On trips to Chicago, Binny’s Beverage Depot is always on my itinerary. Not only do have a friend who works at the South Loop Store, and the store have a great selection, but they always have some great private barrel selections, be they bourbon, Scotch or something else.
Binny’s barrels of Weller 12 y/o (a wheat bourbon made at Buffalo Trace in Frankfort, KY) are always very, very good, so I always pick up a bottle for myself and usually one for somebody else too. A few weeks ago I picked up a bottle of the latest edition and since I happened to have a little bit left from my previous visit, I seized the opportunity and did a head to head.
Binny’s Weller 12 head to head
1) Binny’s Weller 12, purchased 3/2009
2) Binny’s Weller 12, purchased 10/2010
2) Same color, but maybe slightly darker
1) Granny Smith apple, lavender, a bit of alcohol.
2) Peanut Butter, fresh roasted peanuts, wood.
On the Palate
1) Silky, tart, a touch floral
2) Same silkiness, but woodier and drier. Much drier.
1) Tangy, fills the cheeks, then some slow burn and slight sweetness
2) Raspberry jam, then fading and slightly sweet and woody.
I was surprised at the difference between these two bourbons. Most suprising were the floral aromas and flavors, particularly lavender in the 2009 edition. This is a characteristic that is most closely associated with high-rye bourbons like Four Roses Single Barrel, not wheat bourbons (which contain no rye at all) which are usually dominated by vanilla and sweet caramel flavors.
The powers that be at Binny’s have done an excellent job in selecting barrels with distictive profiles that bring out different aspects of this rich and complex (and affordable) bourbon.