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Friday, September 22, 2017

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Old Weller Antique 107 proof (pre-2017 label)

Over the past three years, about 75% of the whiskies I've obtained have been from purchases made during international trips: Japan, Scotland and Japan. My recent Japanese excursion resulted in a suitcase full of, mostly, bourbon.

One evening, after a particularly lovely dosage of dry sake, I wandered around some residential streets in northern Kyoto to appreciate the summer night and also explore the nearby liquor store. Though there weren't too many surprises on the scotch shelves, I did instantly notice a certain bottling on the bourbon shelves. I hadn't seen Old Weller Antique at an actual liquor store in three years. And here it was, stocked six deep. Going for about $24.

Though I'm not a wheated bourbon enthusiast [apologies for the lack of trigger warning], I have found the Antique 107 to be the most compelling of the Old Weller series. I was also planning a private bourbon tasting event at the time, so I bought a bottle and brought it home. We opened it at the event last week, and it rated pretty well with the guests. I salvaged three ounces for myself so I could finally review this bourbon.

Owner: Buffalo Trace (via Sazerac)
Brand: Old Weller
Distillery: Buffalo Trance Distillery
Location: Franklin, Kentucky
Mash Bill: BT's mystery wheated mash bill
Age: probably south of 7 years
ABV: 53.5%

Loads of cherries (fresh, dried, candy) on the nose. Orange creamsicle, vanilla bean, halvah and Milk Duds. The palate isn't that hot considering the ABV. Some nice citrus notes. Lots of barrel char. Some moderate hard candy sweetness. Witbier, dried ginger, caramel and cayenne. It also has an acidity that continues into the finish, where the sweetness turns cloying. Some dried ginger and lemon sour candy.

WITH WATER (~45%abv)
More caramel on the nose. Dried cherries, cherry shisha, Luxardo syrup and cologne. The palate has citrus, pepper, vanilla and lime lollipops. The finish's sweetness improves. Cherry and lime lollipops. Still quite some acidity.

Like its older and more expensive sibling, Old Rip 10yo, Antique's nose is the highlight. The 10yo's nose is better, but I like Antique's palate more than Old Rip's. Antique's main weakness is its finish, but it improves once water is added. It also results in a much too sweet Manhattan.

Though Antique 107 is younger than Old Rip, their overall qualities are very close. Considering that whiskey is for drinkin' and considering the crazy price difference, I'd always be happy to go with Antique first.

Neither of those two bourbons are must haves for me, but if I ever find the Antique at its old price, I'd be happy to pick up a bottle.

Availability - Worldwide, on the primary and secondary markets
Pricing - All over the place, though usually $22 to $122. Some retailers are being cute, charging north of $200 for it. Good luck to them.
Rating - 83

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