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Buffalo Trace creates Daniel Weller range

Sazerac-owned Buffalo Trace Distillery has revealed a new whiskey line that explores the impact of different strains of wheat on Bourbon, called Daniel Weller.

Daniel Weller
The first whiskey in the Daniel Weller collection is made using Emmer wheat

The new line was named after Daniel Weller, the ‘forefather of American whiskey’ and grandfather to William Larue (WL) Weller.

Daniel Weller’s distilling traditions were passed down to each generation of his family.

WL Weller is well known for being one of the first to sell a wheated Bourbon in Kentucky, Buffalo Trace said, however, his grandfather’s story is yet to be told.

After fighting in the American Revolutionary War, Daniel embarked on a flatboat voyage down the Ohio River with his wife and children, ultimately settling in Kentucky in 1794.

Following in the footsteps of his father Johannes Weller, who distilled rye whiskey for currency, Daniel soon began producing whiskey and leased his still to make extra money.

When Daniel died in 1807 without a will, his son, Samuel, decided to carry on the family legacy and purchase the stills and equipment. This was then passed down to his son, William, who founded alcohol wholesale business WL Weller & Sons.

The inaugural release in the Daniel Weller range was aged for nearly 12 years and made with Emmer wheat, a ‘rare’ ancient Egyptian grain mainly used in beer and bread.

Archaeologists have found evidence of Emmer wheat domestication more than 6,000 years ago, and its symbol is etched in the Egyptian pyramids, Buffalo Trace said.

‘New Bourbon territory’ 

“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 just 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 make it stand apart from the other Weller whiskies we’ve released to date.”

Furthermore, the mash bill was distilled in the EH Taylor Jr microstill, a combination pot and column still that Wheatley spent two years custom designing. The microstill enables the team to experiment with very small batches without interrupting the main production.

The resulting liquid offers notes of orange zest, hazelnut, cinnamon, and caramel, and flavours of bold oak, sweet honey, and orchard fruits.

Buffalo Trace plans to launch one limited edition whiskey every other year as part of the range.

“At Buffalo Trace Distillery, we are appreciative 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,” added Andrew Duncan, global brand director for Buffalo Trace Distillery.

“However, our motto is ‘Honour Tradition, Embrace Change’ because we believe the world’s best whiskey has not yet been created.

“We will continue to experiment with multiple variables that affect the final taste profile – grains, techniques, ageing, barrels, and more – in pursuit of that ultimate goal. When an experiment ‘graduates’ to be released under a beloved brand like Weller, it’s a reflection of our confidence in the whiskey.”

Each release in the range will be packaged in a clear 750ml bottle with a compass stopper. Once opened, the coordinates pinpointing the location of Daniel’s farm near Botland, Kentucky, can be found.

Bottled at 47% ABV, Daniel Weller Emmer Wheat is priced at RRP US$499.99. It is available in limited quantities across the US.

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