Weller Full Proof exploded onto the scene in 2019 to the delight of bourbon fans everywhere. Rather than add another lower proof release to the portfolio, this was a 114 proof, non-chill filtered bourbon from Buffalo Trace’s wheated mashbill. Despite the brand’s pedigree and favorable production choices, I was skeptical at the beginning and wondered if this was yet another product that would dilute the Weller line. Worse still, I feared that this release would cannibalize stock from Old Weller Antique, a long-time favorite of mine. As I tried more and more WFP Single Barrel Selects, however, I realized that there was something about these barrels that was different. This whiskey consistently impressed me and was worth exploring further.
This review is of one of my favorite Weller Full Proof single barrels of 2020. It’s from Nejaime’s Wines and comes from the 7th floor of Warehouse K. This whiskey entered the barrel at 114 proof and aged just under 7 years before being bottled at 114 proof. Based on the standard lower barrel entry proof for Buffalo Trace’s wheated bourbon, I can’t help but wonder how much water is needed to get these single barrel picks down to their standard bottling strength.
What was it about this bottle that made it one of my favorite WFP picks so far? The review speaks for itself.
|Vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone, red hots, cinnamon sugar toast, hints of dark chocolate, honey, baked apples, sweet oak. There’s an interesting “tomato vine” note that’s unique to modern Weller products and I only notice a touch of it here which adds a slight “green” quality to the nose. Time and water soften some of the punchier spice notes and allows for a creamy, oatmeal-like nose.
|A decadent, oily mix of sweetness, spice, and wood: Cherries in syrup, clove, creme brûlée topping, vanilla bean, almonds, caramel, and bit of ripe plum. With time and water, cola, more oak, and a bit of orange citrus in the back.
|Spicy up front with nutmeg, more cinnamon, and a bit of pepper, then deep brown sugar sweetness and a lovely oak not lingers for a good long while. This is a long, drying finish with just enough tannin influence to work perfectly for my preferences. Water brings down the heat a bit and adds freshly iced cinnamon rolls on top of the oak.
|Part of me wanted Weller Full Proof to be a gimmick designed to further extend a brand that’s already difficult to track down these days. What could have easily been a “slightly hotter OWA” product is anything but ordinary. I’ve had several Weller Full Proof picks over the past year and I’ll be the first to admit that these whiskies are significantly better than I thought they would be. Maybe it’s the guaranteed non-chill filtration and maybe there’s a slightly different wheated barrel profile they choose for Full Proof compared to Antique, but these FTP picks are truly a step above. You win this round, Harlen Wheatley.