Nose: The alcohol hits you first. It’s not overkill but a bit surprising for a 90 proofer. It has hints of apple, caramel, honey and a dab of vanilla. A light oak aroma also mixes in. Sweetness envelopes the whole package.
Palate: The wheat makes the bourbon sweet and a very pleasant sip. The vanilla and caramels really come through more as they hit the tongue. It’s not a very complex sip, but at least a pleasant one.
Finish: Although it starts sweet, it finishes with some amount of bite. The oak comes through during the finish and provides a bit of warmth to the sip. The bite doesn’t last long and acts as more of a finisher than a deal breaker. On some sips the alcohol does reveal itself quite a bit during the finish. Otherwise, the sweet honeysuckle finishes off the sip nicely.
Uniqueness: As part of Buffalo Trace’s wheat line, that in itself is reason enough to notice. All of BT’s wheat line originates from the same basic mashbill. That includes, Weller Antique 107, Weller 12 Year, BTAC’s William Larue Weller and the infamous Pappy Van Winkle line. As the story goes, the Weller barrels are in a different location in BT's warehouses than the Van Winkles barrels, but the basic recipe is the same.
Value: At the $20 range, this is a fantastic bourbon. It may not have the depth of a more expensive bourbon, but it’s one that is relatively easy to find and priced right. If you’re new to bourbon, the Weller line is the place to start your journey.
Overall: Special Reserve is a fantastic entry-level bourbon that is both easy to drink and easy on the wallet. It’s easily one of the best bourbons in its class and a great place for new bourbon drinkers to start. It’s sweet palate and minor burn make it very accessible to anyone.
To sum it up: Sweet, Drinkable, Affordable, Sharable
-Eric - Reviewed: 3/2014
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