William LaRue Weller was the grandson of German immigrants who came to Kentucky on a flatboat in 1794 and settled near Bardstown. His grandfather dabbled in whiskey distilling and passed his knowledge on to his progeny. W.L. Weller is credited with being the first distiller to produce bourbon using wheat instead of rye as the flavor grain in the mash bill.
Weller’s original “wheated bourbons” became extremely popular, with a softer, smoother taste. They were so popular, in fact, it’s been said that Weller was forced to put a thumbprint on his invoices and barrels to ensure that customers were receiving the real deal.
After serving in the War with Mexico as a member of the Louisville Brigade in the 1840s, Weller returned to Louisville and became what we would refer to today as a Non-Distiller Producer. In 1849, Weller and his brother Charles began marketing their product using the slogan, “Honest Whiskey at an Honest Price.” Charles was subsequently murdered and Weller partnered with a man named Buckner.
Weller’s namesake company eventually went on to merge with Pappy Van Winkle’s A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery to form the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, becoming renowned for such brands as W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell and Cabin Still.
Old Weller Antique 107, now produced at Buffalo Trace, is the mid-level wheated bourbon somewhere in between W.L. Weller Special Reserve and W.L. Weller 12. Its mash bill is no different from any Weller offering, Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year and Pappy Van Winkle. It is, however, aged for less time and in a different warehouse from the Van Winkle bourbons, resulting in a different flavor profile.
Old Weller Antique 107
Buffalo Trace Distillery/W.L. Weller and sons
$27 at ABC in Salisbury, NC
Color: Amber with a crimson red shine.
Nose: Big caramel notes, warm vanilla, cinnamon, and light oak. The nose is not overly complex, but the sweet notes are strong and intoxicatingly delicious.
Tasting Notes: A gentle caramel and honey first sip, much like you'd expect from its aroma, followed by a strong cinnamon spice and some orange rind; a touch of raisin is balanced by a pleasant oak finish.
Overall: A. I love this bourbon. Considering the price, the sweet aroma, the complex and pleasant flavors, it really is an unbelievable pour.