Friday, October 26, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

I had another pour of WL Weller 12 year old last night, and I got something new and interesting out of it: almond extract. I don't know if my mind was playing tricks on me or what, but smack dab in the middle of the finish was the flavor of almond extract. I am of the opinion that almond extract makes just about everything taste better, so I was pleased.

It's very common to read comparisons between WL Weller 12 and Van Winkle Family Reserve because both are wheated Bourbons, both are 12 years old, both are bottled at similar proof (the Weller at 90 proof, the Van Winkle at 90.4 proof), and both have the same sources (Buffalo Trace- and Bernheim-distilled Bourbon). The Weller can be had for less than $20 a fifth, while the current price on the Van Winkle is around $43 a fifth. The argument is usually that the Weller is a far better value than the Van Winkle. This is almost self-evidently true: the Weller is a good whiskey, and there's no way that the Van Winkle delivers more than twice the enjoyment that the Weller does, at least for me. But I think that most people would agree that the Van Winkle is a superior Bourbon to the Weller, and not by a narrow margin. As with clothing and shoes, you have to pay a lot of money to get relatively small incremental improvements in Bourbon (and whisk(e)y in general).

1 comment:

Ben W. Brumfield said...

To add further confusion to the "What Should Ben Drink" topic, I finished a bottle of Weller 12 sometime last week, and on your recommendation, I replaced it with Old Forrester.

Sigh. OF is really harsh and unpleasant. I'll give it a few more tries before I consign it to the "give to Cusey" shelf, alongside the 1792.