Words cannot express how excited I was to try this bourbon. I have been reading about the ‘wheated’ bourbon varieties for a while now, but the only manefestation I’ve had to date is Makers Mark. I’m assuming everyone here knows what Makers Mark tastes like. If you don’t, just walk to the nearest bar or liquor store. They will have it, I promise.
What is a wheated bourbon? Well, it’s bourbon made with wheat in the mash instead of rye. For those of you who have had wheat beer, you know the effect this golden grain can have on flavor. But wait, why was I so excited to try the 12 yr? Well, I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so on occasion I appreciate a sugary note in place of the usual twang applied by other grains. My high hopes were propped up not only by the wheatyness of the recipe, but also the age. Twelve years is a long time for a bourbon to think about what it needs to taste like. I couldn’t help but assume that after a dozen years of practicing self-improvement in the bowels of an oak barrel perfection was at hand.
Oh my, how high hopes can lead to plummeting enthusiasm. Alas I was left with but an average dram in my initial tasting. I tried to deny it, and had subsequent tastings in the days following. I even ordered a glencairn glass for fear of insulting the aged whiskey with a mere tumbler. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not lift the experience into the ‘great’ category. It is good – but that is all.
Perhaps it gave up trying after the first 5 years in the barrel and spent the next 7 years playing tic-tac-toe with itself instead of focusing on producing succulence. Perhaps my expectations were too high, and this is exactly what 12 year old wheated bourbon should taste like. Perhaps I need just one more tasting to really ‘get it’. Regardless, I’m not sad that I bought this bottle. I now have a good standard by which to judge other wheated bourbons aside from Makers Mark. E.L. Weller 12 yr is similarly priced to M.Mark, and worth substituting if that is your usual route. Give it a try – just don’t get too excited.
But what you should get excited about are the pictures I took with some $0.99 photo apps on my phone. Don’t these pics just reek of well-bred sophistication?
Appearance: Auburn plus crimson with a touch of gold (like the iron bowl, with a touch of gold).
Nose: This is where the disappointment began. It took a while for the ethyl to wear off. The scent itself was a well rounded mix of sweetness, a bit of fruit and nut. I wish there were more. I wish there was so much more.
Palate: This improved here. The entry was smooth and buttery over the tongue. It begins nice and sweet with some quick hits of vanilla but rounds out with an oakier flavor, no doubt a result of its decade long captor. The palate buttons up with a pinch of spice and some distinct nuttiness. In fact, a confusing amount of nuttiness.
Finish: The confusing nuts managed to linger for a bit as well. From where did these pine nuts and almonds appear? And where do the go so quickly? As the perplexing nuts make their exit, a few grains of brown sugar hang around until they are almost unwelcome.
Website: http://www.bourbonwhiskey.com/wlweller12y.aspx I think this site is owned by Buffalo Trace.