A new budget bourbon appeared on the shelf at the LCBO and we had to try it. Weller Special Reserve, The Original Wheated Bourbon.
Despite being “wheated” (which sounds like a Saskatchewan hazing ritual), this is still marked as a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. The requirements for KSBW are just that the mash be 51% corn, with no stipulation to the other 49%. Typically this is rye; Weller were the first to swap for wheat. Or at least the first to brand it, you know how these things go. Formerly their own company, Weller is part of Sazerac now and distilled at the Buffalo Trace distillery, so it may appear in other blends from that stable as well.
Wheat is spicier than rye, which is spicier than corn, which is hotter than malted barley. But malted barley has the least of its own character, thus needing steps like peating or aging in wine casks. Millet, sorghum and rice are hard to predict because we don’t see them as often, so it’s harder to generalize. Those are generalizations, here’s what we thought about this specific bottle:
Dan – caramel, banana, alcohol
Simon – solvent, caramel, smoother, toffee
Dan – very nice caramel with a bit or burn at the end, hints of tropical fruit
Simon – bourbon sweet, wheat heat/spicy. caramel… that’s it?
Dan – short
Simon – short, on tongue
Dan – subdued neat
Simon – more burn? less good
Dan – 6.7/10
Simon – 6.4/10
Weller Special Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 45% 750ml – $37.20 – Kentucky
Try it? Nah. Buy it? Nah, but it is alright with ginger.