I managed to score some BTAC W.L. Weller Antique this past fall. I’ve been enjoying this particular release for the past few months. I usually don’t review highly allocated bourbon because I feel like there won’t be much engagement from the community on here since not enough of us will have the opportunity to try this whiskey. The 2016 release however, is very good. Much better in presentation than a previous release I tried 3 years ago.
Nose: Supposedly this is 67.7% abv but I can’t smell the alcohol on the nose. Initially its very nutty and creamy. It seems rather delicate. Once it has some time to breath, it’s a mix of old wood, ripe cherries, spice, and anise. The nose is so multi-dimensional on this bourbon. Ten minutes after the pour, unmistakable vanilla extract and spice. Once it has completely opened up, there’s just notes upon notes of candied fruit (pineapple, black cherry) and cream with spice.
Water does nothing for the nose other than make it predominantly cola and cotton candy forward.
Taste: Neat-Initially it arrives sour and hot. Not annoying heat, but controlled spice heat. Big notes of fruits; pineapple, black cherry, cola, and wood. The deliver is among the best. It’s measured, controlled, in steps, one flavor after another. After a second sip, cloying sweetness, followed by an intense spice and heat. Body wise? It’s huge, big boy bourbon.
With water, it becomes predominantly sweet and woody. The heat and spice get dulled down a bit as well.
Finish: Wood, spice, with a back end of cola and black cherry. Finish is intense, dry, and hot.
Water improves the finish. It makes it less dry and more woody, bitter, and succulent. It also adds a bit of staying power that was previously lacking.
So what’s different from this release compared to three years ago? The deliver on the palate is just so composed and controlled. It’s as if a bourbon chef cut this up into dishes and serves them one after another on your palate. Compared to Weller 107 or Reserve, this seems light years ahead in refinement. Compared to Weller 12 it’s just much more satisfying. The flavors are more vibrant which is likely due to the higher proof.