Friday, September 20, 2013

Review #2 - Old Weller Antique Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey



Quick Blog Note

I went ahead an adjusted my rating scale from a 1-5 to a 0-5 in order to give a little more flexibility in rating. After thinking about the ratings I felt that if a whiskey really is terrible then it shouldn't get any points at all. This system may change yet again over time but I'll always go back and adjust the prior ratings to reflect within a new system.

Most people that are not familiar with anything outside Jack Daniels and Jim Beam have probably never heard of Weller. I first caught wind of it when researching the greater Bourbon universe and I had read many reviews regarding the products with the Weller name on them. I'm not going to go into the history of the name or anything like that but to say that it is another product owned by Sazerac and produced at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, Kentucky. Over time you will see a common theme here with regards to American whiskey products in that many are distilled at only a handful of distilleries that are mainly in Kentucky.

It took me quite awhile to come across any Weller products at all in North Carolina or Virginia but at last I stumbled upon the Old Weller Antique (OWA 107) at an ABC store in Virginia. I've since noticed that OWA 107 can now be found pretty readily so it is possible that it is becoming more available in those areas. 

PRODUCT SPECS

Whiskey Type - Bourbon

Alcohol By Volume (ABV) - 53.5%

Mashbill - I was unable to find any source. This is a Wheated Bourbon meaning that at least 51% of the mashbill must be corn and a high amount of the remaining ingredients will be made up of wheat as opposed to rye or barley.

Age - No age statement on bottle. Most likely 7 years.

NOSE
Tropical with hints of cedar wood.
Cherry syrup
Citrus lemon
Red hot cinnamon candy
Raspberry bubblegum
Light Spearmint in background

With water
Vanilla powder
Light banana pudding

PALATE
Dried tropical fruit
Cinnamon + Clove
Cereal oats
Black Pepper
Walnut

FINISH
Short very quick burst of sugar followed by a medium and heavy woody oak bitter and black tea finish.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS
I am not a huge wheated Bourbon fan and so my review may be somewhat biased. I prefer the spiciness and punch-in-the-face of rye over the buttery rounded subtle smoothness of wheat in the mashbill. With this spirit I added about 4 or 5 drops of distilled water to settle down the alcohol heat coming off the glass and I also let the Bourbon settle down in the glass for a good half an hour. It has a lot of heat on it and overall I was not a huge fan of this particular Bourbon. 

I thought the nose was very pleasant but it lacked a layer dimension and you could almost smell the harshness of the high proof in the alcohol. With the addition of water the nose settled down and some of the more classic vanilla, cola and honey notes could be detected.


The delivery is in your face and bitter. Black pepper and oak dominate both the palate and the finish. Again it was a medium length finish that did not disappear nor hang around for awhile but it fell somewhere in the middle.

Overall its not a particularly bad whiskey but it is not something I would drink every day. I think I had picked it up for somewhere in the $23 range give or take a buck.

PRODUCT RATING 
2.5 out of 5. This is an entry level wheated Bourbon at a good price point. It is certainly not my cup of tea however I am not a real big wheated Bourbon fan.


RATING SYSTEM
0 - hot dog water - nothing redeeming
1 - one dimensional - not complex and can be flat in areas
2 - entry level whiskey -  a few highlights for a good value
3 - daily sipper - solid, well made product that is always enjoyed.
4 - big whiskey - complex layered flavors - amazing balance
5 - huge, exceptional, unique, one of a kind