Nose: This has a classic bourbon scent with hints of toasted grain, bread, and a little hint of alcohol. After the first sniff, I picked up a mild medicinal scent. Palate: This has a very pleasant, somewhat mild and slightly sweet taste. It has a nice, about medium to large mouthfeel that is well balanced and yet, it feels “rich". The heat picks up in the mid palate and then makes itself known in the finish. The finish also has a good deal of cinnamon and a small amount of pepper that comes to the forefront. Overall, this has an interesting balance and comes across as a classic but not-spicy bourbon. It is a bit on the complex side, so no one flavor stands out because of the balance. Interestingly, despite the heat and the decently long finish, there isn’t really much of an aftertaste. Once you swallow, it allows your palate to reset and get ready for the next sip. Later sips brought out cherry flavors and a little chocolate. The longer you let it sit, the more it seems to tone down and the heat from the higher proof becomes more tolerable. Comment: OK, so everybody probably knows that this is a classic Wheater at 107 proof. There’s no rye in the mash bill (It’s Corn/Wheat/Malted Barley, but the percentages aren’t revealed). My bottle is pre-2016, because that is when the label was redesigned. The Internet consensus seems to be that this is somewhere in the 6-8 year range. This is about the same as the other main wheaters out there, Maker’s Mark and Larceny. This has been advertised as the “Poor Man’s Pappy Van Winkle”. One reason is, the mashbill is believed to be the same as the various Pappys. This used to be (when I got this bottle) pretty easy to find, but no more. It also used to be ridiculously cheap ($20 - $30 range), but no more. The suggested retail for this is now in the $50 range, and even at that, it is not easy to find. I like this variation of the Weller/Pappy family. Is it worth $50 +? Hmmm…….I’m going to say…..maybe. Yeah, I know that’s a waffle. I really have a hard time spending almost twice as much for something I was able to easily buy much cheaper just a few years ago. That said, this is a very nice sipper. It is a really great example of the wheat bourbons. SO….I’m going to say, don’t make this your daily drinker. Make it a once-in-a-while bourbon. Make it something special. If you can score a bottle at a decent price, by all means get it, but don’t spend a terribly large amount of effort (or $) to get it on the secondary market Lastly, I should mention that this is a “cheaper cousin” of one of my all-time favorite bourbons…William Larue Weller, so……it should come as no surprise that I like it. If you are ever in a position to try the William Larue Weller (part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection), I highly recommend you try it. It might cost you up to about $40 (or more) for a dram, but if you want a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I say go for it!
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