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Newest Bourbon Review: W. L. Weller 12 Year Small Batch Bourbon

October 23, 2011

W. L. Weller 12 Year Small Batch Bourbon

This is another great bourbon coming from Buffalo Trace Distillery. William Larue Weller’s family recipe mixes things up a bit with the second most predominant grain being wheat. This brings a totally different complexity to this bourbon and the older it gets the better it becomes.

To the bourbon:

90 Proof Small Batch

Aged 12 years

Bottle Statements:

Aged 12 years

“The Original Wheated Bourbon”

“Since 1849”

First notes:

Many of W.L. Weller’s bourbons are bottle alike but, when you have an age stamp that is within the vintage range (9-14 years) it is going to be something special. Also, this bottle is special because it has a raised insignia of two (2) crossed sprigs of wheat with the phrase “Since 1849″ on the breast of the bottle. The lower aged Weller Bourbons come in a very similar bottle but, does not have this special distinguished marking.


The color of this 12 year old is about right for its age. It has a deep orange haze to it while being medium to dark amber in tone.

First nose:

The nose is very appealing. Wheat and corn is strongly apparent. Sweet honeysuckle blossoms in the nose shortly after and then hints of wild cheery become apparent.

Nose in a glass:

This bourbon has a very smooth nose in the glass. Notes of dry oak, corn and wheat and hints of mint, burnt sugar and thyme balance this out. This is a bourbon that has a nose that should be captured and sold by itself.


Very pleasant! The taste is almost nothing like the nose (this is a nice transformation). Somehow they have been able to not only make a well balanced small batch but, when the nose of it complements the taste, it is very nice. This is a very smooth 90 proof that is worth keeping around. Burnt corn, oak char with a very interest note of fresh picked green beans is very nice on the finish. Since the batch does not have much rye the finish is not very dry yet, has a bit of sweetness to it. The plate flavors do not stay for long but, while it is in the mouth it is very pleasing. Notes of caramel and a short bit of cinnamon and pepper present themselves in front. There is not overwhelming intensity in this 12 year old and finally I keep noticing hints of dark coco and nugget popping up from time-to-time.


While this is not the most complex bourbon expression produced it is one that I do not mind adding a drop of ice or a spot of spring water to. When you do the plate intensity and flavors open up and stay on the tongue longer than if it were enjoyed neat. Regardless, however you have it; it is very nice and much smoother and flavorful than its baby brothers (Antique 107 and Special Reserve, both 7 year olds, to be reviewed at a later time). You will be hard pressed to find another 12 year old bourbon (Wheated or not) that is this good for the price. To note: This is a bourbon that does not stay around forever. There is sometimes not enough to pass around from the distillery. Even the big named liquor stores are unable to keep it on their shelves for long. People and bourbon enthusiast alike, know that this 12 year old Weller is something special and for the price you had better buy two bottles before they sell out again. Buffalo Trace does come out with it every year but, sometimes the stores are unable to keep it on hand.

Outsider review:

W.L.Weller 12 year old Small Batch Bourbon has a deep bronze color that beautifully reflects the light — perfect purity; the initial nosing pass finds fully nature aromas of lanolin, almond oil, and creamed corn — in the middle stage sniffing’s, following several minutes of air contact, a toasty oaky/vanilla perfume takes the aromatic helm. The finish is sweet, oaky, and intensely grainy; follows in the footprints of the legendary Centennial and delivers the goods, all for an unbelievable price.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

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