W. L. Weller Special Reserve Review
So there I was, at a local liquor store in Spokane, WA. The ever helpful clerk was happily showing me recommendations for a nice bourbon. I found it rather odd that the clerk never pointed me towards a name brand product but only the “Brand X” bottles scattered about the shelf. I’m a whiskey guy and fairly well rounded in my knowledge of most brands, but these bottles the clerk selected I have never ever heard of before. I was struck by one bottle in particular labeled “Chestnut Farms Bourbon.” When I started asking about particulars such as where was it distilled, how long was it aged, mash bill make-up and so on, no answers were given. After a bit of digging, I found the reason why: this particular retailer buys leftover stock from big producers and bottles it under new brand names. This is a common practice, I’ve come to find, and very profitable. This also explains why these mysterious brands are promoted so heavily within the store. If this is your thing, go for it, but allow us to do the good work of pointing out options.
FYI, Chestnut Farms Bourbon costs well over $60.00 a bottle. Always do your research BEFORE you buy, folks.
Why the story? Allow me to explain. Down towards the bottom of the shelf is a curious, bulbous looking bottle you’ll never hear about labeled W. L. Weller Special Reserve. Weller has a small distribution but can be found in most states. Think of Weller as a heritage brand. The brand’s namesake, William Laure Weller, was the first (claimed) bourbon producer to replace the ever American Rye with Wheat (a softer, sweeter grain) in the mash bill. Perhaps the best thing about Weller SR is that you can score a bottle for around $25. And the fact that a world class reputation of quality follows the bottle wherever it may go is a big plus too. Low price point plus quality juice equals a value buy you can’t beat. Next time the clerk recommends Brand X, politely ask them to point you towards the legit brands for a fair price. Or not. Up to you. On to our review…
SWC Group Review
Nose– Balanced and mellow with buttery vanilla and caramel sweetness. Granny smith apples, cloves and blackberry fruit. Candied toffee and white cake. Opens up very nicely.
Taste– Sweet, medium bodied. Slight oak tannins with a touch of maple syrup and caramel. Subtle, sour fruit.
Finish– Medium length. Charred oak with fruity sweetness. Nutty.
Comment– A wheated classic. Wonderful nose and beautiful, subtle complexity. Very drinkable at 90 proof. Will be making regular appearances in our cabinets. Recommended.
SWC Rating – 84/100
Avg. Retail- $20
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