W.L. Weller Bourbon Taste Test: Jay Cutler, Brandon Try Three Bottles From the Buffalo Trace Brand

by TK Sanders
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Outsider’s Jay Cutler and Brandon Chesbro returned once again for their weekly bourbon tasting, this time with Buffalo Trace’s Weller brand of products. Each week the dynamic duo like to sample three different offerings across three price points from the same brand. The goal is to determine which flavors taste best for which occasion, and to decide if a cheaper bottle can suffice against a bigger ticket flavor profile.

Last week, Jay and Brandon sampled three tiers of Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey; and though they didn’t personally love any of the Kentucky flavors, they did find a very specific “holiday” use for one of the bottles. This week, the boys sat down for a few sips of every bourbon aficionado’s favorite “accessible” brand: W.L Weller — even though these days it seems that the secret’s out.

“This is a special day for me, because this is my favorite bourbon,” Brandon began. “Buffalo Trace, I think they have five offerings now. A couple of which are extremely hard to find. But these are the original wheat bourbons; it’s their claim to fame.”

W.L. WELLER SPECIAL RESERVE

  • Nose: Sweet, with a presence of caramel
  • Palate: Tasting notes of honey, butterscotch, and a soft woodiness
  • Finish: Smooth and delicate with a sweet honeysuckle flair
  • Proof: 90 proof, or 45% alcohol by volume
  • MSRP: $24.95

“I get why you like it,” Jay said immediately after his first sip. “It’s super smooth.”

“Because it’s 90 proof, there’s no crazy heat to it,” Brandon agreed. “I used to call this my ‘house wine.’ Before it was hard to find, this was my ‘go-to.'”

“I like this, I could drink this,” Jay approved. “That’s what you could drink every night,” Brandon also said. “You could drink it neat, you could drink it with ice. You could, dare I say, make it with an Old Fashioned.”

“Big fan,” said Jay.

W.L. WELLER ANTIQUE

  • Nose: Sweet and unusual floral notes and coupled with vanilla
  • Palate: Well balanced with sweet fruit notes, strong vanilla undertone and sharp spicy tones
  • Finish: Cinnamon
  • Proof: 107 proof, or 53.5% alcohol by volume
  • MSRP: $59.95

“We don’t know the age of this one. It could be five years old, or ten years old,” Brandon noted before pouring the next round. “This one is probably aged a bit more than the Special Reserve. It’s my special house wine. Like all of my bottles at home of this one are unopened. It’s special.”

“I don’t know if you can taste that [higher proof],” Jay said, surprised at the Antique’s great flavor. “It’s so smooth. It gets you a little bit at the end with some burn. You can feel it going down, which is fine. But there’s no bite; it’s not bitter.”

“And there’s still that great Weller’s taste, just more robust,” Brandon noted. “Once you go Weller, you don’t go back. It’s just a heartbreaker because you can’t find it anywhere.”

“I think I’m coming over to the Weller side,” Jay quipped. “This is like the super hot girl that’s just going to break your heart.”

“Heartbreaker for sure,” Brandon said.

W.L. WELLER 12 YEAR

  • Nose: Lanolin, almond, creamed corn and toasty vanilla
  • Palate: Heavily wheated, layered and moderately sweet
  • Finish: Long, oaky, and intensely smooth
  • Proof: 90 proof, or 45% alcohol by volume
  • MSRP: $59.95 — but will go for $250+ on secondary markets

Before even taking a sip of the 12 year, Brandon made a bold claim.

“This is my favorite bourbon, ever,” he said. “It takes from both the previous two flavors and totally smooths it out. It’s the best sipping bourbon that I can think of — 90 proof, and you’re not getting that throughout the year. You’re only finding that in November during allocations.”

“That’s insanely smooth,” Jay said. “I usually drink bourbon on ice. But I could literally drink that any way. I could drink that whole bottle neat.”

“That’s the thing about the 12 year,” Brandon agreed, “is that you can drink it neat. I almost feel like ice would ruin it. It sounds hilarious, but for the longest time I would put a couple shots of that in black tea at night with some creamer; best thing ever.”

“Now everything else is going to be sh-t,” Jay laughed at the prospect of more bourbon tastings that don’t live up to Weller. “Unfortunately, we’re only on episode four of this,” Brandon agreed. “Weller for the win, as always.”

What should the guys try next? Drop into the Outsider Instagram page and let us know in the comments what bourbon brand you’d like to see featured in a future episode.

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