Each year, the family-owned Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Kentucky, releases a limited edition Antique Collection of bourbons and rye whiskies, of which the William Larue Weller uncut and unfiltered wheated bourbon ($119) is clearly the star of the show. Don’t confuse this with the other great W.L. Weller bourbons in the line, which come in shorter, squatter bottles and lower proofs. This is a re-creation of Weller’s 1849 recipe, a double distillation of Distiller’s Grade #1 and #2 Kentucky corn plus North Dakota wheat and malted barley.
The distillate was first put into new, charred white-oak barrels during the summer of 1998, where it slowly matured on the fourth and ninth floors of Buffalo Trace warehouses I and P. Twelve years and three months later, when this spirit was at its peak, 55 of the best barrels were hand selected and bottled. The result is a 126.6 barrel-proof powerhouse brimming with caramel corn, toffee, and aromatic pipe smoke, all linked together with an underlying characteristic sweetness indicative of an authentically crafted wheated bourbon. It is definitely a fireside drink, to which one might be well advised to add a splash of branch (distilled) water or an ice cube to tone things down. (502.696.592, www.buffalotrace.com)