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Read a few reviews with wildly different responses to this bottle. To me, this a toned down WLW (not nearly as polished a finish nor as much complexity on the palate) combined with a W12. Great nose. The sweet wheat is apparent up front (vanilla) with strong cherry cola and heat on the backside. I have a store pick (Buster’s Liquors) but I would rate this very highly and say it’s a perfect compliment to the Weller line. Maybe the standard offering was subpar but at least some of the store picks were true gems.
BACKGROUND: Originally released in June of 2019, Weller Full Proof has quickly become one of the most-sought and hardest-to-find bourbons to enter the market in recent years.
According to the Buffalo Trace Distillery, which produces the Weller line, Full Proof will be made in extremely limited quantities and released on an annual rather than continual basis.
It joins the other Weller expressions, which currently include the Create Your Perfect Bourbon (C.Y.P.B.), Old Weller Antique 107, Weller 12-Year, and Weller Special Reserve.
The back label of the bottle provides the history of the brand and the details of the distillate, and it reads:
“William Larue Weller developed his original bourbon recipe with wheat, rather than rye. Bottled at the same 114 proof in which it was entered into the barrel, this non-chill filtered wheated bourbon forgoes chill filtration to preserve all the naturally occurring residual oils and flavors that occur during the distillation and aging process (potentially making it appear cloudy at cold temperatures). This bourbon balances a rich mouthfeel, with robust notes of vanilla and oak. A whiskey that satisfies the demand of the non-chill filtered whiskey enthusiasts, honoring the man who made wheated bourbon legendary.”
The bottle I sampled is a “Single Barrel Select” pick by the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Agency, and I acquired it through the ABC’s November lottery for highly allocated bottles.
It retails for $49.99
NOSE: The nose immediately brings the smell of a freshly-baked pound cake with vanilla frosting to mind, likely because it is wheat-based rather than rye. A pleasant cherry scent and some oak round out the nose. The nose smells like a desert you would want to eat with a spoon and then ask for seconds.
PALATE: The taste of heavily buttered bread presents first on the palate, and it is followed by a bit of citrus flavor. While most bourbons offer warmth on the back of the palate, this one is very front-forward in showing off its proof. Perhaps the best part of the entire experience is the bourbon’s syrup-like texture, which coats the mouth, jawline, and throat and hangs around for a nice visit.
FINISH: Oak makes its presence known on the finish along with leather and cinnamon red hots. It is an unusually long finish that begs for a chronograph to time its length. While the flavors on the palate were bight and lively, the finish is delightfully aged and mature, as if the bourbon developed in character from the front of the palate to the back of the throat.
FINAL ASSESSMENT: The Full Proof is a great addition to the Weller line, and, in my opinion, offers an experience that is unique from all of the brand’s other expressions.
Of the Weller bottles in my collection - I do not have C.Y.P.B. - I would rank them in descending order as: Weller Full Proof > Old Weller Antique 107 > Weller 12-Year > Weller Special Reserve.
Because Full Proof has proven so enjoyable, I am even more excited about the development of Weller Single Barrel, the label of which was recently placed on file with the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB).