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.
Hi @Victor, many thanks for the insight and recommendation, I can see that the Antique 107 is available here for roughly £37, which still isn't bad for a quality high strength bourbon! I dream though of going to Kentucky with an empty suitcase and smuggling it back across the atlantic.
Thanks @dbk, indeed it's not to be found at any retailers over here but will look out for it at any auctions (unlikely as bourbon still has a relatively small fan base here in europe but you never know) and let you know if I come across it!
@OJK, I haven't had the 12, but I agree with @Victor that the Old Weller Antique 107 is really quite great, and an excellent bargain to boot. Now, if either of you find a "dusty" Weller Centennial bottle, don't hesitate to grab it. It's arguably the best of the Weller line (except perhaps the William Larue Weller), and its absence is sorely lamented by many a bourbon fan.