Thursday, December 21, 2023

Review: Weller Special Reserve Bourbon

Color (5%):  medium copper. Quite a bit of thinning at the edges. Faint green notes through the yellows and browns. 4/5

Nose (10%): Beautiful nutty caramel. Toffee honey, all the sugars. Light oak. Easily manageable alcohol burn. Nice and soft. 8/10

Palate (20%): The sweetness persists. Honey, caramel, vanilla. There's a light hint of dark fruit coming in over the oak. It's not overly complex, but this is easy drinking whiskey. The wheat keeps this fairly neutral and easygoing.  17/20

Finish (10%): Very mild on the finish. Spice is almost nonexistent. The sweetness stays throughout this experience, and the oak lingers when the other flavors fade. Easy drinking and pleasant, not overly nuanced, but so easy to drink. 8/10

Overall Impression and Harmony (30%): This belongs on everyone's shelf. Any friend who comes over who has ever enjoyed a whiskey will be happy with this whiskey. It's an easy sipper; even when neat, there's no aggression or fire. This would be tasty and served neat, in spirit-forward cocktails, or drinks like sours. I like this in a julep. Nowhere near the complexity of some whiskeys I've had, but this has zero flaws. 27/30

Retry on Ice (25%): Ice brings out the hidden spices and the oak. It makes it a bit more robust. The dilution may open up the oils. There are few changes, and no explosive innovations happen, but this stays good.  23/25

Total Ranking: 87% Legendary, AmazingGreatGood, Fair, Average, Tolerable, Swill

Estimated Fair Price: $40
Actual Price: $25

Conclusion: Buy this whenever you can. In my market, it's relatively cheap. The first time I tried this whiskey, the bottle disappeared over a weekend between my wife and me. A few others in the wheated bourbon category compare to this whiskey, but they are a fair bit more expensive.  This is allocated, of course, but it's one of the few I happen to hunt. I try others, but I keep coming back to this gem. When this isn't around, a few others serve this role, with Maker's Mark as a prime example. For the money, in my market, especially with a 1.75L costing less than $40 this is a great deal. That's basically the same price as Wild Turkey, and this is such an easy sipper and a treat for guests. On the secondary market, I do see this for over $60; don't buy that or pay any obscene restaurant prices for a pour. If you can get it close to MSRP, buy it. 

Fact Sheet:
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
ABV: 45%