Here comes another single barrel collaboration! Liquor Junction was kind enough to loop @MassBourbonAlliance in on this as well as a Knob Creek, Blanton's and the Hirsch barrel pick that should be hitting this Winter. This was a truly exceptional barrel from the first taste and everyone in our group let out a loud "WOW" when we took our first sips. I'm excited to be revisiting it to form some better tasting notes for those who may be interested in seeing if this one will be worth tracking down! I've got a good bit of Weller Full Proof store pick experience at this point - we are incredibly blessed with great distribution in Massachusetts it seems. I already know this ranks amongst the top 2 or 3 picks that I have tried from the first tasting we did as a group, but I'll see if it holds up to another tasting tonight. Let's get into it!
Company on Label: Buffalo Trace
Whiskey Type: Wheated Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed Buffalo Trace "Wheated Mash Bill"
Nose: Decadent caramel is most apparent immediately on the nose. Older barrel funk hangs out softly in the background. A lovely array of baking spices present themselves in a rich yet creamy & soft way. I find nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla and hints of anise. This has such a distinct character that really separates it from the typical cherry profile you might find on Weller Antique or Special Reserve; this feels like a whole different animal. A lightly smoked cocktail aroma meets plum, molasses and dusty oak as I continue to dig. Okay, the oak really feels older here. It has that 'dusty' characteristic I know and love here; I really think this is an older-than-usual barrel on display. The cardamom aroma from earlier does well to elicit some other lemon citrus, bright green apple, and cinnamon spiced tea smells as the glass evolves. There is some marvelous effervescence in the nose feel without moving to a spicy or ethanol forward experience. There's great balance here alongside impressive heft which more typically inversely proportional rather than mutually beneficial. The nose reminds me a lot of the 2021 William Larue Weller with maybe a nod more towards the barrel influence characteristic more than the individual flavors. Time for a sip!
Wow, I didn't think the nose could get any better but it sure did after coming back from a sip. There's a beautiful butterscotch aroma that has formed that I've only ever experienced like this before on a Weller Single Barrel. I could nose this forever. It undulates between butterscotch, caramel and a creamy cappuccino perpetually now about halfway through the pour which is where I find myself savoring the nose the most. The background creamy coffee note is not to be understated as it's a really impressive aroma I don't often find. The nose seems to have leveled off in its evolution by now, but I'm incredibly pleased with where it has landed. The empty glass smells of dark orange peel, dense earth, red starbursts, and toasted oak.
Palate: Wow. The heft of that cherry explosion that happens on the first sip is just unreal. It's immediately followed by a wave of heavy, creamy caramel that coats the whole mouth from front to back. I find touches of strawberry, plum and apricot as the first sip smolders on a long linger. There's a nice nod to the oak prevalence from the nose without drifting into overaged territory. Another sip shows off blackberry, dark raisin and black currant. I find a distinctly jammy mouth feel that just sticks to the roof of your mouth and never lets go. It's very reminiscent of raspberry jam on toast. As the glass gets lower the cherry flavors really start to perk up - it's bright and decadent like a maraschino cherry here. Another sip builds in a touch of extra cinnamon spice in a nuanced ripple. Wow suddenly a big drop of flavor just burst forth with skittles sweetness and a cherry characteristic that is much richer and darker than before. I'm loving the depth of flavors here. My last sip is again a decadent bouquet of complex sweetness. Plum, cherry skins and a zesty tingle of nutmeg are a lovely farewell to the glass. The linger is medium long with endless caramel desserts.
Rating: Two Thumbs Way Up
I love that this has so much depth compared to other Weller releases that I have tried. Knowing how much I love the Weller profile in the Winter in general, the arrival time of this barrel couldn't be slated any more perfectly for peak enjoyment. Make sure to stock up on your punches - maybe with some MassBourbonAlliance picks - so you can get a shot at grabbing one of these!