Weller Special Reserve is darker on the palate with honey, oak, cinnamon, dried grass, citrus, vanilla, and apple. It’s more oaky than the nose suggests, but at least there isn’t much bite with its 90 proof. “Chewing” gives me a similar floral honey and vanilla sweetness with apple and peach, but also constantly reminds me of its thin mouthfeel and weaker flavors. There’s relatively quite a lot of oak and peppercorn, and given the relatively thin sweetness, comes off a tad unbalanced as the oak and peppercorn spar with the fruity sweetness for my attention.
The finish is also more tannic than expected with honey, cinnamon, apple, and black pepper. This sounds crazy, but there’s a slightly minty note, even though there’s absolutely no rye in this bourbon. Maybe it’s more like peppercorn, from the wood, which can leave a similar sensation. The finish continues to be tannic after “chewing”, with honey, cinnamon, and peppercorn that leave a constant tingle on my tongue.
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. 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 equally as difficult to find in this environment.