Our first whiskey holds a special place in my heart, and will always have a place in my collection. This was the bourbon that started it all, and introduced me to the world of enjoying and collecting artfully crafted, often rare, bourbons. I am talking about the wheated bourbon from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, Weller Special Reserve.

Don’t let the name fool you! This base offering in the coveted Weller lineup of 6 highly sought after bottles, is the least special and least reserved of the bunch. Just because it stands in the big shadows of its older more sophisticated brothers Weller Antique 107, Weller 12, Weller Full Proof, Weller Single Barrel, and Weller C.Y.P.B, does not mean this green fellow is not special on its own. 

At an approachable 90 proof (45% ABV) and $24 retail price, this is a budget friendly easy sipper. This bourbon is great for the go to pour, rookies wanting to get into bourbon, as well as a great house bourbon to share with guests who may or may not be a regular whiskey or bourbon drinker. This is very enjoyable when poured neat or on ice, and because of the attractive price point, it is not a tragedy when used as a mixer. 

Starting with the nose, this pour is subtle with notes of caramel and oak. The ethanol is present, but not off putting. Left in the glass a while, and you get notes of vanilla ice cream.

Next is the palate. The 90 proof bourbon is approachable and delicate, but doesn’t lack flavor. Many would often refer to this as “smooth”, but don’t say that in front of your friendly neighborhood bourbon snob. The flavor profile is sweet and simple with the quintessential bourbon profile of brown sugar and caramel notes. There are some subtle cinnamon sugar baking spice notes present. There is a slight bitter oak at the back of the palate on the finish, while the long finish has a fruity component. 

Weller SR punches above its $24 price tag, and is a great value when purchased at retail. However, price markups are common on this bottle in markets where it is less available. Luckily for Texas residents, this bottle is readily available, but can be more difficult to find in other markets. Based on some of the markups I have seen in those less available markets, I would say this would be disappointing if priced over $50.

This is my go to budget friendly 90 proofer, and I will always keep a few bottles on hand. I think you should too! Cheers and enjoy my friends.

Rookie Rating: 4/5

Nose: 2/5

Palate: 3/5

Value: 4/5

Availability: 3/5

Overall: 3/5

Here is a passage of scripture for meditation as you enjoy this fine beverage to the glory of God.

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart.

Psalm 104:14-15 ESV


Preston is a 4 time Junior World Champion, 6 time USA World Team, and world record setting powerlifter as well as an accomplished musician & bourbon connoisseur. He is happily married and lives with his wife and son in Manvel, Tx.