weller antique 107 review

Weller Antique 107 Review

Weller Antique 107

Distillery: Buffalo Trace

Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA

Alcohol: 53.5%

Composition: Buffalo Trace wheated mash, speculated to be 70% corn, 16% wheat and 14% malted barley

Aged: ~6-7 years in virgin American white oak

Color: 1.3/2.0 on the color scale (russet muscat)

Price: $23 MSRP prior to 2019 but ~$50 after. $80+ in secondary market

From the Buffalo Trace website:

“A wheated bourbon with a full-bodied flavor and a balanced palette. Old Weller Antique is bottled at 107 proof, offering a complex taste and bold finish. It’s certainly a recognizable member of the Weller label, with its own unique characteristics to compliment the high proof.”

Company Website

weller antique 107 overview

Weller Antique 107 has one heck of a family name. It’s one of the very popular Weller wheated bourbons, part of the Buffalo Trace, including Weller Antique 107, Weller Special Reserve, Weller 12, and the super (duper ultra offer your first child as tribute) exclusive William Larue Weller. It’s also associated with Pappy Van Winkle because they supposedly use the same wheated mashbill, creating an insane frenzy for anything Weller. If you want to learn more about Pappy-related bourbons, click here for my review of Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year.

 

What you need to know is that Weller Antique is a wheated bourbon, replacing rye with wheat as a secondary grain in the mash. Maker’s Mark and Maker’s Mark Cask Strength are other well-known “wheaters” that you should also consider as you search for Weller. Keep reading for this Weller Antique 107 review.

weller antique 107 smell

The first sniffs reveal a moderate mix of caramel, wood, vanilla, honey, and alcohol that form the foundation of the nose, like a caramel taffy soaked in alcohol. I can tell by smell alone that this is a higher proof bourbon. The dark caramel and cocoa smell mixed with wheat and corn also remind me of peanut brittle or fudge. Light to moderate notes of apricot, green apple, wood, and cinnamon are also mixed into the fray, creating a subdued smell of baked apple chips with cinnamon and honey.

Digging deeper after swirling the liquid riles up the alcohol, but also riles up sweeter notes in the nose, including caramel, maple syrup, and vanilla, like a dab of vanilla birthday cake frosting, but not as sweet as the real thing. Roasted almonds and wood line the moderate sweetness. Once the glass is empty, dusty wood and dried corn rise from the remains. Every now and then, I catch a whiff of tobacco.

For all the hype, the nose is quite good, aided by the higher proof. I spent lot of time smelling it to try to unravel its mysteries. This doesn’t smell quite like a wheated bourbon, but the lack of rye notes hints at its true wheated nature.

weller antique 107 taste & aftertaste

My first introduction to the taste is hot and spicy, but not pepper or pumpernickel spice from rye. It’s moderate sweet caramel and kettle corn mixed with slightly stronger Red Hot candy-like cinnamon and moderate alcohol. The Red Hots and alcohol flavors, while not overpowering, are intense. After that, less potent, but still noticeable vanilla, wood, nutmeg, and almond flavors appear. While it doesn’t quite come together to taste like peanut brittle or fudge as on the nose, it’s still very enjoyable.

 

Swishing Weller Antique (aka the “Kentucky chew”) releases more alcohol as well as an oily and sticky mouthfeel from the wood tannins and a light malty bread taste. It’s like leaving a small piece of bread in your mouth and you can taste the grains and feel it sucking the moisture out of your mouth. I also get additional hints of spice, as if it had some rye in the mash (it doesn’t).

 

The oiliness and stickiness in the taste carry over into the aftertaste and leave my mouth very dry. Light corn and vanilla frosting sweetness, mixed with a gentle nuttiness, intermingle with the dryness. The flavors are pleasant, spicy, and hot from beginning to end, but I expected more fruit and mellowness, and less spice from the wheat. This is fairly young and rowdy. It’s not a bad thing, but something I noticed. 

weller antique 107 Food pairings

I can see this pairing well with cinnamon-flavored foods such as certain curries and cinnamon buns, as well as sweeter foods such as vanilla cakes, custards, and puddings, especially those that are slightly burnt or caramelized. I don’t think this would pair well with delicate foods such as white fish and foods with creamy white sauces.

Place on the Whiskey Shelf

Mid shelf+

I enjoy drinking this, but I don’t fully understand the hype. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to like from the nice blend of sweet, spicy, wood, and alcohol, but the hype exceeds the actual spirit. It’s still a little rougher around the edges than I would like, and the flavors need a little more “oomph” and pop in order to give it a “Top Shelf” rating, but it’s close.

 

With that said, it’s an absolute steal at $23 and I would buy it frequently if it were actually available, but paying secondary market prices (often upwards of $80+) is a bit much. Buy it at whatever price you’re willing to pay, but I wouldn’t spend more than $40-50. If you’re afflicted with a lack of access to this (like most of us including me), I suggest that you buy Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, which I gave a top shelf rating. It may have a higher MSRP ($40-60) but it’s significantly easier to find and doesn’t suffer from absurd markups (because capitalism). It has many of the same, if not better and more pronounced scents and flavors, without any of the stress of trying to get it. Buy Weller Antique 107 if it’s close to MSRP, otherwise go with Maker’s Mark Cask Strength.

 

*EDIT: With Weller’s MSRP price increase to around $50 in 2019, I recommend that you give Maker’s Mark CS a second look. Now that there isn’t much of an MSRP price difference, Maker’s Mark is a significantly more attractive option now.

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