Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Buffalo Trace Distillery is thrilled to announce the launch of Daniel Weller, an experimental line exploring the impact of different strains of wheat on its storied bourbons, inspired by and named after the trailblazer of the Weller family. This exciting release from the original wheated bourbon brand demonstrates Buffalo Trace Distillery’s excellence in innovation while honoring a forefather of American whiskey, Daniel Weller – grandfather to William Larue Weller – and the family distilling traditions he passed down to the generations of whiskey pioneers that followed him.

While William Larue (W.L.) Weller’s place in whiskey history is widely known as one of the first to sell a “wheated” bourbon in Kentucky, his grandfather’s story has yet to be shared. After fighting in The Revolutionary War, Daniel Weller embarked on a flatboat voyage down the Ohio River with his wife and children, ultimately settling in Kentucky in 1794. Following in his father Johannes Weller’s footsteps, who distilled rye whiskey used as currency in the early American barter economy, he soon began producing whiskey. He leased him still to proprietors like Jacob Hirsch to supplement his income. 

When Daniel passed away in 1807, he left no will, requiring his son Samuel to purchase his stills and equipment to continue the family legacy, which he would ultimately pass down to his son William Larue, founder of W.L. Weller & Sons. 

The Daniel Weller experimental line is inspired by Daniel and his pioneering spirit, with plans to release one limited expression every other year when each experiment is deemed ready for bottling by Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. The inaugural release is made with Emmer wheat, an ancient Egyptian grain rarely seen in modern-day stills and mainly used to make beer and bread. Archaeologists have found evidence of Emmer wheat domestication over 6,000 years ago, and its symbol is etched into the Egyptian pyramids. 

“We began this experiment to see how one of the original, long-forgotten wheat strains would taste in our wheated bourbon,” says Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Master Distiller. “We’ve found it offers a slightly – yet delightfully – different taste that brings us into a new bourbon territory. It will taste like Weller, but with distinct, unique notes that distinguish it from the other Weller whiskies we’ve released.” 

The mashbill is not the only variable in this experiment. It was distilled in the E.H. Taylor, Jr. Microstill, named after the father of the modern bourbon industry, which Harlen spent two years custom-designing. A combination pot and column still, the Microstill is versatile and innovative, allowing the team to experiment with small batches without interrupting main production capabilities. 

Aged for nearly 12 years, Daniel Weller Emmer Wheat is bottled at 94 proof. The nose is fresh and nutty, with notes of orange zest, hazelnut, cinnamon and caramel; the palate is a well-rounded blend of bold oak, sweet honey and orchard fruits with a complex oak-forward finish complemented by baking spice and leather notes. 

“At Buffalo Trace Distillery, we appreciate that many of our brands have found a place in whiskey culture, and we continue to invest in making more whiskey to meet the demand. However, our motto is ‘Honor Tradition, Embrace Change’ because we believe the world’s best whiskey has not yet been created,” says Andrew Duncan, Global Brand Director for Buffalo Trace Distillery. “We will continue to experiment with multiple variables that affect the final taste profile – grains, techniques, aging, barrels, and more – in pursuit of that ultimate goal. When an experiment ‘graduates’ to be released under a beloved brand like Weller, it reflects our confidence in the whiskey.” 

In homage to Daniel’s pioneering journey, each release from the Daniel Weller series is packaged in a clear 750ml glass bottle with a unique compass stopper. Once opened, underneath the stopper, one will find the coordinates pinpointing the location of Daniel’s farm near Botland, KY. 

Daniel Weller Emmer Wheat will be rolling out in limited quantities to its distributor network,  which will ship to select retailers, bars and restaurants across the United States as of June 2023 at a suggested retail price of $499.99 (750ml); state taxes will vary per market. It joins the Weller lineup of Weller Special Reserve, Weller Antique 107, Weller 12 Year Old, Weller Full Proof, Weller C.Y.P.B. (“Craft Your Perfect Bourbon”), and Weller Single Barrel as well as William Larue Weller, which is released each fall as part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.  

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