Review: William Larue Weller (2015 Release)

Category: Kentucky Wheated Bourbon Whiskey

Origin: Buffalo Trace Distillery

Bottling: Official

ABV: 67.3%

Cost: £128.45 from Master of Malt [sold out]

Score: 85/100

william-larue-weller-2015-release-whisky

What they say:

The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection 2015 William Larue Weller! This stands out for being the only wheated bourbon in the range, which imparts its own fascinating character on the whiskey. This year, the William Larue Weller has been bottled at an imposing 67.3% abv after 12 years on second and sixth floors of Buffalo Trace’s I, K, and L warehouses.

William Larue Weller

A true distilling pioneer, W.L. Weller is credited with being the first distiller to produce Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey using wheat instead of rye in the mash bill. Weller’s original “wheated bourbons” became extremely popular, with a softer, smoother taste. They were so popular, in fact, it’s been said that Weller was forced to put a green thumbprint on his invoices and barrels to ensure that customers were receiving the real deal.

After serving in the War with Mexico as a member of the Louisville Brigade in the 1840s, Weller returned to Louisville to take part in a family tradition of whiskey distilling. After the introduction of his original wheated bourbon in 1849, Weller, along with his brother, founded a very successful bourbon trading company. Weller marketed his product with the slogan, “Honest Whiskey at an Honest Price.”

Weller’s namesake company eventually went on to merge with Pappy Van Winkle’s A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery to form the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, becoming renowned for such brands as W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell and Cabin Still.

Weller’s legacy continues to be honored with the production of top-notch, award-winning wheated brands of bourbon, including the W.L. Weller 12 Year, W.L. Weller Special Reserve and W.L. Weller 107 Antique.

What I say:

Second in Buffalo Trace’s Master Distiller Drew Mayville’s masterclass was the 2015 release of their Wheated Bourbon named after William Larue Weller, reportedly the pioneer behind replacing Rye with Wheat in the mashbill. Wheated Bourbon still has a minimum 51% corn making up the majority grain in the mashbill, however the next most abundant grain is Wheat.

Colour:

Dark coppery brown (14/20), medium-sized droplet tears run quickly leaving thick legs

Nose:

A little sharp/astringent, polished wood, cereal grains and sweet honey, Weetabix, popcorn, cinnamon spiced, a little spirit on the nose (67.3%!), fruity oranges and plums, beeswax and black pepper

Taste:

Warming and spicy cinnamon, fruity dates, apples and dried mango, leather, cigars, tobacco leaf, fresh pine resin, wax and polish, dark caramel and toffee, a little treacle

Finish:

Medium-long, dark caramelised sugars and polished oak wood, liquorice and herbal/aniseed and candle wax

Overall:

Plenty of spirit in this one, needed a little water to tame it and tease out some of the more interesting flavours, intensely pleasurable to drink as the drying astringency created a thirst for more.