Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monthly Bourbon Recommendation – Old Weller Antique 7/107

Last week I posted a blog about the death of the age statement for Old Weller Antique (OWA) 7/107. It may or may not be too late for you to find this bourbon as it depends on your geographic location. The reason it depends is because some markets are quick to move product off the shelves; e.g. State controlled liquor sales, or Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC). In my State, this bourbon was special order. I called my local ABC manager to inquire if they had any on the shelves and the answer I got back was yes, it's available but only 4 bottles are left....in the whole state. Good grief that was quick. Fortunately for me, the 4 bottles were at a store about 15 minutes from my house. Needless to say, I picked them up and got them to fellow bourbon enthusiast that could not find this bourbon in other parts of the State. So, if you live in non-controlled States, you have a pretty good chance that OWA is still on the shelves and will still be found months from now. In any case, if you love bourbon and have not tried this particular label, get a bottle (or five) and give it a try.

As is the case for many bourbon labels, they state the distillery which in most cases is simply a marketing name and does not exist in reality and is the case with Old Weller Antique which states "Genuine Old Line Sour Mash Distilled and Bottled by W.L. Weller and Sons, Louisville, Kentucky". This is another product from Buffalo Trace and was a very good value bourbon. The reason I say "value" bourbon is because it's good bourbon, has a seven year age statement and is 107 proof and typically costs between $15-$20 depending on your market. This bourbon is one of my favorite mid shelf value bourbons and I've managed to bunker away a number of bottles and am thankful I did so now that the age statement has been dropped.

The bottle is a squat, broad base bottle with a burgundy label on the neck that depicts the age and the word "Liter" if the bottle was a liter size. The label on the front of the bottle looks like old parchment with old book style writing. It's an attractive package and the bourbon inside is even better. This is a wheated bourbon and as I've mentioned in other blogs, I think wheat bourbon does better with more age and proof in order for the subtleties to pop out. For instance, while I can drink Makers Mark, I find it uneventful at 90 proof, there's nothing from start to finish that makes me go back to this bourbon. The OWA at 107 proof has a little punch to it and really is a nice proof for this particular mashbill.

The bottle I'm sampling is from 1995 and is a softer, sweeter bourbon than its rye brother. The color is medium amber and depending on the bottling can go a shade or two darker. This OWA that I'm trying now has some wood on the nose that doesn't transition to a great extent on the palate. I also pick up vanilla, fruit and a syrup quality which gives visions of a thick, creamy sweetness. On entry the bourbon starts soft but grows because of the proof. No spice in this bourbon, just sweet notes, vanilla, fruit and muted floral. The finish is moderate and begins to decline more rapidly that I would like. I've had various years of this bourbon and some exhibit more wood on the palate than others which may be a byproduct of age or rick house location for that particular dump. I recently compared 5 different OWA bottlings; 1995, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007. Of these, the 1995 and 2004 stood out as best of the lineup. While the distillery does attempt to keep the profile consistent over the years (think Jim Beam White), there will be variations, especially with this bottling as the provenance of the bourbon has changed over the years from Stitzel Weller to Bernheim to Buffalo Trace (or a blending on two of these). Overall though, this has been a very good bourbon over the course of years and a bottle I would highly recommend you pick up, add to the bunker and enjoy years after the label disappears.

Personal rating: 8/10

22 comments:

  1. I'm going to pick one up this afternoon, as well as a WL Weller Special Reserve. Idaho State stores still have the age statement, for now.

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  2. You're lucky then Don as some of the controlled areas have already cleared out their stock....unfortunately.

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  3. Got the OWA 107/7 yesterday, along with a bottle of Fighting Cock the night before. Tried the Fighting Cock last night. WOW! is that stuff HOT! But it was actually kind of interesting. Trying to figure an approach to a post about it right now. Will start on my Wheater adventure beginning tomorrow.

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  4. I like Fighting Cock as it's another age stated high proof bourbon, but on the rye side, so you found out that spice and heat are going to introduce themselves with this offering. I find this, along with the Charter 101, to be good mixer bourbons.

