Weller bourbon is the namesake of William Larue Weller, the founder of W.L. Weller & Sons, the liquor wholesaler which would eventually be acquired by Julian Van Winkle and merged with the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery to form the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Weller was also a pioneer in the bourbon industry who is recognized as the first person to incorporate wheat into a bourbon mash bill.
The Weller line up is produced by Buffalo Trace and consists of a number of wheated bourbons, including Weller Special Reserve, Old Weller Antique 107, Weller 12-year, CYPB, and the famed William Larue Weller from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. In 2019, Buffalo Trace announced they would be adding a new bottle to the Weller line up. Obviously, this was big news for bourbon aficionados, especially after the announcement that this new Weller bourbon would be bottled at full proof and would forego the typical standard release Weller chill-filtration process.
In June of 2019, the whiskey world was introduced to Weller Full Proof. This expression is made from the same wheated mash bill from Buffalo Trace but it is bottled at the barrel-entry proof of 114 (57% abv). Like all modern Weller releases (with the obvious exception of Weller 12) this bottle does not include an age statement but I think it is fair to assume it will be aged at for least 6-8 years. The MSRP for this bottle is $50 but of course secondary prices quickly rose above $300.
Appearance – dark amber.
Nose – that classic, sweet Weller nose is taken to a new level! There is plenty of buttery caramel, vanilla bean, and sweet ripe fruit, including dark cherry, plum, and some muted notes of that green apple that I often find in the Weller SR. With a little time the fruit notes definitely settle and reveal more traditional notes of caramel and baking spice.
Palate – first and foremost, the lack of chill filtration is immediately noticeable, as this bourbon quickly coats the entire mouth in a surprising but welcomed way. The sweet punch on the palate is still there but the extra proof definitely tames the sweetness and provides a nice balance of flavor. Sweet caramel, dried cherry, and toasted oak dominate. A slight spice also begins to develop toward the back of the tongue.
Finish – the finish is long and warm with a velvety mouthfeel. That rich caramel note continues along with some cinnamon spice, more toasted oak, and a few notes of chocolate covered cherry.
Overall – Setting aside the WLW, I definitely have a new favorite in the standard release Weller lineup! This bourbon has that great sweet Weller profile but the higher proof and lack of chill filtration really allows this bottle to shine. The higher proof tames the sweetness and also gives that extra kick for those of us that love high proof whiskey. And the lack of filtration allows this bourbon to keep all the natural oils from the distilling and aging process, which provides the thick, velvety mouthfeel and much more depth of flavor.
Unfortunately, this bottle will join the ranks of all Weller products that are in high demand and I doubt I will be able to find a bottle on the shelf for a decent price, but rest assured I will be looking because this stuff is fantastic. Cheers!