W.L. Weller 12 Review

W L Weller 12 Review

W.L. Weller 12 is among my all-time favorite bourbons; everything about it is stunning. It’s one of those whiskeys I want in my glass at all times and never get tired of. It also shows exactly why people get so crazy about their Pappy Van Winkle.

The same juice that goes into making Pappy Van Winkle goes into making all of the Weller products. The main differences are the choice of wood and where the barrels are stored. Other than that when you’re drinking Weller you’re basically drinking Pappy Van Winkle and $26 for some quality Pappy juice ain’t bad.

Overall it’s simply astounding on every level and I enjoy it from the second I crack open the bottle the last drop in my glass. For my money it’s the best bourbon-for-your-dollar value out there and It’s THE wheated bourbon in my house when I can find it. Just wish it were a bit easier to find here in SoCal.

W.L. Weller 12 Review

ABV: 45%
Price: $26
Distiller: W.L. Weller and sons / Buffalo Trace

Dark caramel with red hues

A caramel hulk crashes through the gates accompanied by wood and dark fruit. Vanilla, cherries and bourbon spice come marching in behind followed by red licorice and solid undertones of silky sweetness.

It’s a riot of flavor with dark fruit, caramel, bourbon spice and oak brawling for dominance. Vanilla, cherry and a ripe citrus hang out on the fringes getting in a good shot where they can, but never fully getting involved.

This is what a bourbon should feel like. Silken with just enough bite to keep you from falling asleep.

Wood ends up winning the brawl with caramel coming in second followed by dark fruit, vanilla and citrus on a long slow fade to a warm sweet wood that seems to stick around for hours.

SCORE: 95/100

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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41 Responses to W.L. Weller 12 Review

  1. I have to agree Weller 12 is my go to whiskey! Weller 12 smooth full of flavor and you will want more. Some of the higher end whiskeys are too hot and harsh for my taste but Weller 12 is just perfect. I am not a whiskey snob I say if you like it drink it. Weller 12 in my opinion is ranks up there with the finest most expensive whiskeys. If you can find it by it!

  2. Really solid value in a bottle of this for less than $30. Really… solid. My experience isn’t all the way up to a 95 with this, but I also can’t really argue with your designation as “best bourbon-for-your-dollar value.”

    Great review, once again. Keep ’em coming!

  3. Haven’t tried Wellers yet, still working my way through a long list. I was wandering if you have tried willett pot still reserve and what your opinion is on it.

  4. Hello Josh! 🙂 I’m new to the website but old friend with the Bourbon even thought I’m only 28. The W.L Weller 12 is the perfect example of word to mouth kind of deal. 3 even 2 years ago I wouldn’t be writing this, because first of all I wouldn’t try W.L.W 12 in the first place and second of all I didn’t care much for bourbons below the $30 mark. Now, had I understand the pull of the illusive “Van Winkle” I fully came to appreciate it. It’s super expansive because people want it, plain and simple. Same thing happened to our old friend Weller 12. Word got out that this dram is simply outstanding and being that it costs little more than a freaking Jack Daniel’s!. Word got out and rest is history, in my town where I could go and grab a bottle at a moment notice suddenly it’s dry everywhere!!!:( So in short, good word travels fast and there are only limited quantities of great whiskey around so be cautious what you recommending.(I hope my beloved Evan Williams white label in Bond and Benchmark No.8 stay a close guarded secret.)

    • Cheer Thomas and thanks for the comment. I’ve already spilled the beans on the EW BiB, but haven’t tried the Benchmark #8 yet. Though you’re the second person this week who’s mentioned it so maybe I need to pick a bottle up.


  5. I think for most of us the days of finding true “dusties” are long gone. But Weller 12 is as close as I come these days. Finding a bottle for $29 on a recent business trip made my day.

  6. Hi Josh, so what’s the deal with this bourbon? Is it really hard to find? This review is the first time I’ve heard of this particular one. Is it something that I can find at most liquor stores? Thanks!

    • Hey Brad,

      It used to be able to be found everywhere. I’ve been buying it for years at $24 a bottle, but then it became super popular and it disappeared. It’s now a heavily allocated bourbon that often costs $45+ when you do come across it. :/

  7. My store emailed me that they had received their allotment of 12 bottles. I was over there in a flash to pick up my limit of 1. Looking forward to trying this unicorn. The only other Weller I’ve tried is the Weller Antique 107 proof and it is, so far, my favorite wheater by a mile and one of my favorites period. Hope this one lives up to the hype. For $30 it would seem to be a can’t miss.

  8. Danner, I really like Antique and its higher proof amps up everything I like about the 12, with the exception of the woodiness. Mixed together? Heaven in a glass. Give it a try.

  9. I just found a bottle while on vacation in Florida this week. Stopped in the local ABC store and saw Weller Special Rserve on the shelf. Took a chance and asked if he had a bottle of 12 Year in the back, He smiled and said “Yes, I have ONE botttle.” WINNER!! For under $30 too.

    First time I have ever had the 12 Year and oh my is it amazing. Rich, sweet, full bodied and consistent from nose to finish. Fantastic start to a 10 day Disney vacation. (And the bar at our resort has an amazing top shelf bourbon and scotch selection.}. Let the fun begin!

  10. The more you talk about it the more chance of it beciming like Pappy and being too expensive for all us average Joe’s.

  11. Just managed to get two bottles of the new bottling. A real highpoint in my continuing quest to find the good stuff. Paid 88 bucks for two bottles which I feel is reasonable. I havnt had the previous bottling but the new 12 is top notch.

  12. Saw one on a shelf the other day for $200. You got to be kidding me. Sad thing is, there are people out there that would pay for it. Sorry but no, just no. Insult to my intelligence the staff at that place would even try justifying that price, haha. I looked online, one website had it priced for over 700 bucks. Finding this bottle, for one, and then paying a somewhat reasonable price for it has become the bane of my existence. Regardless, a man can dream.

  13. LiquorMart in Boulder CO has this stuff for $21.99 a bottle as an everyday price.

    If you get through here………load up the truck!

  14. Weller 12 is hands down my favorite bourbon. I love everything about it. Each sip puts a huge smile on my face. So full of flavor and so easy to drink. Caramel sweetness up front with a lingering sweat oak finish. Met a guy last week who has some serious connections in Kentucky and was able to secure 4 bottles. Had to cough up $90 per bottle but did so with a huge grin on my face. Totally worth it! Especially since I have been trying to land a bottle for 2 years now. Impossible to find in Indiana. Josh love your blog and always check out your reviews if I’m contemplating a new purchase.

  15. I learned today from Sazerac that Weller 12 is not currently distributed in NJ or PA. I would expect the same might be true of some other states.

    Looks like a trip to NY is in order but not NYC, where I would expect it to be sold out in short order at a crazy markup.

  16. just came from a liquor store in Napa CA. Weller 12 $249.99 for a bottle! Too much for me, got bottle of Weller Antique for $48.99. 1st time trying it.

  17. I may gripe about the high prices on many things, but the Weller Bourbon Gods are smiling down on me. One of my favorite spots currently has Special Reserve for $18, 12 year for $22 and Antique for $31. Granted, the last 2 aren’t always available, but I usually have no problem getting 2 or 3 bottles a month.

  18. I live in upstate New York and today I picked up a weller 12 for 29.99$ and a weller antique collection for 89.99$. Like finding a unicorn around here.

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