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  1. #31
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    Re: Weller Antique

    Chuck,

    Thanks for the info on Sazerac. I suppose another way to approach this would be to find a bar that has the weller antique and order myself a glass of it. It would be nice to have someone knowledgable taste my bottle, but I trust my taste buds enough to simply try tasting another bottle and see how it strikes me. However, I don't want to fork over the $$$ for another bottle.

    I have not seen the weller antique in any of the Milwaukee establishments that cater to higher end stuff. However, I will be in Chicago this weekend. Know of any good places on the north side that serve the Weller Antique?

    If I could try the weller antique somewhere else, and if it tasted OK to me, then I would be very convinced that there is something wrong with the bottle I have. I don't expect to get any satisfaction from Sazerac necesarilly, but it would satisfy me just to know what the story is.

    Don't these distilleries have tasters that try the whiskey out after it is aged and before it is bottled? This may be getting way ahead of the game here, but I wonder what could have gone wrong?

    -Bill



  2. #32
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    Re: Weller Antique

    Bill,

    You're going to have to find a real bourbon specialty bar to find the Weller to sample. However, I think you should go to Sazerac. They're sharp, and if you get to the right person, they should see the sales logic in making you happy. Like you said, the $18 isn't the real driver here, so let your curiosity take you up the line and see what happens. Sure, as Chuck said, it's not their whiskey that you have, but it WILL be their whiskey that you will or will not be purchasing again. I think they'll pick up on that.
    Keep posting, you've got us curious as well.



    Lew Bryson
    Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

  3. #33
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Weller Antique

    Delilah's, on Lincoln, or the Twisted Spoke, on Ogden, might have it, but those are about the only possibilities.

    At the distillery, the final quality check occurs when barrels are dumped prior to bottling. The bung hole plug is removed and a small amount of whiskey is extracted, diluted and sniffed. If it passes the sniff test, it is dumped and bottled. They may spot check after bottling, but the sniff test is the last time every unit of whiskey is checked for a possible problem. What can go wrong? A great number of things, all rare. Another possibility is a mix-up on the bottling line which caused something else to go into the Weller Antique run by mistake. For example, an undistinguished bourbon at 24 to 36 months might taste like what you described.

    - chuck


  4. #34
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    Re: Weller Antique

    Funny you should mention the "sniff test". I opened up the bottle of Weller Antique and took a good sniff. The odd thing is, I don't notice anything offensive about the odor of the whiskey. It smells just fine to me. The color looks normal as well.

    So, it smells OK, and it tastes OK at first- but not great. Then after it settles on the taste buds for a few seconds, it has a really unusual,strong and fumey and unpleasant after taste. Very strange.

    As for Lew's post regarding contacting Sazerac, I left a voice mail for someone there, but have not received a response. I will be more persistant. I don't think it will happen, but I would like to get a complimentary bottle of something out of the deal.

    -Bill




  5. #35
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    Re: Weller Antique

    Here is the update on the Old Weller Antique saga:

    Last night, still being somewhat unsure of my tasting skills, I did another double-blind taste test. This time, I compared the Weller Antique (107 proof) with the W.L. Weller Centenial (100 proof). Equal amounts of each were placed in their respective glasses. I labeled the glasses, then scrambled. Once again, I was able to tell which was which instantly, i.e. after the first sip of each one. The Centenial tastes great. A smooth refined taste with a hint of vanilla. The Antique was not pleasant at first, then as the whiskey settled on my pallete, it got much much worse. I've never tasted isopropyl alcohol before, but the after taste reminded me of what isopropyl smells like. The Antique wasn't even close to the Centenial.

    Now I realize that the Centenial sells for about twice as much as the Antique. However, the Antique was purchased for $18, which is an amount of money that can easily fetch a very decent bottle of Whiskey. Also, I drink Jim Beam all the time, and although it is not as luxurious and complex in flavour as the more expensive whiskeys I have tried, I do enjoy the Beam, and it does not offend me in any way. No terrible after taste with the Beam, and it sells for less than half of what the Antique sells for.

    So anyway, I think that by now, I am totally convinced that there is either something very wrong with my bottle of antique, or there is some other junk in that bottle that is not Weller Antique.

    I am making some great progress now with the manufacturer. After UD and Sazerac bounced me around a few times between them (UD sold weller to Sazerac), I am now in touch with the Quality assurance manager at the Buffalo Trace distillery, which is apparantly where the Weller Antique is made. He is going to arrange for me to ship the bottle to them free of charge where they will then perform a laboratory analysis on the contents. They are also going to send me a replacement bottle. Once I taste the new bottle, I think I will have my answer. I hope they will also share the results of the laboratory analysis with me when it is complete.

