W. L. Weller Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
A true distilling pioneer, W.L. Weller is credited with being the first distiller to produce Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey using wheat instead of rye in the mash bill. Weller’s original “wheated bourbons” became extremely popular, with a softer, smoother taste. They were so popular, in fact, it’s been said that Weller was forced to put a green thumbprint on his invoices and barrels to ensure that customers were receiving the real deal.
After serving in the War with Mexico as a member of the Louisville Brigade in the 1840s, Weller returned to Louisville to take part in a family tradition of whiskey distilling. After the introduction of his original wheated bourbon in 1849, Weller, along with his brother, founded a very successful bourbon trading company. Weller marketed his product with the slogan, “Honest Whiskey at an Honest Price.”
Weller’s namesake company eventually went on to merge with Pappy Van Winkle’s A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery to form the Stitzel-Weller Distillery, becoming renowned for such brands as W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell and Cabin Still.
Weller’s legacy continues to be honored with the production of top-notch, award-winning wheated brands of bourbon, including the W.L. Weller 12 Year, W.L. Weller Special Reserve and W.L. Weller 107 Antique.
After serving in the Louisville Brigade during the Mexican-American war, William Larue Weller returned home to his native Kentucky. His family had helped settle Kentucky in the late 18th century, and his grandfather, Daniel Weller, purchased a distillery in Nelson County in 1800. (When Daniel Weller died, his estate was inventoried and was said to contain three whiskey barrels, two stills, one mash kettle and numerous dry kegs.)
Upon his return to Kentucky following the war, W.L. Weller joined the family business and began working at his grandfather's distillery. Weller had a sharp palate and a keen sense for business and in 1849, he introduced the first bourbon ever that used wheat as its secondary grain instead of rye. Wheated bourbons (including Pappy Van Winkle and Larceny Bourbon, which eventually imitated W.L. Weller's mashbill) have a softer and more gentle flavor profile as compared to bourbons that use rye as their secondary grain. Wheated bourbons also have a slightly sweeter taste. Weller's bourbon was incredibly popular in antebellum America and ultimately forced him to place a green thumbprint on his invoices and barrels as a certificate of authenticity.