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William Larue Weller Whiskey

William Larue Weller Whiskey is a revered name in the bourbon industry, a tribute to the pioneering distiller who was one of the early advocates of using wheat in the bourbon mash bill instead of the more traditional rye. William Larue Weller, the man, was a Kentucky bourbon distiller in the 19th century, and his legacy lives on through the highly sought-after whiskey that bears his name.

The whiskey itself is part of the Buffalo Trace Distillery's Antique Collection, a series that showcases the premium and limited-edition offerings from one of America's oldest distilleries located in Frankfort, Kentucky. William Larue Weller Whiskey has gained a near-mythical status among whiskey enthusiasts due to its exceptional quality and the acclaim it has received over the years.

Distillation and Production

Crafted in homage to Weller's innovative spirit, the bourbon follows the traditional methods of Kentucky distilling but with a distinctive twist. The use of wheat provides a smoother, softer flavour profile than the spicier rye-based bourbons. This wheated bourbon is known for its full-bodied richness and exceptionally well-rounded character.

The distillation process is meticulous, with careful attention paid to the selection of grains, the fermentation process, and the distillation temperatures. After distillation, the whiskey is aged in new, charred oak barrels, which impart a deep amber colour and contribute to the complex flavours of vanilla, caramel, and oak.

Ageing and Character

William Larue Weller is a vintage-dated bourbon, meaning each annual release is a snapshot of a particular year's weather and ageing conditions. It's also barrel-proof, which means that it's not cut with water to a predetermined proof. This practice allows the true essence of the bourbon to shine through, offering a robust and unadulterated tasting experience.

The ageing process for William Larue Weller Whiskey can vary, but typically, barrels are aged for twelve years or more. During this time, the whiskey develops a nuanced array of flavours and aromas. Because it is barrel-proof, the alcohol content can be quite high, sometimes reaching upwards of 60-70% ABV, which emphasises the whiskey's boldness and intensity.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, William Larue Weller Whiskey often exhibits a complex bouquet of dark fruits, like cherries and plums, mixed with sweet aromas of butterscotch, honey, and vanilla. The soft wheat character is evident, providing a backdrop of warm, bready notes that invite the taster in.

The palate can expect a symphony of flavours. The wheated mash bill yields a gentle sweetness and a creamy mouthfeel. There are layers of flavour to explore, including rich caramel, dried fruit, chocolate, and a hint of cinnamon and other baking spices. Despite its strength, the high proof delivers warmth rather than heat, with a velvety texture that speaks to its premium quality.

Awards and Recognition

William Larue Weller Whiskey has received numerous awards and accolades over the years. It is regularly featured in lists of the top whiskies in the world and has won multiple gold medals at prestigious international spirits competitions.

Collectability and Enjoyment

Due to its limited production and exceptional quality, William Larue Weller Whiskey is a collector's item. Enthusiasts eagerly await its annual release, often resulting in long lines at liquor stores and rapid sell-outs. For those lucky enough to acquire a bottle, it represents not just a drink but a moment of appreciation for one of the finest bourbons crafted in the United States.

In enjoying a glass of William Larue Weller, aficionados recommend a splash of water or a cube of ice to open up the flavours, especially given its high proof. It's a whiskey best savoured slowly, with each sip revealing more depth and complexity.

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