...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Weller Special Reserve versus Weller Antique 107, current labels

I'll begin with my usual disclaimer: My palate doesn't take to contemporary wheated bourbons, but the Wellers are usually the most approachable of the flock.

Gently pilfered from the official site

I found a bottle of the current version of Weller Antique 107 in the Ohio wilds two years ago. The shock of seeing a bottle on the shelf influenced me to buy it at the regrettable $50 price, regrettable because that's a 150% price jump from seven years ago. Upon opening it I discovered the bourbon was much too damned sweet for my mouth, so sweet that its cocktails required half the usual amount of simple syrup.

Even though I had help finishing the bottle, the process of emptying the thing still took nearly two years. Halfway through, I set aside a sample of the 107, then sourced a sample of its younger sibling, Special Reserve (whose price had gone up a mere 53% in eight years).

Here's a head-to-head of the two:

Starting with the cheaper sib:

Weller Special Reserve wheated bourbon, current green label, 45%abv

The nose starts off with cherry bubblegum and barrel char. Then vanilla frosting on vanilla cupcakes. Notes of grape drink and strawberry jam hug the sides.

The palate has a spirity edge to it, feeling hotter than the ABV. Cherry candies and grape candies wrapped in polyester. Salt and sour hints in the background.

It finishes with cherry-flavored cough syrup with those salt and sour notes in the back.

This was better than I remembered it to be, but the palate is still too unformed (and sadly lacking in rye 🧐) to make it something I'd be interested in drinking casually. The nose is very pleasant though, and holds up even when the whiskey is applied to ice cubes. I hope its price point holds.

Availability - It can be found!
Pricing - $22.99 in Ohio
Rating - 78

Weller Antique 107 wheated bourbon, current red label, 53.5%abv

Plums, red velvet cake and milk chocolate arrive first in the nose, followed by hazelnuts and nail polish remover. It's more on marzipan than vanilla. Just a whiff of peppercorns in the background.

The palate's alcohol level, though higher, works better here than in the Special Reserve, and the tannins don't bite too much. A combination baking spices and figs gradually turns into mulled wine after 20+ minutes.

The long, warm, fragrant finish leans on the spicy mulled wine note. More tannins here, though.

(Again) This was better than I remembered it to be. It was much less sugary, or was that because I was comparing it to the Special Reserve? Or maybe it needed some oxidation? This is still my favorite of the Weller clan, even matching up well with its older sibling Old Rip 10yo. Yet, after paying $18-$20 for the same (or older or better) 107 for many years, I find it difficult to pay $50 for it again.

Availability - Requires footwork and connections, but it exists
Pricing - $49.99 in Ohio
Rating - 84

Aside from the pricing issues (shocker, right?), this turned out to be a very positive bourbon tasting. But there was one thing I did not disclose. There was a third whiskey:

I'll reveal the leftmost whiskey's identity tomorrow...

No comments:

Post a Comment