Weller CYPB 2020-Everything Great but the Proof

Back in 2015, Buffalo Trace created a website and phone app that allowed users to “Craft Your Perfect Bourbon”, by picking the mashbill used, the amount of aging, the placement of the barrel in the warehouse, and the bottling proof. After the first year, and the trend indeed continues, most users of the website pick the Buffalo Trace wheated mashbill that goes in the Van Winkle and Weller lines. Most users pick the top of the warehouse to age their bourbon. The overwhelming plurality pick eight years of aging. So, Buffalo Trace continues to produce their Weller CYPB, which is a limited release of wheat recipe bourbon aged for eight years in the hottest part of the warehouse.

The Weller CYPB does have a nice color for an eight year old bourbon. A little darker than most. Deep deep amber but no mahogany. Very nice film and long legs. Nose is very soft and almost Pappy Van Winkle like. On the palate are lovely dark fruits, southern style biscuits, a little vanilla, some oak, and some nice baking spices. Rather thinnish mouthfeel, however. The finish is really good, where the fruits and baking spices almost take on a candied note, and is slightly reminiscent of William LaRue Weller. Really lovely. The MSRP on this bottle is $45, which is about right.

I opened this last night and sampled it. Sampled it again this evening and compared with my open bottle of Weller Antique 107 2020 release. I have to say, the finish on the CYPB is better than the Antique, which I have to attribute to that top of the warehouse heat that hastens the aging process. And then I thought, really, CYPB should have been bottled at something over 100 proof. This whiskey would have been truly amazing at 100, 101, or 107 proof. I assumed I must have been in the minority on the CYPB website on this point. But, it turns out I wasn’t.

Shouldn’t every vote count? According to this website, only 49% picked a proof between 90 and 100, and the CYPB is bottled at 95 proof. I can tell you that no bourbon nerd that would play on this website picked less than 90, which is Weller’s standard proof. So a majority obviously picked over 100 proof. This is a very good whiskey, but it would have been even better with a better mouthfeel if bottled over 100 proof, say at Weller Antique’s traditional 107 proof. I think the majority of users got it right- bottle at over 100 proof. Just a hair less water, and this bourbon would be truly amazing.

However, with the bourbon craze being what it is, how critical can I really be? I have to admit this whiskey is on the level with Van Winkle 12 year old, and maybe even a little bit better in some respects. I have to admit, as far as my perfect bourbon, I am looking for a William LaRue Weller, Jr., a cask strength wheated bourbon from Buffalo Trace that is aged eight to ten years old and non-chill filtered. Maybe when all of that wheat recipe bourbon that is aging in Buffalo Trace’s newly completed warehouses comes of age eight years from now, my perfect bourbon will be bottled and released in the same short bottles Stagg, Jr. comes in.

That’s my hope anyway. And that was what the CYPB project was about – and given the high demand, I just have to forgive Buffalo Trace for the proof on this one and just enjoy it.

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