Spirits & Cocktails

Snooth User: Richard Foxall

The Holy Grail! Pre-Buffalo Trace Weller Centennial Found!

Posted by Richard Foxall, Jan 9, 2012.

Weller Centennial was simply the best whiskey I have ever tasted.  100 proof, 10 years old at bottling, smooth, deep, complex, not overly sweet.  For comparison to other bourbons, I have had Weller Antique, Hirsch 28 year old, Elijah Craig 12 and 16, all the Beam brands, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, and on and on.  Before I geeked on wine, I geeked on Bourbon, and consumed prodigious amounts in my 20s and early 30s.  But this was head and shoulders better. 

Alas, it went out of production for a few years and then came back into production after Buffalo Trace bought all the Weller lines.  And when it came back, it was subservient to the Pappy Van Winkles, apparently, and was just not as good--it had gone from being the number one in the stable to the number two and it showed.  I bought two bottles (one for my boss, who had heard me rave) before I realized this.  Drank some and, while it was okay, it was a little woody tasting.  So I read up, learned of the differences and went on the hunt.  Had to find a store that would carry something like this (higher end drinkers, but not so many that they would turn the volume, probably in an older area, suburban...)

I've stopped in at many places that didn't even fit the profile, and a ton that did.  Had my dad check when he was near the right kind of liquor store--he lives in that world pretty much full time.  Today, I was asked by my employer to help out at a branch office I am not usually assigned to.  In the strip mall next door, there's a liquor store I had never stopped in at.  In fact, I probably haven't been to this office since the search began 3-4 years ago.  And, there, on the top shelf, was Weller Centennial, distilled and bottled in Louisville.  (BT is based in Frankfort--that's the giveaway.) And there it was, dusty, sitting on the top shelf... and a good $20 more than I used to pay for it.  But I snatched it and gladly (over)paid for it.  And it turns out lots of other folks will probably pay me twice what I spent... which leaves me wondering,

drink it or sell it?


Reply by dmcker, Jan 9, 2012.

I think you know the answer to that. If you had a case, selling a few would make sense. If you have only that one, you owe it to yourself to revisit it, and see if it's as good as you remember...

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 9, 2012.

D, you're right.  Now, searching for more is less appealing--plainly, the money is not the same motivating force.  So, there's my answer.

But if I am in some liquor store and see it, you bet I am going to buy it.

Reply by edwilley3, Apr 24, 2012.

There was one on Ebay not too long ago listed for $199. 

I have had it at a S-W oriented private tasting, side by side with Pappy 15 and Pappy 20 and I think (though the memory is justly fuzzy) an old Weller Antique. If you can ever find an old Fighting Cock, pick it up. Very tasty.  

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 24, 2012.

Funny you saw this thread.  Just last week, I wandered into a very unlikely place and found a bottle of Weller Antique, the 107 proof 7 year old.  I just finished my last drops from my first-ever purchase of off-the-beaten path whiskey, the aforementioned Weller Antique, bought in (probably) 1992 or so. 

Alas, the bottle I spotted last week was a BT bottling from Frankfort, so I gave it a pass.

Last night, I drank a dram of the current release Weller 12 year old.  It's not bad, but it's not Centennial pre-BT. But I'm still on the lookout, and have a list of stores to systematically search.  In the meantime, Elijah Craig 12 year old is doing nicely.

Reply by Bsberlin22, Apr 24, 2012.

Interesting story-- My father and i were supposed to do the bourbon trail a few years ago, but work caught up with me and instead, he went with a long time friend of his. He told me that the Woodford Reserves that do not fully pass inspection are bottled in plastic bottles and sold locally in liquor stores for 1/3 of the price, obviously under a different name. My dad said all of the distilleries on the bourbon trail do this and unless you are in-the-know or grew up in thos parts, you wouldnt have a clue about it. Does anyone know the names of these off brands and if they are now (a few years later) sold anywhere but in Kentuky?

Thanks in advance! 

Reply by JonDerry, Apr 24, 2012.

Great find! 

And of course, the right play is to drink it, maybe you'll have some around at the next tasting...

Reply by edwilley3, May 19, 2012.

Foxall - I am picking up an Old Rip Van Winkle 10 tomorrow. I MAY - if I feel like lightening my wallet - get a Pappy.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 5, 2016.

Just reviving this thread, as I continue the search.  Finally found a place that has three more bottles, but they aren't for sale.  Just sitting on the shelf in a show-offy men's store called "Wingtip" in SF. I asked but they are not for sale; instead, they sit much up at the top of the spirits and wine shelves out of reach.  Seriously, take it home if you are the owner and it is not for sale.  Can't tell if it's the Louisville or not but the point is moot if it isn't for sale.

Meanwhile, there is one place that has it for sale and insists it is the Louisville bottling.  I am kind of dubious because this knowledgeable site says that the "Bourbon Heritage Collection" label was post-BT. I'll take a look at home at my bottle, which still has a third left in it.  In any case, I'm not spending $2500 on it, since the point would be to drink it, and I could buy the Papppy van Winkle (same juice, remember?) for less if I was that profligate to begin with. 

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