April 18, 2010

W.L. Weller Special Reserve Review

W.L. Weller Special Reserve is aged for 7 years, is bottled at 90 proof, and is a pleasing burnt orange in color. What makes WLW different is its mash bill: it's a wheater. The label lets you know this, touting the whiskey as "The Original Wheated Bourbon."

Only a small majority of bourbons are wheaters. As mentioned, wheaters differ from other bourbons in their mash bill - wheat takes the place of rye as the flavor grain during production (Corn, wheat, and malt instead of corn, rye, and malt). The wheat imparts a softer characteristic to the drink, and is a bit smoother because the rye spiciness is absent. If you've never tried a wheated bourbon, do so. Other wheated bourbons include Maker's Mark, other W.L. Weller bottlings, Old Fitzgerald, and several of the Van Winkles.

W.L. Weller Special Reserve's nose is sweet and grainy, like fresh sawdust. There's some caramel as well. Mouthfeel is thick and coating and warm; the wheat component imparts a politeness to its presence in your mouth. The taste confirms the sweet nose, with notes of honey, butterscotch, and a soft woodiness. The lack of rye spice is apparent, and it's smooth and delicate, and calm. WLW finishes with a quick sting of astringency that is blunted by a sweet honeysuckle flair.

Weller is an unabashed wheated bourbon. It is assertive, but not brash; confident but not overwhelming. It's a great choice for the Spring season, and a perfect alternative to its comparitively heavy-handed cousins. Any bourbon collection is incomplete without at least one wheater in attendance. W.L. Weller Special Reserve is a worthwhile candidate for the job.


  1. How much is a bottle of this ambrosia?

  2. Just picked up a 1.75 for $31 bones

  3. Josh, you captured the WLW SR perfectly. Those feeling that the WLW SR is a little too smooth try the WLW 107 proof. The higher ABV delivers wheat with more of a whack.

  4. So have they changed anything in the last year with this bourbon? Prices in Atlanta have dropped substantially. I can find it for $8 to $10, but I can't tell a difference between this and the stuff I had years ago...

  5. I got a bottle of this excellent whiskey from my brother in law. It is the smoothest whiskey I've ever tasted. He's rich. I'm not. So my tastes have been cheap. But, my gawd, this is the best whiskey this white trash redneck has ever tasted. It goes down so smooth it's like drinking water. HUGE thumbs up.