Several months after it was announced earlier this year, we finally had a chance to sample the Weller C.Y.P.B. The name “Weller” is now just as synonymous with bourbon hysteria as “Pappy.” So, this limited release generated a lot of buzz when it was announced.
So, what is Weller C.Y.P.B.? As was posted earlier this year, Buffalo Trace Distillery announced that it was releasing a bourbon that was, essentially, selected by the people. The Weller C.Y.P.B. (which stands for “Craft Your Perfect Bourbon”) is a 95-proof, 8 year old wheated bourbon. On Buffalo Trace’s website, users can select a mash bill, barrel char level, warehouse location, age, and proof. According to the results, most users preferred a wheated bourbon, aged in the top floor of the warehouse for at least 8 years, and bottled between 90-99 proof.
Buffalo Trace also announced that Weller C.Y.P.B. would be an annual release.
Because Pappy mania seems to have reached its crest, in its wake anything with the term “Weller,” due to its shared mash bill and greater availability/affordability, is becoming like an animal on the “endangered species” list for hunters. Retail stores display signs stating “1 per customer,” if the product is placed on the shelf at all. In essence, what was once a product that was never meant to be a premium, limited release, has been turned into one. Many would say that adding yet another limited Weller product only adds unneeded fuel to the fire.
Nevertheless, we were curious, if nothing else, on where the Weller C.Y.P.B. fit within the Weller lineup. Though we have reviewed Weller products previously, the reviews below were done in one sitting, so as to better compare each bottle.
Weller C.Y.P.B. (8 years, 95 proof)
Nose: Cherry wood; dark chocolate; musk cologne; cedar closet; brown sugar; orange peel; drywall; vanilla extract; cherry pit. (3.5/5)
Palate: Brown sugar and cherry; hotter than expected; Big League Chew gum; buttered burnt toast; baked cinnamon apple. (3/5)
Finish: Brown sugar continues to carry through, with some salted grilled steak and pineapple; gets a bit drying/tannic towards the very end, like licking the inside of the barrel, which is most likely the result of aging on the warehouse’s top floor. (3/5)
Overall: This sits somewhere between underwhelming and something intriguing. It is hard to identify which variable – proof, age, or something else – is holding it back. So, in the end, it is simply satisfying, if nothing else. (3/5)
Value: Suggested retail is $40, though most stores will charge much more. We tried this locally for $15 for a 1.5 ounce pour. Considering the hype, and what could be charged, this is difficult to score. We’ll score it based on what we paid to sample it, which, again, is simply satisfying. (3/5)
W.L. Weller Special Reserve (90 Proof)
Nose: Bubblegum sweetness; brown sugar and white sugar; lime zest; cherry and apple; ethanol; some cardboard; some nutmeg and allspice. (3/5)
Palate: Cherry; cinnamon sugar buttered toast; cardboard; brown sugar; tastes noticeably diluted. (2.5/5)
Finish: Just a slow fade straight from the palate, leaving an oily texture and a nip of ethanol. (2/5)
Overall: This sits firmly in the “daily drinker” or “gateway bourbon” category. Not overly complex or intimidating, but has enough classic bourbon qualities to invite further exploration. The fact that this leaves the drinker wanting to search for something more may mean that it is accomplishing its goal. (2.5/5)
Value: This retails locally for $19.99. Its namesake aside, the price reflects its aim. Buffalo Trace could suggest a retail price much higher, but does not. Given the state of the market, this is something to be appreciated. (3.5/5)
Weller Antique 107 (107 Proof)
Nose: Cinnamon sugar and cherry; strawberry; some sharp oak; burnt sugar; allspice; red apple peel. (3.5/5)
Palate: Cinnamon apple sauce; dried cherry and apple peel; a bit of chocolate and dry oak. (3.5/5)
Finish: Allspice; cinnamon sugar; chlorine; fig. (3.5/5)
Overall: The added proof helps tremendously. Wheated bourbon has a distinct cherry note, and this seems to pair well with some added spice, so long as it passes the threshold age to avoid the sharp, green oak flavor. This is non-age stated, but has just enough to not taste too young. The result is some added spice and flavor to the lower-proof products, which leads to a slightly more satisfying experience. (3.5/5)
Value: This retails locally for $25, though it is becoming noticeably more scarce. For $25, this is a quality pour, delivering a more-than-satisfying experience. (4/5)
Weller 12 Year (12 Years, 90 proof)
Nose: Brown sugar; oak; cinnamon sugar; raisin; blackberry; nutmeg; light pepper; stewed apple; orange zest; nut; cherry; toffee; charred oak; black grape skin; grape Jolly Rancher. (3.5/5)
Palate: Stewed fruit; blackberry; cherry; citrus; brown sugar; vanilla; demerara sugar; baking spice; salted toffee; Snicker’s Bar; a collection of good flavors, but they are all a bit watery. (3/5)
Finish: The watery characteristic carries into the finish; oak; demerara sugar; toffee; vanilla; flat cola; drying oak at the end highlighted by toffee and nut. (3/5)
Overall: The added age adds some nice elements, most noticeably the added fruit and baking spice. However, the proof does hold it back, especially in light of what Weller Antique has to offer. It remains satisfying in the end. (3/5)
Value: This is difficult to score, because of the pricing at differing stores. But, with the stores we’ve developed rapport with, it retails for about $45. Getting 12-year bourbon for under $50, completely setting aside the hype and relation to Pappy, is notable. (4/5)
Stephen is a regular writer at FlightClubICT.com