilla, cherry, brown sugar, a hint of Juicy Fruit gum
  • Palate: medium bodied, vanilla, oak, slightly tannic, a little maple syrup, a touch of almonds
  • Finish: the cough syrup note is finally gone. Gentle and somewhat drying oakiness, baked apples, pecans, maple syrup, and a hint of the Juicy Fruit gum flavour lingers.

Updated score: 87/100

Tasting Notes (December 27, 2019)

Neat from a Copita glass

  • Nose: cherries, toasted oak, vanilla, ripe peaches, a bit of barrel char
  • Palate: medium body, slightly tannic, cherries, oak, cinnamon
  • Finish: long and warming, but pleasantly dry, baking spices (cinnamon and nutmeg), pecans, a little maple syrup, some cherries hanging around.

Final score: 88/100

I'm glad I waited this one out.

  • Would I order this in a bar? No. Since I have no way of knowing how fresh the bottle is, I wouldn't want to set myself up for disappointment.
  • Would I accept a glass if offered? Yes. If this is from someone else's bottle, it would be worth a go.
  • Would I purchase another bottle? Absolutely. Especially if the price is reasonable. Now that I know that it does improve with time, I wouldn't hesitate.

Related W. L. Weller reviews

19 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Nice, honest review.

In a world where there are so many whiskies, and bourbons specifically, that taste great from the opening of the seal, it takes a special kind of devotion to give it a year to become drinkable.

I've had Lambertus open for years. I don't think it would rate even a 50.

I prefer rye bourbons to wheated bourbons in most cases. I have a bottle of OWA 107 that will last me a decade, because I won't go to it often or at all. In fact the last time I opened it was April 2018. It was open a year then.

20 days ago 3Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor commented

@OdysseusUnbound thank you for an excellent, nuanced, and very thorough review. This sort of information is very valuable to others who will have similar experiences, as you know. People often want conceptually simple, absolute, once and for all time evaluations, but real life, for those patient enough to observe it closely and carefully, is often a far more complex animal.

20 days ago 3Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@RianC Seriously, some of the people in those bourbon groups are incredibly volatile. I wonder : How fragile is their sense of self-worth if they fly off the handle at some stranger on the internet not liking the same bourbon as them?

19 days ago 4Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC commented

@OdysseusUnbound - aye, crazy! I think you're brave for chatting openly on Facebook but, like you say, I'm sure there are decent groups around. I think it's the medium that's part!y to blame; there's no come back and folk can say things they'd not dare in person. All a bit sad really.

I was once booted off a football forum for simply having different views to the mods and being popular. I was accused of 'trying to take over' laughing some folk just need to get a grip.

19 days ago 2Who liked this?

@Pierre_W
Pierre_W commented

Great review - I just added this one to my shopping list.

19 days ago 1Who liked this?

@Misty
Misty commented

I dunno though, waiting a year after purchase before it gets good enough to try.....

18 days ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Misty I'm not sure every batch is/will be like this. I've heard from some people that there was nothing "off" on the finish in their bottle. And when I noted here that my bottle was "off", several members told me that it wasn't uncommon.

18 days ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

There is lots and lots of batch variation in Buffalo Trace wheated (and standard rye) bourbons, not just the Weller series, but also all of the Van Winkles. I know from personal experience.

@OdysseusUnbound I have tasted some Weller 12 from a friend's bottle which was apparently quite likable from the bottle opening. Judging from comments on Connosr many others have also had that experience. Beware the batches.

18 days ago 3Who liked this?

Astroke commented

So @OdysseusUnbound , will you be checking off the Weller 12 box today for the pre-BTAC/PVW LCBO lottery today?

If the Stagg jr is Batch 12 than it is also a must have from what I have heard and I usually do not check that box as I still have an unopened bottle.

18 days ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

What is the ABV of the batch 12 Stagg jr? Asking for a friend.... in order to be able to identify it.

18 days ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound
OdysseusUnbound commented

@Astroke I rarely win anything in these things, so I "tried" for everything.

18 days ago 0

Astroke commented

@Nozinan The blurb states 64.75% but that is from a couple of years ago as I have that one. Typical LCBO using an old inaccurate description. The OFBB shows as 48% ABV (2018) when the 2019 is 105 proof.

18 days ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

@Astroke that 64.75% Batch was My favourite of the ones I’ve tried

17 days ago 0

Astroke commented

@Nozinan I have been told by some Bourbon guys I trust that the recent batch 12 is maybe the best Jr. ever produced. FWIW

17 days ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

Probably worth a try. Can always be returned if no one wants it...

17 days ago 1Who liked this?

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