The Release Of Weller Millennium Goes Viral

In a move that sent the bourbon blogosphere into hysteria a few weeks ago, news leaked that Buffalo Trace is preparing to release Weller Millennium, a new W.L. Weller whiskey. Complete details were revealed yesterday at an event at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York's Hudson Valley. Weller Millennium joins an expanding line of products from the popular brand that was once casually dismissed as a cheap alternative to Pappy Van Winkle.

Unveiling Weller Millennium

Bourbon sleuths first spotted the new product on April 24, 2024, on the TTB's website, in an application submitted by Buffalo Trace. Officially known as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the TTB regulates the sale and taxation of alcohol in the United States and was previously a branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Before new products can be released to consumers, suppliers must first get the labels approved by the TTB.

The TTB application included the front and back labels of Weller Millennium. It's billed as "a blend of straight whiskeys," made from barrels ranging from 18-24 years old, at 99 proof / 49.5% ABV. The non-bordered front label indicated the final bottle will resemble last year’s Daniel Weller Emmer Wheat Recipe bourbon, which featured graphics printed directly on the bottle.

Weller Millennium Label

Is Weller Millennium Bourbon?

At the time of the filing, it was unclear what type of whiskey would be in the bottle since it wasn't specified as bourbon. As it turns out, Weller Millennium is blended from a combination of wheated bourbon and wheat whiskey. The wheated bourbon is the same mash bill as all other Weller products. However, the majority of the blend is made from barrels of wheat whiskey. The wheat whiskey includes corn in the mash bill (undisclosed), but the dominant grain is wheat, so Weller Millennium can't be classified as a bourbon.

Weller Millennium Bottle

The wheat whiskey barrels were laid down by Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley and his team as one of many experiments they've been conducting since the late 1990s. Think Single Oak Project and the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection. The blend was created by Master Blender Drew Mayville who's also responsible for a recent Kentucky whiskey release from Last Drop Distillers.

Weller Millennium Packaging

Weller Millennium Easter Eggs

Weller Millennium gets its name from its barrels, which were distilled at the turn of this century. The proof point - 99% (49.5% ABV) - is a playful nod to the number of years in a century. The number of bottles being released is undisclosed. The brand claims it's extremely limited. Each bottle comes in a box that contains a scroll with the bottle number. It arrives to retail in June with an MSRP of $7500.

What Does Weller Millennium Taste Like?

Millennium shares similarities with Weller Single Barrel in proof and flavor, but the wheat whiskey is at the forefront. Both the nose and palate are rather sweet, but it leans toward white chocolate and sugarcane rather than vanilla and caramel. The cherry and baked apple notes many people get from Weller are there but tropical flavors of banana and coconut found in other wheat whiskeys like Bainbridge are very much in play; especially when water's added. It's less robust than Full Proof, but comes across as more mature, and with more going on. The proof is well-suited for the blend, as demonstrated by a soft lengthy finish. Overall, this is an excellent pour, on par with Buffalo Trace's most sought after special releases.

Weller Millennium Tasting Notes

The Weller Legacy

Weller bourbon traces its origins back to the 19th century and the formative days of the American whiskey industry. Its namesake, William Larue Weller, helped pioneer the use of wheated bourbon mash bills and gave Julian "Pappy" Van Winkle his start in the whiskey business; the first of many instances where the fates of both brands are intertwined.

Currently, both Pappy Van Winkle and Weller are produced at Buffalo Trace Distillery and use a similar wheated bourbon recipe. As "Pappy" surged in popularity and became hard-to-find, the more modestly priced, and readily available, Weller earned the nickname, "Poor Man's Pappy." Ironically, this resulted in similar shortages and inflated secondary market prices for the Weller brand.

The Complete Weller Lineup

Until six years ago, Weller only produced three standard offerings: Weller Special Reserve, the 107-proof Old Weller Antique, and Weller 12 Year Old bourbon. Their hi-hat was William Larue Weller, a barrel-proof bourbon released once per year as part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection (BTAC).

In 2018, Buffalo Trace debuted Weller CYPB, based on a three-year crowd-sourcing project where fans filled out an interactive online form to "Craft Your Perfect Bourbon." In 2020, they followed up with Weller Full Proof and Weller Single Barrel. After a three-year hiatus, they released Daniel Weller in 2023. With the addition of Weller Millennium, Weller now has nine bottles in its catalogue.

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