Yesterday I had a review of a readily available and always reliable single malt (the 2017 edition of the Lagavulin 12 CS); today I have a review of a readily available and always reliable bourbon: Old Weller Antique (at least I hope it’s still readily available). For the prices I paid for each bottle you could buy four of these for one of the Lagavulin and frankly, that’s probably the way to go. Then again, I have no idea what the availability of the Old Weller Antique is these days—I don’t really keep up with the bourbon world. It’s entirely possible that Buffalo Trace have reduced the supply and raised the price. I hope not: this wheated bourbon (there’s no rye in its mash bill) is one of my favourites and though I’m stocked up for a good while yet, it would be a sad world in which this was not always easily at hand. And…as I look on Winesearcher, it appears that this is not available in Minnesota anymore…Anyway, it’s about time I reviewed this.
Old Weller Antique (53.5%; from my own bottle)
Nose: Cherry, caramel, a bit of polished oak. On the second sniff there’s more vanilla and some cinnamon. With time some citrus emerges (orange peel) but it’s otherwise very consistent. With a few drops of water it’s less oaky and better integrated on the whole with softer notes of pastry.
Palate: Leads with the oak and spice—it’s got a nice bite but it’s not overbearingly tannic—followed by the sweeter notes. Very drinkable at full strength. Orange peel here too with time. Okay, let’s try a drop or two of water. Ah, that’s good: more clove and better integration here too.
Finish: Long. It’s the oak and spice that dominate here but there’s a sweeter, fruit pastry note at the end as well. As on th nose and palate with water.
Comments: I don’t drink as much bourbon as some, and certainly don’t keep up with the popular bourbons from year to year, but this seems as good as it’s ever been. It’s also better with water but try saying that to your average male bourbon drinker. Does more at <$30 than many OB Scottish single malts at >$60.
Rating: 87 points.