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  5. Driving from WI to FL over the last 3 weeks, I stopped in Bowling Green, KY for the night and was flabbergasted to find a 1.75 of Old Weller, 7 Year Old, for just 39.99. Only one bottle -- now mine :-)

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  6. Just found a dusty 1.75 OWA 107/7 at the back of the shelf in Texas tonight for $40. Thanks for the lead, Bourbon Dork!

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  7. Well done Hank. Nice that you found a handle also. Flip the bottle over and see if you can determine the two digit date on the bottom; when oriented correctly, should be the lower right corner.

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  8. The numbers on the bottom are arranged such that SG is at the top point of a triangle, 16 is at the leftmost corner and 84 is at the rightmost corner:

    SG

    16 84

    Are those the numbers I'm looking for?

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  9. If I had to venture a guess based on the information you've given, more than likely the OWA was bottled in 1984. It's not an exact science as there are other visible indicators that would narrow down the date. Bottom line, the OWA 107 with the 7 year age statement is not available any more, that was dropped sometime in 2009. If your bottle was indeed bottled in 1984, that would make the bourbon from Stitzel Weller, which is gold among many bourbon enthusiasts. Is there a paper tax strip over the bottle cap?

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  10. Thanks for your help with this, Greg.

    No, no paper strip. Is there a good website to walk me through the various identifying marks of the bottle?

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  11. Hank - I've done a series of dusty hunting posts here on this blog that provides some guidance on what to look for. You can also check out Straightbourbon.com, there's a lot of info on that site pertaining to bourbon in general so you may find your answer there. Check the front label and see if it says Frankfort or Louisville. If Louisville, that would be SW whiskey.

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  12. Great series on the dusty's, Greg. I'll keep these tips close at hand when I'm perusing the shops.

    I'm crossing my fingers that I got some SW juice this time!

    Thanks for your help.

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  13. Don't poo poo it. My bet is that's still great bourbon.

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  14. Of course. I didn't mean to discount the good find I had made, I was just disappointed when it wasn't the spectacular find I'd started hoping I had made. ;)

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  15. Found another cache of it--4 1.75L bottles for $42 each. Much thanks for this tip, Greg!

    And in general, thanks for tips on the dusty hunt. Now, when I see a liquor store that seems like it might have a terrible selection and bad service, I stop and check it out. While I haven't run across any Old Fitz BIB, it's still been a worthwhile hunt.

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  16. Nice finds again Hank. The age stated OWA are keepers and when found sitting on a shelf, take them home just like you're doing. It won't be too long until those puppy's get harder and harder to find. My favorite store is one with bars on the windows and plexglass dividers inside.

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  17. I just found three bottles with My grandfathers name on them (He's long been gone). Hand numbered E-6568 + or -. Any thoughts on the value of these. I'll probably drink them myself but want to know whether they are special occaision bourbons or a nightly bourbon.

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    1. Without further information I can't make a judgement as to value (which is subjective anyway). A picture would help of the front/back of the bottles; do the bottles have a UPC on the back and if so, what is it? What's the two digit bottling date on the bottom of the bottle? Is the bottle in standard or metric measurements? This information would allow me to zero in on a possible bottling date and distiller. Thanks.

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  18. Hi all,

    My father had, and how I have a bottle of Old Weller Original 107 Proof, still in its original container and uncracked. The copyright on the label says 1970 S.W.D., so it is at least that old. Handwriting on the label designates this as No. W-7479.
    Any thoughts on the value?

    Thanks much for any input.

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    1. The copyright on the labels wasn't changed all that often. So with a 1970 date it can't be older than 1970, clearly. I've seen much later examples that have that date.

      Look on the bottom of the glass for a two-digit year code, like "84" for 1984.

      There aren't good places to sell it, besides it's not worth a fortune. Drink and enjoy!

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  19. Thanks for the info - I will crack that bottle in celebration of my birthday with family and friends. Cheers!

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