Whether you love the Pappy Van Winkle offerings or find them grossly overrated, there is one thing we can all agree on – PVW is nearly impossible to find.

So, if you can’t find Pappy, what is the best alternative for fans of wheated bourbon?

We conducted a blind tasting of 7 wheated bourbons. Four testers scored each bourbon on a scale from 1 to 5 on nose, palate, and finish, with a maximum total score of 15.

At the end of the tasting we tallied our scores and revealed the identities of the bourbons we sampled.

Here are the results…

Wheated Bourbon #1: [Maker’s Mark (MM)]
Average Scores:
Nose = 3.5
Palate = 2
Finish = 2
Total Score = 7.5 out of 15
Notes: Nice nose – orange and spice, palate flat and hot, dry finish

Wheated Bourbon #2 [Weller 12 yr. (W12)]
Average Scores:
Nose = 2
Palate = 3
Finish = 3
Total Score = 8.0 out of 15
Notes: Nose is light and one-dimensional, palate is solid but unspectacular, moderate and thin finish

Wheated Bourbon #3 [Weller Special Reserve (WSR)]
Average Scores:
Nose = 2.5
Palate = 2
Finish = 2
Total Score = 6.5 out of 15
Notes: Very light nose with floral notes, palate is flat and boring, finish non-existent

Wheated Bourbon #4 [Larceny]
Average Scores:
Nose = 2.5
Palate = 3.5
Finish = 3.5
Total Score = 9.5 out of 15
Notes: Nose is light with citrus and earthy notes, sweet on the palate and more complex than previous samples, solid finish

Wheated Bourbon #5 [Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond (OF BIB)]
Average Scores:
Nose = 2.5
Palate = 4
Finish = 4
Total Score = 10.5 out of 15
Notes: Nose is a bit weak, sweet up front on the palate, finish is dry and long. The best flavor so far.

Wheated Bourbon #6 [Old Weller Antique (OWA)]
Average Scores:
Nose = 4
Palate = 4
Finish = 4
Total Score = 12.0 out of 15
Notes: Nose is sweet with orange and bubble gum, palate is excellent- sweet and hot, finish is long and viscous. Excellent pour.

Wheated Bourbon #7  [Rebel Yell 10yr. Single Barrel (RY10)]
Average Scores:
Nose = 3.5
Palate = 3.5
Finish = 4
Total Score = 11.0 out of 15
Notes: Nose has tons of orange and wood spice, palate is well balanced with sweetness and burn, excellent finish – maybe the best of the group.

Wheated Bourbon Final Rankings

{From Best to Worst by Total Score}

  • Old Weller Antique (OWA)
  • Rebel Yell 10yr. Single Barrel (RY10)
  • Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond (OF BIB)
  • Larceny
  • Weller 12 yr. (W12)
  • Maker’s Mark (MM)
  • Weller Special Reserve (WSR)

{From Best to Worst by Palate + Finish Combined Score}

  • Old Weller Antique (OWA) and Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond (OF BIB) tied for 1st
  • Rebel Yell 10yr. Single Barrel (RY10) 
  • Larceny
  • Weller 12 yr. (W12)
  • Maker’s Mark (MM) and Weller Special Reserve (WSR) tied for last

Our Takeaways

  • WSR is simply not good. It was easily the lowest rated bourbon on all of our tasting sheets. Not everything with “Weller” on the label is worth buying.
  • MM had a surprisingly good nose, but fell apart on the palate and finish. 
  • 3 of the 4 tasters preferred Larceny to Weller 12. In fact, Larceny averaged higher scores in every category. And you can find it everywhere. Think about that.
  • OWA won the tasting easily, with 4’s across the board. I was actually surprised by how much I liked OWA since it has never been a bottle I chase. That may change.
  • OF BIB and RY10 are great bourbons that almost anyone will enjoy (one taster ranked OF BIB #1 overall). Both are complex and worthy of seeking out.

Wheated Bourbon Rebel Yell 10yr - Bourbon SippersIn the end, if you can’t find Pappy Van Winkle (and you likely won’t) grab a bottle of OWA and be happy that you have a great wheater for a fraction of the cost. And if you can’t find OWA, give Larceny a shot. It may surprise you with a flash if you go into it with an open mind.