    Stay tuned for the epilogue.

    -Bill



  6. #36
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Weller Antique

    Bill, you wrote: "either something very wrong with my bottle of antique, or there is some other junk in that bottle that is not Weller Antique."

    It is more likely mis-bottled than that something caused good whiskey to "go bad." Not much can change whiskey except oxidation, and that doesn't cause the taste you described. It seems more likely that something foul was mistakenly bottled as Weller Antique.

    I'm glad to hear the reaction from Buffalo Trace. That's the right thing to do.

    Just out of curiousity, does the label identify Louisville, KY as the source? It should say at the very bottom of the front label. If it doesn't, then it might be Sazerac's whiskey after all. Unlikely, but check and let us know.

    And definitely keep us posted on the saga. It should be very interesting.

    - chuck



  7. #37
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    Guest

    Re: Weller Antique

    Chuck wrote: "I'm glad to hear the reaction from Buffalo Trace. That's the right thing to do."

    Absolutely. I'm glad they came through, but I'm not surprised. Sazerac has impressed the hell out of me lately, and I don't mean they've given me free booze and flown me to Kentucky (okay, they did give me one bottle, but I'm not THAT cheap). They're doing things the right way, the way they ought to be done. I'm optimistic about them.

    Keep us posted, Bill!




    Lew Bryson
    Hirsch Reserve 16 YO: Real Pennsylvania Bourbon

  8. #38
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    Re: Weller Antique

    First of all, I just got a check from United Distillers, which was the former owner of Weller Antique. So that is very satisfying, because I can use that money to buy something I like, such as the Van Winkle 15 year.

    As for solving the mystery of what the deal is with this bottle of Weller Antique that I have, I think I am getting closer to finding out what it is exactly about this whiskey. I finally got a whiskey drinking friend of mine to try the Weller Antique that I have (my particular bottle that I did not like). I told him I didn't like it, and he responded by asking why he should try it if it is no good. I explained that I need another opinion here, so he kindly obliged. Here is what he said about the Weller Antique that I gave him to sample:

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    I put each of the Antique and some Corner Creek in brandy snifters (the
    better to nose it with).
    There really was no major nose difference, except that the Antique might
    be higher proof. It seemed that there was more alcohol vapor present.

    Upon tasting, I noticed a marked difference in flavor.
    The Antique has what I would call an astringent character and
    significant woody flavor. It was very reminiscent of that taste you get
    when you eat fresh-cracked walnuts (there's a membrane in the shell
    which tastes very astringent). There is a similar note in some very old
    (25+ yr) scotches I have tried.

    Remembering what old Booker Noe said about aging, it's very likely that
    this is the character you get from a bourbon which is "old for it's age"
    -- perhaps from barrels stored in the higher heat of the upper floors of
    the storage building.

    I believe that there is nothing funky at all about this bourbon - though
    I can't say it's my favorite. It's just natural flavors imparted by the
    wood - tannins and other wood-related extractives. The name itself
    should probably give you a clue -- Antique.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    So, from his analysis above, it does seem to be a case of "different strokes for different folks". I guess I just don't like the taste of this bourbon. I still wonder why no other bourbon I have tasted has these characteristics that I find offensive.

    Buffalo Trace distillery (now does Weller Antique) has offered to pay for the shipment of this bottle back to them for analysis. I will take them up on that, but I suspect that they will find nothing wrong with the whiskey. I will be very interested to find out what their conclusion is. I suppose there is still a possibility that there is either some other whiskey in that bottle other than Weller Antique, or that the particular batch that is in that bottle is not their best stuff. However, it is starting to look more and more like Weller Antique is just not my cup of tea. I got my refund, so maybe I should just take that money and buy some Van Winkle 15 year and leave well enough alone!

    Any comments on this would be appreciated.

    -Bill




  9. #39
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Weller Antique

    Your friend's comments notwithstanding, I think you should follow through with Buffalo Trace and see what they tell you. If nothing else, it will tell them that the Weller brand has partisans who are serious about the quality of their whiskey.

    - chuck


  10. #40
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    Re: Hirsch 16 Reserve available

    Can you tell me more about the Hirsch 16 year?

    What I want to know is:
    1) Is it worth $50 a bottle?
    2) One of my favorites of all time is the Van Winkle 15 year. How does the Hirsch compare to that?
    3) How does Hirsch compare to other bourbons you have tried? Can you try and describe the flavours?

    I also wish to try the 20 year Pappy Van Winkle. This being even higher bucks(~$70), I want to know more about it. What about the 23 year Pappy Van Winkle? Has anyone seen that around, and if so, how much?

    -Bill



 

 

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