Spirit: Weller 12 Year
Type: Wheated Bourbon
Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
Aged: 12 Years
About Buffalo Trace:
In Kentucky, buffalo carved a pathway that was followed by America’s early pioneers. On the spot where the buffalo migration route crossed the Kentucky River, we’ve been making legendary bourbon whiskey for over 200 years. Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. During Prohibition the distillery was even permitted to remain operational, to make whiskey for “medicinal purposes”.
In tribute to the mighty buffalo and the rugged, independent spirit of the pioneers who followed them westward, we created Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Within the past decade, Buffalo Trace has won more awards than any other distillery in the world, including an unmatched seven “Distillery of the Year” titles. Still American family-owned and located in Franklin County, Kentucky, the distillery’s rich history includes such legendary distillers as E.H. Taylor, Jr, George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. The distillery sprawls impressively over 130 acres and is home to four centuries of architecture – all still fully operational.
About J.T.S. Brown:
As part of the wheated bourbon family, this twelve-year-old W.L. Weller is aged far longer than most wheated bourbons. This offering is a smooth, easy-going, and balanced bourbon with a beautiful deep bronze color.
Proof vs. Heat
Notes & Review
Nose: Pronounce & clean nose. Strong caramel and tangy wheat notes with undertones of baking spice, vanilla custard, floral, and bubble gum.
Palate: Mildly intense body with a warm mouthfeel that starts a bit thin, but crescendos into bolder flavors. Strong forward note of spice and bubble gum. However, the spice takes over and is met with dry roasted wood as the flavors amp up. Baked caramel, leather, and charred wheat come up towards the back of the palate.
Finish: Medium length and dry, simple finish. Charred oak and wheat, tobacco, and the faint sweetness of deeply baked caramel.
The Weller lineup has a near mythological status amongst newer whiskey enthusiasts, and even commands strong respect from veterans. All Weller comes from the same initial distillate and barrel pooling, but that’s about where the similarities end.
The 12 year has a lot of character to it, but also some surprises as well. At 90 proof, it has a strong (but brief) flare of heat right in the middle of the tasting that’s uncharacteristic of such a low-proof bourbon. However, it also has a good amount of flavor in the spike as well, so I’m willing to let it slide.
Overall, the flavors are a nice balance of toasty, earthy, and sweet, a balance that is struck in some fashion across the entire line. That’s the benefit of a well-aged wheated bourbon. Sweetness from the corn, a nice earthy grain note from the wheat, and the toasty notes from the barrel.
Overall, I enjoy Full Proof and 107 more, but that isn’t to say that 12 isn’t great, I just prefer a little more boldness to my pours. However, as a light sipper or a pre-or-post-dinner pour, it’s a great option if you can find it for a reasonable amount.
Greg Sinadinos started his spirits journey writing a whiskey periodical for Fine Tobacco NYC Magazine. He began answering review requests under a social media page he named “Whiskey Culture,” which quickly merged with Greg’s passion for connecting with others and his interest in history.
Today, Greg travels the country not just looking for great whiskey, but also exploring the history and individuals that the whiskey community is founded upon. He has authored “Whiskey History From Around The World” and is the host of “The Rickhouse” web series.