Weller Showdown: Old Antique 107 vs Full Proof The W.L. Weller line is one of the many brands produced by Buffalo Trace (BT), and the distillery has expanded that line in recent years to include C.Y.P.B. (white label), Full Proof (WFP; blue label), and Single Barrel (WSB; brown label), on top of the already popular Special Reserve (WSR; green label), Antique 107 (WA107; red label), 12 Year (W12; black label), and William Larue Weller (part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, or BTAC). Weller’s original lineup (excluding BTAC) was comprised of the lowest priced no-age-statement (NAS) WSR (90 proof); the higher proof NAS WA107 (107 proof); and W12, which is aged 12 years and is bottled at 90 proof like WSR. CYPB (“Craft Your Perfect Bourbon”) was a crowd-sourced marketing event, where users were asked about age, mashbill, warehouse location, and other items. CYPB carries an 8-year age statement and is bottled at 95 proof. WFP (not barrel proof) was then released with NAS and bottled at 114 proof. WSB is single-barrel like it’s cousins Blanton’s and Elmer T. Lee, and is NAS and bottled at 97 proof. Confused? We haven’t even gotten to prices. Because these bourbons are in such high demand, very few (if any) can be found at retail prices. Many consumers don’t even know what these bottles retail for, because they’re rarely available. But the state-run system in North Carolina publishes quarterly price lists for all bourbon to be sold in the state (a quick Internet search will uncover these lists, as well as slickly designed annual reports and other examples of government run amuck; but I digress). The four readers of this review may be shocked to know the following retail prices (rough “secondary” prices are in parentheses, with a “+” after each, because they’re frequently much higher): • WSR: $29.95 ($60+) • WA107: $49.95 ($125+) • W12: $44.95 ($350+) • CYPB: $49.95 ($800+) • WFP: $49.95 ($400+) • WSB: $50.35 ($800+) The point of all this? In order to popularize on its own cachet and insatiable market demand, BT has introduced additional brands into its Weller line, and two of the three new releases are NAS. And the difference between some of them are subtle. To BT’s credit, WA107 and WFP both have the same retail price ($49.95). This is justifiable, as they share the same mashbill; their age statements are not specified; and the proof difference is only seven points. Ostensibly WFP has lower production levels than WA107, and this may be the result of cherry-picking select rickhouses (warehouses) and ricks (racks). While specific locations can impact quality and flavor, we’re getting into hair-splitting territory. For most of us, these bourbons are only available at secondary prices (I did buy a case of WA107—actually single-barrel select from Fairway—for $36.99 per bottle a few years back, but that’s another story). If WA107 may be available for $125+, and WFP for $400+, and they share the same mashbill and retail price, and differ by just seven proof points, is there a reason to pay the extra $275—even if you could find it? I thought I’d try them side-by-side to find out. W107 Classic clear mahogany bourbon color. On the nose, caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, chocolate covered cherries, sweet pipe tobacco, roasted marshmallows (noted after trying the WFP), and some ethanol. Sweet palate reveals more brown sugar and some oaky tannins, finishing with some spiciness and lingering vanilla. Smooth for the 107 proof, with a soft bourbon burn. 4.25 points on the Distiller scale. WFP No discernable color difference from the WA107. Not identical in nose or palate, however. The WFP nose comes across as more focused, purer, and “intense” than the W107 (I don’t think 7 proof points alone would do this). It is also fruitier, with dried figs, prunes, and dates, along with cinnamon raisin oatmeal cookies and cedar. There is more heat on the palate, but this isn’t necessarily solely a function of the higher proof. Additional cinnamon transitions to more of a leathery finish, indicating possibly longer age (and/or floors or ricks). Very good. 4.5+ points on the Distiller scale. I was pleasantly surprised at the difference between these two bourbons (especially because I paid more than retail, but less than secondary, for the WFP). The skeptic in me was concerned that the gaps in the Weller line that have been filled with these newer brands was more sizzle than steak; but that does not appear to be the case with WA107 and WFP, in the humble opinion of this taster. I find the WFP noticeably better--though the WA107 is still a very good pour. Unless price is no object, stick with the WA107, or find friends who will pour you the WFP (if the lights are on in my barn, I’m pouring!). N.B. All spirits tasted neat in separate Glencairn glasses.