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