The people behind Buffalo Trace did research a few years ago, asking their fans on the type of whisky they’d like to see. A website asked several questions, including the preferred recipe of whisky (rye, bourbon, wheated bourbon), the age, the proof, etc. The results came in, and the Craft Your Perfect Bourbon was born. It’ll be an annual release. The first release, priced at $40, is already selling for hundreds of dollars in the after-market. Welcome to the bourbon craze. I’d hate to contribute to the hype, but Weller C.Y.P.B. is a terrific whisky. It’s probably the best in the Weller series.
If you’re familiar with wheated bourbons and Weller, skip ahead to the next paragraph. Otherwise, here’s the quick history: Weller is the original wheated bourbon. Most bourbons start with corn (51%+), rye (usually 8-12%, but sometimes much higher) and malted barley (anywhere between 8% to 18%). The only rule to the recipe used for bourbon is it must contain 51% or more of corn and the rest must be a cereal grain. A wheated bourbon replaces the rye component with wheat, making it a recipe of mostly corn, wheat, and malted barley. Pappy Van Winkle is the most famous wheated bourbon in the world, and shares the distillery and recipe with Weller. Hence, Weller being a hot commodity on the market; because if you can’t get Pappy, Weller often will do.
The original Craft Your Perfect Bourbon wasn’t specifically going to be a Weller product. It came down to votes. Over 100,000 people voted. Buffalo Trace fans asked for a wheated bourbon, at a higher proof-point (90-99), and in that eight-year-old age bracket matured at the top of the warehouse. Since the final votes came in favor of the wheated bourbon, the first C.Y.P.B. release falls under the Weller brand.
Did I mention how terrific this whisky is? I did. This is a bourbon reminiscent of some of the young Pappy Van Winkle line with boozy cherry notes, but it lacks the dry finish of the older Pappies. Instead, you’re offered wonderful sweetness and great citrus notes. It’s a vibrant whisky, with plenty of depth and lots of character.
You can listen (or watch) to the full interview with Drew Mayville, Master Blender for Sazerac Company, on The Whisky Topic podcast.
Buffalo Trace Distillery
Category: American whisky, Bourbon, Wheated Bourbon
Nose: Stone fruit, crushed fruit (raspberries, cherries), beautiful sweet sugary notes, touch of lemon. The caramel notes take a back-seat (for a bourbon), but they’re beautiful. Dusty notes.
Palate: Wonderful hit of flavor, crushed citrus, brown sugar sweetness, great oak spice. The finish is fantastic. The flavors hit the palate hard. Crushed fruit carries through from front to back, and the transition from sweetness to spice, to dry sweet (think vermouth) finish is really quite incredible. Nice licorice elements.
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original in any category
This is quite possibly the best Weller product out there (with maybe the exception of those few special store-picks). The elements are true Weller, amped up. Even compared to the 107, which is an immediate blast of flavour, this is more rewarding in terms of depth. I can’t ever advocate for secondary market pricing at $350 or more, but if you can find this for the retail price of $40, this is an immediate buy.