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Weller Special Reserve vs Weller 12: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Weller Special Reserve vs Weller 12 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Weller Special Reserve

weller-special-reserve
NoseMaple, apple, leather, oak
PalateCaramel, vanilla, chocolate, baking spice
FinishOld leather, cinnamon, oak
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat, add water
Similar toAntique 107, Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace

Weller is a wheated bourbon crafted at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Wheated bourbon tends to be smoother smoother and sweeter than those that use rye as secondary grain behind corn.

Nose is smooth and mostly sweet, rich in maple honey, apples, with some old leather and oak coming behind.

On the palate, the Special Reserve brings caramel, vanilla and cinnamon at first, followed by dark chocolate and a dash of citrus.

Finish is warming yet pleasant, somewhat dry, with lasting flavors of old leather, spicy cinnamon candy and oak spice.

Drinks nicely neat with very little to no burn, yet adding a drop of water releases sweetness, along more oak making it more tasty.

Weller Special Reserve is smooth and sweet as you would expect from a wheated bourbon. It could use more body as it feels to be lacking a bit, but overall this is a satisfying pour nonetheless.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Weller Special Reserve:

  • Weller uses an undisclosed amount of wheat in the mash but likely to be around 15%.
  • Weller was the first bourbon back in 1849 to add wheat to the mash as a secondary grain behind corn.
  • Weller is aged anywhere from 4 to 7 years.
  • Earned a Gold Medal at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Weller 12

weller-12
NoseCaramel, cinnamon, oak
PalateCherry, cinnamon, vanilla, oak
FinishCinnamon, caramel, vanilla
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toWeller Full Proof, Van Winkle 12

Weller has caramel on the nose, followed by a drizzle of cinnamon and oak.

On the palate, Weller 12 displays good body. Flavor hits with cherry at first, followed by cinnamon, vanilla and a tad of oak.

The finish is long, rich in cinnamon, with notes of caramel and vanilla.

No warmth or off-putting notes making a nice easy drinker, a bit more proof would make it immensely better, though, as it lacks a bit of punch to make a memorable whiskey.

Not bad, but marginally better than the Weller Special Reserve which is considerable cheaper. Aging only added oak but didn’t do a thing for the body and the unremarkable finish.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Weller 12:

  • Aged for 12 years in new, charred American Oak barrels.
  • Earned Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Weller 12 and Special Reserve are wheated bourbons

Most bourbons use rye as secondary grain behind corn but Weller was the first to introduce wheat to the mash.

Wheated bourbons are generally softer and have a approachable flavor as compared to bourbons that use rye as their secondary grain, and have a slightly sweeter taste.

Weller Special Reserve vs 12

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Weller Special Reserve$60
Weller 12$240

Weller Special Reserve vs Weller 12: Which is better?

The extended aging only increased the price

  • Same bourbon at different aging length providing very little value for the money.
  • Those are two features I would expect from any spirit at this price and Weller 12 falls short in both.
  • Special Reserve is a bit thin, though, lacking in body but compensates with some nice tasting notes and smoothness making it a decent sipper.

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