W.L. Weller, the 12 year old wheated bourbon from Buffalo Trace. Though it was once easy to find, due to the great wheater famine (© /u/MajorHop), it's now about as hard to find as the Pappy Van Winkle for which it was supposed to be an obtainable alternative. For all intents and purposes it is the same as Van Winkle bourbon but lived its life in a warehouse location that isn't preferred by them. Over the years I've watched it go from a bottle I could buy whenever I wanted to being held behind the counter to now being saved for Fall lotteries at high markup prices. Even crazier than that is it now commands hundreds of dollars on the secondary market. There have been a lot of surprising turns in bourbon over my years in the hobby but seeing Weller 12 as a secondary item is definitely one of the higher ups in the WTF category.
Aged 12 years; 45% ABV; 2015 bottle code; $30
Nose: Lots of oak and lots of sweet flavors like vanilla cake batter. The wood has quite a bit of depth. It smells like a nice, older, proofed-down wheated bourbon.
Taste: Honey, carrot cake frosting, and lots of oak. The range of oak runs from bitter dark chocolate all the way through to sweet honey notes. Finish lingers about as long as you'd expect for 90 proof with a little wheat / wood spice and dark cocoa.
Thoughts: There's a reason why when this was readily available at under $30 that it was a goto - it's an easy to drink combo of very sweet and heavily woody. I've had ups and downs with batches over the years, some I thought were overly bitter but this is right in line with my fonder memories of this product. All that out of the way, get the fuck out of here if you think this is worth anything close to what it's going for on the secondary. It was a great budget wheated bourbon and that's still what it is. There are plenty of products that are much easier to get that are just as good or better than this - Rebel Yell 10 year, Russell's Reserve Single Barrel, Four Roses Single Barrel, and Old Forester 1920 all come to mind. Granted, only the Rebel Yell in that bunch is wheated with a similar profile but for fucks sake the bourbon world doesn't revolve around wheaters.
Rating: B / B-
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.