Being a whiskey reviewer has its perks. Every so often, I'll get a sample of some random whiskey from friends who ask me to review it. I get a kick out of it, not only because it is a nice gesture, but also because it helps me discover new things which, in turn, I can share with you.
In this case, the friend sent me four samples for review. Each of them is from his favorite, local store and wants to know my opinion on their barrel selection ability. I'm perfectly happy to do this, with the same understanding that these are honest reviews with no strings attached. In this case, the store in question is DeVine Liquor, which has locations in River Falls and Menomonie, WI and the first of four samples is an Old Weller Antique pick called Gold Vine Antique.
In this instance, I don't know the price and for the purpose of this review, it really doesn't matter. On Old Weller Antique, assuming the store is being fair, retail would be $35-$60, depending on where and when (because Buffalo Trace enacted a price increase mid-2019). What I can tell you is Old Weller Antique is always bottled at 107°, it is a wheater (meaning the mashbill's second-largest ingredient is wheat instead of rye). This particular version is non-chill filtered, which some folks believe leads to a more flavorful whiskey.
In my Glencairn glass, Gold Vine Antique presented as a clear, deep copper. It left a medium-thick rim on the wall that just stuck there. Fat droplets formed, but they also didn't seem to go anywhere, even waiting several minutes before they started crawling.
Aromas of cherry and oak started the nosing process. Then, a mixture of orange citrus and honeysuckle took over. When I inhaled through my lips, thick, sweet caramel rolled across my palate.
At first sip, Gold Vine Antique had a thin and oily mouthfeel. It coated my entire mouth. Vanilla and dry oak flavors were at the front. Those phased to cocoa and white chocolate. Then, on the back, it became a lovely mix of caramel and cinnamon.
The medium-length finish consisted of cherry and toasted oak. The cherry wandered off, leaving the toasted oak behind.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: A few things need to be said. Old Weller Antique and, especially store picks of it, typically disappear off the shelf before they're even settled in. Moreover, this series is more a judgment on DeVine's barrel selection ability. But, Gold Vine Antique is a wonderful representation of Old Weller Antique and far as Round One goes, I'm impressed. If you happen to stumble upon a bottle, grab it. Cheers!