2022 Weller 12 Year Old, Antique 107, and Full Proof

Weller, formerly W.L. Weller, is a wheated bourbon originally made at Stitzel Weller and was run by Pappy Van Winkle. The distillery was opened in 1935 after prohibition ended and operated until 1992 when the distillery was shuttered. The distillery was reopened in 2014 by Diageo. When the distillery was shuttered, the brands were ultimately sold off, and Sazerac of New Orleans acquired Weller and Old Charter in 1999 and began production at what is now Buffalo Trace Distillery. When I was in college, Weller came in three versions – Special Reserve, Antique, and Twelve Year Old. They were relatively affordable and definitely available. However, the Van Winkle family retained the Old Rip Van Winkle brand and ultimately released Pappy Van Winkle from old stocks of whiskey. Van Winkle bourbon was originally something that bourbon nerds drank until Anthony Bourdain began extolling this bourbon. So, the Van Winkle whiskies became highly sought after, and given that the Van Winkles moved new production to Buffalo Trace, Weller became just as sought after. Same mashbill, similar taste. Buffalo Trace could increase production of Weller three fold and this bourbon would still remain hard to get.

One might expect the quality of Weller to go down in face of insatiable demand. That is the thing with wheated bourbon; without the rye in the mashbill wheated bourbon needs more time in the barrel to get really good flavors and character. I recently acquired bottles of Weller 12, Antique 107, and Full Proof, I decide to write this blog simply because the quality of these bourbons has actually gone up from prior years I have tried. Some of it may be tied to aging, some of it may be tied to the seasons during which this bourbon aged. But all three bottles are really really good this year.

2022 Weller 12, 90 proof – really nice on the nose, with dark fruit, pastry, and oak. On the palate is a lovely soft wheated bourbon with wonderful bready and cinnamon notes, with oak on the finish. Despite being 90 proof, this bourbon does not taste watered down and the mouthfeel is really nice. One evening my wife and I compared this to the 2021 Van Winkle 12 year old, and my wife preferred the Weller 12. This is a great release of Weller 12 year old, and better than other recent releases.

2022 Weller Antique 107, 107 proof – this is actually the original barrel proof for Weller, but this has now been increased (like with most bourbons to a higher proof with a maximum of 125) to 114. Really beautiful nose on this; much like the 12 but bolder due to the higher proof. Freshly baked cinnamon rolls. On the palate, the cinnamon rolls notes are now filled with cherry filling, with an excellent mouthfeel. On the finish, the cinnamon notes transform into clove with wonderful oak notes.

2022 Weller Full Proof, 114 Proof – My Dad surprised me with this on my birthday; the guys at Hokus hold some stuff back for those that want to buy me gifts. The nose is extremely robust with the same notes at the 107, only stronger and with some added vanilla. On the palate, the cherry filled cinnamon roll notes really become more candied and elegant and are complemented with vanilla notes. Excellent mouthfeel. On the finish, the clove and vanilla notes mingle with oak as the finish lingers. This is a really special bourbon.

These 2022 Weller bourbons really hit the ball out of the wheated bourbon park at great retail price points.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s