Over the past few years, the three bottles in Buffalo Trace’s Weller line up have gone from being budget friendly shelf finds to liquor store lottery bottles and secondary market regulars. Old Weller Antique is generally seen as the mid-tier bottle in the lineup, sitting in between Weller Special Reserve and Weller 12. Like Special Reserve, OWA doesn’t carry an age statement but is generally thought to be around 7 years old. Although MSRP is $30, you would be lucky to find it on a shelf for under $45. Expand your search to the secondary market and you’re likely looking at closer to $60.
Like Weller Special Reserve and Weller 12, Old Weller Antique uses Buffalo Trace’s wheated mashbill – the same wheated mash bill used to make the WL Weller BTAC release and the Van Winkle line up. Old Weller Antique was my first experience with the Weller line, and despite all extra hype around Weller 12, OWA is my favorite. Weller 12 is certainly a solid pour, but I generally gravitate towards bourbons in the 100-110 proof range. If you’re sitting there thinking “me too,” go for the OWA 107 over the Weller 12. You and your wallet will both thank me. While an increase in demand has caused the price consumers see to shoot up over the past few years, I still think this is one of the pours for the price and the private barrel selections are some of the best in the industry.
- ABV: 53.5%, 107 proof
- Age: NAS, thought to be around 7 years
- Company/Distillery: Sazerac / Buffalo Trace
- Mash Bill: Unknown, Wheated
- Price: $30 / 750 mL
Appearance: Chestnut, Russet
Nose: Lots of sweet, lots of spice. Getting notes of Vanilla, Brown Sugar and Honey along with some Clove and Black Pepper Spiciness
Taste: Brown Sugar and Honey sweetness, Clove, Oak, good amount of spicy with a little bit of heat.
Finish: Medium length. Brown Sugar sweetness with with a good amount of oak
Overall: Old Weller Antique is without a doubt my favorite wheated bourbon. It has that signature creamy, smooth profile of a wheat mashbill while still carrying a good amount of spiciness that rye bourbon lovers stand by. While there is a bit of heat, it’s not quite as much as one would expect from a 107 proof bottle. And with that extra heat comes a level of complexity far beyond what you’ll get with Weller Special Reserve. And while Weller 12 may have a bit more depth and is certainly a bit smoother at 90 proof, if you prefer bourbons a little higher on the proof scale, you’ll likely find a favorite with Old Weller Antique.