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The Weller line of bourbons is produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery of Frankfort, Kentucky. The Wellers are “wheated” bourbons, meaning that the “small” grain in the mash bill is wheat rather than the more customary rye; corn and malted barley make up the “large” and “finish” grains, respectively. This same mash bill is used to make the Van Winkle 10 and 12 year-old bourbons, as well.
At 7 years old and 90º, the W. L. Weller Special Reserve is the junior expression of the Weller line. Nonetheless, it is no slouch. The nose begins with a touch of heat and furniture polish, but soon opens up to yeast, spice, sarsaparilla syrup, butterscotch, honey, and apricots.
The palate begins sweetly, but is balanced by a spicy and astringent undercurrent (perhaps it’s the furniture polish again). There are notes of butterscotch and apricot, with a hint of vanilla on the finish.
Though it is not the star of the Weller line—but what could seriously compare to the grandeur of the William Larue Weller expression, anyway?—the W. L. Weller Special Reserve is still a nicely sippable, perfectly mixable, and well-priced wheated whiskey. And that’s certainly something.