Weller Special Reserve [In Depth] Review
Weller Special Reserve
Weller Special Reserve Details
Distillery: Buffalo Trace
Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky, USA
Composition: Buffalo Trace wheated mash, speculated to be 70% corn, 16% wheat and 14% malted barley
Price: $22-30 MSRP
Weller Special Reserve overview
Weller Special Reserve is the entry-level bourbon into Buffalo Trace’s hyped and sought-after Weller line of wheated bourbon, followed by Weller Antique 107, Weller 12 Year, Weller Single Barrel, Weller Full Proof, and whatever new stuff they keep launching at this point.
Given the already astronomical hype around Weller anything, I don’t need to say much more than that, so let’s find out how this bourbon actually smells and tastes in this Weller Special Reserve review to find out if it’s worth the hype.
*Thanks to Ryan S. for the sample for this review.
Buffalo Trace Lineup of Reviews
Weller Special Reserve smell
Weller Special Reserve kicks it off with honey sweetness and floral citrus, apple, strawberry, vanilla, a thin layer of toasted oak, hay, and cinnamon. Having recently done my Old Fitzgerald 15 Year vs Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year comparison, Weller Special Reserve’s floral sweetness and fruitiness remind me a little of the Van Winkle Lot B. Don’t go rushing to the stores thinking that this is cheaper Van Winkle though, it’s just directionally similar.
Weller Special Reserve taste & aftertaste
Weller Special Reserve is not bad and not great, it just fine. To be fair, Weller Special Reserve does drink like the $20-30 wheated bourbon it is, not a more expensive some will might pay. Weller Antique 107 is a big step up from this, but given the 2019 price change from $25 to $50, is also double the MSRP and even more difficult to find in this environment
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Weller Special Reserve Rating
Here’s the honest truth – Weller Special Reserve drinks like a $20-30 bourbon at best. Sure, it has fleeting moments where it smells like watered-down Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 Year (“Mid Shelf+” to begin with so the ceiling isn’t that high), but ultimately it doesn’t leave me particularly impressed or satisfied.
It’s not bad by any means, but it does little to justify the insane hype around it. When you remove the Buffalo Trace hype, what I’m left with is a decently enjoyable “Mid Shelf” bourbon with some nice floral fruitiness on the nose and palate for its price, although it has this peppercorn and oak note that makes the flavors a little unbalanced.
I’m usually able to find Maker’s Mark Cask Strength for $35-40, so that’s my go-to wheated bourbon, but that price might not be normal. If you can find Weller Special Reserve for under $30, sure go for it. Otherwise, you have a lot of great alternatives to explore because it’s so overrated and often overpriced.
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