By Michelle Railey
That amber that Mr. Attenborough lifted up in Jurassic Park? Sure, it was pretty, it was clear, it had a mosquito in it. And it led to velociraptors and jello.
And Jeff Goldblum, who I think we all can agree is pretty dreamy.
Well, the amber liquid that is the bourbon known as W.L. Weller…it is clearer, cleaner, more Amber-y than Attenborough’s walking stick. Which was, after all, in a movie.
Okay, let’s try again: the author owns an amber heart pendant that she purchased in New Orleans. This pendant is a tiny chip of Baltic history. It reminds one of the Middle Ages, of Finns and Slavs and Celts trading pieces of yellow “glass” for coins, and fur, and wine; for British wool and Italian garum and Byzantine wheat.
The point is this: The author was, serendipitously, handed a tiny glass of W.L. Weller’s bourbon. 12 year (aged) and “wheated.” The wheat, allegedly, makes the bourbon smooth.
The look of this bourbon, in the glass, has viscosity. Swish it around, it sticks on the glass just exactly long enough: not honey, but not cheap.
And it is the perfect Baltic Amber. An amber color so pure, it approaches topaz. The light hits it and the edges turn blue. It’s autumn and sunlight and evening and warmth and fire glow. It’s amber, no Attenborough required.
The website states that W.L. Weller bourbon (12 year) has the scent of “lanolin, almond, creamed corn.”
No. Weller has the scent of all of the following: jasmine, marshmallow, and caramel corn. There’s probably more, but in the words of Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life (wedding scene)…”who cares?”
I’m not, generally speaking, a fan of hard liquor. I do not have bourbon and Kentucky and smoke running through my veins.
And yet. This bourbon, in its way, turned me into a pretentious snob: ” the front-end smells like…and it finishes with…” (Like a rosary: jasmine, marshmallow, and caramel corn.)
The truth is simple: it’s beautiful in the glass: the earth turned liquid. Plus viscosity. The bouquet/scent? Well, it takes a minute: but it’s smoky, floral, and as comforting as birthday cake. The feel on the tongue is, intially, smooth. It burns a little as you swallow, but not much. It’s just warm, like sinking into a beautifully-run bath, or standing near a campfire.
This is less a bourbon than a work of art. Which sounds pretentious.
Just drink a swallow, if you have the chance. It’s ridiculously good. Don’t, for the love of God, write about it. Just drink it.
But pause for a moment first: Look at the color, swirl it around the glass. Breathe for just a second. Then take a sip. It swallows like witchcraft.
In a good way. Blanton’s is great. Four Roses is good. And Weller’s? It had me at hello.
Go ahead and introduce yourself. (It’s delicious.)