Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Buffalo Trace Distillery

Review: Old Weller Antique Straight Bourbon

Owned by Sazerac Company, Old Weller Antique Kentucky Straight Bourbon is distilled at the Buffalo Trace Distillery and bottled at 53.5% ABV.

Price Range: Normally $20-$25 however, limited allocation has caused retail prices to skyrocket to $48 for a bottle.

Old Weller Antique is a "wheated" Kentucky Straight Bourbon which means it uses wheat as its secondary flavoring grain as appose to rye. While neither Sazerac nor Buffalo Trace disclose their mashbills it is thought the wheat portion ranges between 10-20%. 

In 2009 Old Weller Antique dropped its 7 Year ages statement which did not seem to hurt the quality of the juice in the bottle. However, as the craze for Pappy Van Winkle reached a fever pitch, word began to spread that Pappy shared the same exact mashbill as the Weller line of bourbons and that they were considerably less expensive. Three years ago when I organized a blind tasting of whiskey's $20 and under, you could still find Weller Special Reserve and Old Weller Antique even though the Weller 12 Year Old had virtually disappear from retails shelves and stores were put on a strict allocation. Not so any more. While one is more likely to find a bottle of Weller Special Reserve, Old Weller Antique had become increasingly harder to find and as a result the retailers who do carry it have started charging a lot more. The day after I finished the last drops of my bottle of Old Weller Antique I was elated to see a local grocery store had two bottles for sale. Now however, instead of costing around $20, the store was charging $48 per bottler. That's more than a 200% price increase in just three years!

My hope is that in a few more years when the increased kentucky bourbon production begins to age out and be bottled that both prices and supply will stabilize. But, in the near term it seems likely that scarcity and price increases will continue.


Nose: In the glass Weller Antique smells of caramel, sweet cherries, candied apple, vanilla, cinnamon, and varnished wood. While the alcohol is noticeable (at 107 proof one would expect that) on the nose it isn't over powering.

Palate: The palate is rich and smooth with no heat on the tongue but it does warms up your chest. The bourbon is sweet up front with notes of caramel and vanilla which are balanced with oak. Mid palate is full of baking spice and dried cherries with a slight bitterness from the oak tannins on the back end.

Finish: The finish is long. Oak tannins and dryness linger with notes of cigar tobacco and sweet corn.

Conclusion: Old Weller Antique is a very well balanced wheated bourbon and a great value at $20. From the first time I drank this bourbon quickly became my favorite wheated bourbon beating out both Makers Mark and Larceny. That being said the for my tastes, the bitterness that comes through from the oak makes it hard for me plunk down $50 to get a new bottle in the current environment. However, if and when Weller Antique returns to a more sane price, I will definitely grab a bottle.


Review: Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon


Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon, distilled by Sazerac Co. at Buffalo Trace Distillery and bottled at 46.5% ABV. 

Price Range: $45-$60

As the story goes, Elmer T. Lee, Master Distiller at Buffalo Trace decided to create a new and innovative bottling for bourbon lovers by producing the world's first single barrel bourbon.  Since 1984, the concept of single barrel spirits has been copied throughout the spirits industry and in part helped birth the "small batch" category which has dominated the growth and sales of premium spirits for the last 20 years.

The bourbon is named after Colonel Albert B. Blanton who began working at what today is the Buffalo Trace Distillery in 1897 when he was 16 years old. Blanton worked his way up the company ladder from an office boy to president of the distillery. During National Prohibition, the government gave Blanton permission to continue making whiskey for "medicinal" purposes which makes it one of oldest continuously operating distilleries in the United States. 


Nose: The nose is light and fruity, reminiscent of candied apple and ripe pear. Underlying these bright top notes are deeper aromas of oak and yeasty bread.

Palate: Neat, Blanton's is very hot and screams for a dash of water. Once my tongue recovered a bit from the impact of the alcohol, the bourbon has a medium body with light sweetness, hints of vanilla and bright lemon zest.  

Finish: The finish is incredibly long with that is semi-dry from the wood tannins. The flavor on the finish shows notes of coffee and an herbaceousness reminiscent of rosemary.

With Water: The sharp heat mellows with the addition of water and the initial sweetness on the tongue intensifies and then transitions to baking spices. The finish is both herbal and sweet not unlike a cough lozenge. 

Conclusion: Blanton's is a fine bourbon though not completely my cup of tea. For fan's of Buffalo Trace, it is definitely worth trying but I felt the balance was off. The heat from the alcohol overshadows most of the flavors and the combination of sweet and herbal flavors are not what I usually look for in a bourbon. I imagine that Blanton's would work well in cocktails that call for sweet vermouth or for those who like to drink their bourbon on the rocks.

Thank you to Rachel for the sample.