The bourbon world is a vast and complex one, with many great whiskeys to choose from. W.L Weller Special Reserve is a premium bourbon that comes from the heart of America’s most iconic distillery, Buffalo Trace.
Being that it has won numerous awards for its flavor and comes from one of the world’s oldest distilleries, Weller tends also to be one of the most expensive.
So, before you let any buyer’s remorse sink in after purchasing a bottle, we’re diving into why there’s such a high price for the bottle.
History of Weller Special Reserve
Weller Reserve is a brand of bourbon produced by Buffalo Trace Distillery. The bourbon was named after William Larue Weller (1825-1899), who was a distiller in the early days of Kentucky.
He was supposedly the first to produce straight bourbon using wheat instead of rye in the mashbill. His wheat bourbon was first produced in 1849. The Weller Reserve brand was introduced in 1991 and is currently produced at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.
The mashbill for Weller Reserve includes wheat, corn, and rye. The whiskey is aged for seven to eight years in new American white oak barrels. Weller Reserve is available in two expressions.
What is Weller Special Reserve
Weller Special Reserve is the flagship bourbon of the Weller brand, which was first released in 1991. The whiskey is made using a blend of wheat and rye, which gives it a unique flavor profile.
The Weller brand produces bourbon whiskey. Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made from at least 51% corn and aged in new, charred oak barrels.
It is believed that bourbon got its name from Bourbon County, Kentucky, where it was first produced in the late 18th century.
Today, bourbon whiskey is made exclusively in the United States, and the Weller brand is one of the most popular brands on the market.
Weller Special Reserve has won numerous awards, including a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a Gold Medal at the Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition.
Weller Special Reserve Price
Weller bourbon is a famous brand that is known for its affordability. The flagship bourbon from Weller can be found at local liquor stores around the U.S. for as little as $59. However, Weller’s other expressions are not as wallet-friendly.
Weller 12 Year, for example, sells for at least $300. While this may be out of reach for some consumers, it is important to remember that Weller bourbon is a premium product that is made with high-quality ingredients.
In addition, Weller 12 Year is aged for a minimum of twelve years, which creates a complex flavor profile that is well worth the price tag.
For those who are looking for a more affordable option, the Special Reserve is typically priced at around $79.99 and offers a taste that is similar to the flagship bourbon.
The Weller Antique 107 retails at about $140. And it is another wheated bourbon similar to the original.
Why is Weller Special Reserve So Expensive
The whiskey is made using a wheated recipe, giving it a unique flavor profile prized by bourbon aficionados.
While Buffalo Trace offers several other bourbons made using a wheated formula, including Pappy Van Winkle, Weller Special Reserve is the only mass-produced one.
This makes it one of the most sought-after bourbons on the market, and the limited supply helps to drive up the price. In addition, Buffalo Trace uses high-quality barrels to age Weller Special Reserve, contributing 0-=to the cost.
Weller Special Reserve Collection
The Weller line of wheated bourbons is produced by Buffalo Trace and includes several expressions, including the Special Reserve, Antique 107, Single Barrel, Full Proof, and 12 Year.
The bourbons in the Weller line are all bottled at between 90 proof and 114 proof and are non-chill filtered. The William Larue Weller expression is part of Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection and is the only one in the collection that is not a wheated bourbon.
It is also bottled at barrel proof, meaning it is a whiskey that has not been diluted with water after its storage in a cask for maturation.
These bourbons are all made with wheat instead of rye in the mash bill, which gives them a softer flavor profile than most other bourbons on the market.
Weller Special Reserve Tasting Notes
The mash bill for Weller Special Reserve is 72% corn, 18% wheat, and 10% rye. This bourbon is aged for a minimum of six years in new charred oak barrels. Weller Special Reserve is bottled at 90 proof and is available in 750ml bottles.
This bourbon has a sweet nose with a caramel presence. It’s smooth and features a delicate finish with a sweet honeysuckle flair. The tasting notes include honey, butterscotch, and a soft woodiness.
The Buffalo Trace distillery Website describes the expressions in the Weller collection as:
Weller Antique 107 – “red label”, bottled at 107 proof has a nose that is immediately sweet and very fragrant, with strong floral notes that are reminiscent of roses.
There is also a distinct vanilla undertone, which gives way to a spicy cinnamon finish. The taste is very well balanced, with sweet fruit notes that complement the strong vanilla flavor.
The sharp spices add a nice contrast and the cinnamon finish lingers nicely on the palate.
Weller Single Barrel – bottled at 97 proof has a nose of cherry and mint, fading to vanilla. The first sip is sweet, with caramel and baking spices dominating the palate.
Hints of cocoa emerge as you continue to drink, and the finish is LONG, with cinnamon, coffee, and a hint of pepper. There’s also a bit of oak on the finish, which adds some complexity.
Weller Full Proof – “blue label”, bottled at 114 proof, and non-chill filtered. The nose has vanilla, dark cherries, and caramel.
On the palate, there is a balance of caramel and toasted oak. The finish is said to be long, with notes of crème brûlée and chocolate. This bourbon is non-chill filtered and does not have any added coloring.
Weller 12 Year – “black label”, bottled at 90 proof is a smooth, rich, and intense bourbon whiskey. The aromas of lanolin, almond, creamed corn, and toasty vanilla give way to a heavily wheated flavor with layers of sweetness.
The long, oaky finish is both complex and smooth.
Weller C.Y.P.B. – “white label”, bottled at 95 proof is a bourbon that was created with input from whiskey drinkers. A few years ago, the company asked people to visit www.yourperfectbourbon.com and choose their ideal bourbon recipe, proof, warehouse location, and age.
The results of this “Craft Your Perfect Bourbon” (C.Y.P.B.) campaign was used to create the W.L. Weller C.Y.P.B. bourbon.
This bourbon has a light aroma with citrus and oak on the nose, and the palate is well-rounded and balanced. It has a medium-long finish with hints of vanilla.
Reviews of the W.L.. Weller C.Y.P.B., has been positive, with people noting its smooth taste and complex flavor profile.
William Larue Weller – Antique Collection, unfiltered and bottled at barrel proof. The whiskey has a strong, distinct smell of caramel corn, new leather, plums, light toffee, and pipe tobacco.
It is a very smooth bourbon that goes down easily. The woodiness is the most prevalent flavor, but it is not overpowering.
The aftertaste is pleasant and not too sweet. The price and the smooth characteristics make this a great bourbon for beginners or those who are looking for a smooth, easy-drinking option.
Weller Special Reserve – Final Thoughts
The Weller Special Reserve bourbon is a high-quality, small-batch bourbon that retails for around $50.
It has won numerous awards, including the 2020 Gold Medal – San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the 2019 Silver Outstanding Medal.
The Weller Special Reserve is made from wheat rather than rye, which gives it a unique flavor profile.
If you’re looking for a great straight bourbon that’s not too expensive, I would highly recommend giving the Weller Special Reserve a try.