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15 Stars Platinum Fine Aged Bourbon Review: A Luxurious Blend of Tradition and Craftsmanship

15 Stars Platinum Fine Aged Bourbon Review: A Luxurious Blend of Tradition and Craftsmanship

In the ever-evolving world of premium spirits, 15 Stars Platinum Fine Aged Bourbon emerges as a notable entrant, commanding attention with its intriguing blend and luxurious profile. Released in July 2023, this straight bourbon harmoniously combines 10, 15, and 18-year-old bourbons sourced from the revered distilleries of Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee. At 98 proof, it stands as a testament to expert craftsmanship and a deep understanding of bourbon blending.

Color and Presentation First impressions are set by its color – a deep, dark caramel that suggests the richness waiting within. Housed in an elegantly designed bottle, it justifies its price point of $280, not only with its contents but also with its shelf presence.

Nose Upon opening, 15 Stars Platinum Fine Aged Bourbon greets you with a bouquet of classic caramel and vanilla. These familiar scents are soon joined by the deeper, more complex aromas of oak, cherry, and leather, creating an olfactory tapestry that entices and intrigues.

Palate The palate is where this bourbon truly distinguishes itself. Its texture is remarkably rich and thick, carrying the promise made by its appearance and aroma. The flavors are a masterful blend: the sweetness of caramel and vanilla is perfectly balanced by the depth of oak, the fruitiness of cherry, and the earthiness of leather. This combination creates a harmonious and luxurious taste experience.

Source and Blend Speculation suggests that the bourbon components were meticulously chosen from prestigious sources: a 10-year-old from MGP, a 15-year-old from a renowned Kentucky distillery, and an 18-year-old from Dickel. This tri-state sourcing contributes to the bourbon’s unique profile.

Finish The finish is long and satisfying, leaving a lingering warmth and a reminder of the mature oak notes that are carefully woven throughout the sip. Unlike some of its contemporaries, 15 Stars Platinum Fine Aged Bourbon doesn’t overwhelm with the mature oak; instead, it’s skillfully balanced, ensuring a refined and enjoyable experience to the last drop.

Conclusion While 15 Stars Platinum Fine Aged Bourbon may not boast the broadest range of flavors in its category, it excels in delivering a highly satisfying sip with a well-developed oak profile. It might not be the most complex bourbon in its price range, but it offers a deeply gratifying experience, particularly for enthusiasts who appreciate a mature and thoughtfully crafted bourbon.

In conclusion, 15 Stars Platinum Fine Aged Bourbon stands as a remarkable blend, showcasing the art of bourbon blending at its finest. It’s a worthy addition to any collector’s cabinet and a delightful treat for those special occasions.


ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Exclusive Four Roses OBSF Bourbon Review

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, a family-owned business operating in Florida since 1936, has selected a special Four Roses Single Barrel OBSF Bourbon for their customers. This unique barrel strength expression is a result of meticulous selection from Four Roses’ ten distinct recipes, and this review will take you on a tasting journey of this intriguing bourbon.

Whiskey Details:
• Distillery: Four Roses Distillery
• Selected by: ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
• Recipe: OBSF
• Mashbill: 60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley
• Age: 8 years and 9 months
• Bottled: October 12, 2018
• ABV: 57.5%
Tasting Notes:
Upon the first whiff, the nose is graced with fresh honey and toffee notes. The aromas are sweet and inviting, providing a delightful introduction to this bourbon. The rye component of the mashbill is subtle but adds a pleasant depth to the overall olfactory experience.
As the bourbon hits the palate, light brown sugar comes to the forefront, accompanied by a mild spice from the rye. The oak influence is apparent but not overpowering, harmoniously interlacing with the other flavors. The balance of sweetness and spice is expertly achieved, making it an enjoyable sip for bourbon enthusiasts of all levels.
The finish on this Four Roses OBSF is long and lingers with prominent notes of vanilla and leather. The leather adds an interesting, earthy complexity, while the vanilla provides a smooth, velvety end to the sip. The high ABV does not overwhelm the senses but instead offers a pleasant warmth that enhances the overall experience.
Discover our in-depth review of the exclusive Four Roses OBSF Bourbon, specially selected by ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. Experience the inviting aroma of fresh honey and toffee, followed by a harmonious balance of light brown sugar, mild spice, and oak on the palate. Delight in the long, smooth finish of vanilla and leather in this remarkable bourbon, perfect for enthusiasts and collectors alike. Don’t miss out on this limited-release treasure!