Weller Blend Background
I’ve reviewed three different Weller products in Weller Special Reserve, Old Weller Antique, and W.L. Weller 12 Year Old. This time I’m going to look at a blend of Old Weller Antique and Weller 12. This blend originated at the Straight Bourbon forums and is known there simply as the Weller SB Blend. The goal here is to get close to the Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year, and perhaps something that resembles the other bottles of Pappy Van Winkle, with a couple $25 or so bottles of Bourbon. This blend has even been promoted around the web as a “poor man’s Pappy,” so does this get close? Not in my opinion, but the blend is a real nice pour and is better than the individual Weller Bourbons.
The thinking here is that all these mentioned Bourbons are made with the same/similar recipe at Buffalo Trace. They may or may not be aged similarly and likely go through a different barrel selection process. Old Rip Van Winkle is aged 10 years, Pappy 15 is aged 15 years, and both are bottled at 107-proof. Old Weller Antique is aged about 6-7 years and also bottled at 107-proof. Weller 12 is aged 12 years and bottled at 90-proof. So Old Weller Antique has the power of Pappy, but lacks the age. Weller 12 is closer in age, but lacks some oomph. In my review I enjoyed the aged complexity of Weller 12 and the potency of Old Well Antique. So the blend here tries to pump up the volume while keeping some age characteristics.
I tried two different blends. One at 50/50 and the other 60/40 Old Weller Antique to Weller 12. 50/50 blend should make a Bourbon that’s about 98.5-proof and 60/40 is about 100.5-proof. I vatted these into 100 ml glass jars for three weeks. Conventional wisdom is the whiskeys need time to “mingle,” but I have no opinions or guidance as to how long. I’d guess at least 2-3 days to be safe.
I did side by side comparisons of the 50/50 blend and 60/40 blend. I also brought in samples of both Old Weller Antique and Weller 12. I’m going to break convention here by rather than reviewing the blends individually I’ll just compare and contrast in a narrative.
These both are pretty close. As expected each blend seems to lean closer to either Weller 12 or Old Weller Antique depending on proportions. 50/50 is a little woodier, smoother and sweeter and 60/40 has some more acetone and is more fruity and lively. I like both blends, but I’m leaning towards 60/40.
Once I narrowed down what I thought was my preferred blend, I compared the blend against Weller 12 and Old Weller Antique. The blend I thought tamed down Old Weller Antique and added some nice age character. Interestingly, I was surprised how much better I preferred the blend over Weller 12. Compared to the blend, Weller 12 seems noticeably flatter. The differences actually kind of altered my original opinions of Weller 12 a bit. Weller 12 also has more oak, which isn’t a bad thing, but also some more astringency which may or may not be desirable.
With these results I made up a larger batch of 60/40 blend. I’ll enjoy that and then maybe revisit the 50/50 to see if I’ve changed my mind. Perhaps my second batch will be 50/50 and just drink that over a period of time. Either way, I do seem to enjoy both blends more than the individual Bourbons. Interesting! I could see this being my go-to wheater Bourbon and simply keep Weller 12 and Old Weller Antique on hand just for blending.
Does it Blend?