Old Weller Antique Background
I reviewed Weller 12 a few reviews back. To briefly recap the background here, Old Weller Antique is named after William Larue Weller. Weller is credited as being the first to make Bourbon with wheat rather than rye. Because of the lack in rye, wheated Bourbons tend to come across softer and sweeter. This brand was originally made at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery and then transitioned to Buffalo Trace where it’s made today with a similar if not same recipe.
Old Weller Antique is bottled at 107-proof and is thought to be aged 6-7 years. Old Weller Antique used to have a 7 year age statement, but that was dropped recently. There are three other Weller products on the market with a Weller Special Reserve at 90-proof and is also aged about 6-7 years. The other mainstream Bourbon is the mentioned Weller 12, which is bottled at 90-proof and aged 12 years. The last product is William Larue Weller released annually in Buffalo Trace’s Antique Collection. William Larue Weller can probably be considered a barrel-proof sibling of Weller 12.
When talking Old Weller Antique you have to mention Pappy Van Winkle. The Pappy line shares the same recipe and now likely the same juice as all the Weller Bourbons. As the old Stitzel-Weller barrels dry up, the Pappy line should have or soon will transition to all Buffalo Trace distillate. Pappy Van Winkle 15 is bottled at the same 107-proof as Old Weller Antique, although considerably younger. As a result, Old Weller Antique is promoted as one of the popular substitutes for Pappy along with Weller 12.
No age statement, but figured to be 6-7 years old. Bottled at 53.5%. Wheated mash with no rye. MSRP – $19.99 (2016 Price)
Caramel sweetness. Fruity cherries, apples. Hit of acetone. Light char
Caramel sweet. Vanilla. Hot cinnamon. Some oak in there with medium astringency. That helps balance out the sweetness a bit. Definitely get the alcohol in there. I prefer it with some water and that dials down the heat, but still holds the other notes fairly well.
Old Weller Antique is a lively Bourbon with some youth and alcohol, but a milder recipe. What it lacks in rye spiciness it gains in hot cinnamon, I think. I do like it with little water to tone down the alcohol. It is a young 107-proof after all. There’s not a lot of subtle complexity to ponder as it seems hit caramel, sweet, and that cinnamon/alcohol.
While I intend to keep this around I still prefer the Weller 12. I just like the added oak character and smoothed out age, but I think it’s a bit flatter compared to Old Weller Antique. If I had to pick one, I’d keep Weller 12 on the shelf, but at this price I don’t have to pick one! I’m also about to do that blend of Weller 12 and Old Weller Antique. Around 100-proof seems about right for these.
Anyway, the pricing on this bottle is well worth it. I don’t want to over sell this one, but it’s unique and a good Bourbon at a good price. Old Weller Antique and Weller 12 are getting some extra attention in the Pappy craze. Plus it’s a good value, so the demand may make for some spotty inventory. If you’re thinking of checking it out, I’d say probably grab a bottle when you see it.
Old Weller Antique Recommendation
Buy Again – 4/5 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)