Review: Weller Millennium Lacks The Expected Complexity For $7,500 A Bottle

We've seen a lot of innovation coming through Buffalo Trace in recent times, as I witnessed at the Buffalo Trace distillery tour in the fall of 2023. While there, I sampled the Buffalo Trace Prohibition Collection and the highly sought Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, while learning of the venerable whiskey maker's secrets. I also tasted the Weller Millennium release along with a serving of the ultra-premium Eagle Rare 25-Year. The latter came out almost immediately, but Weller Millennium has been in limbo until now while the brand perfected the bottle.

Buffalo Trace's press team and master distiller Harlen Wheatley were tight-lipped about what Weller Millennium was, precisely, only noting they were excited for attendees to try it. Still, the amount of care that went into crafting the perfect vessel teased out the kind of reveal one could expect. When I sampled the Daniel Weller Emmer Wheat earlier that summer, the buzz was that we'd be seeing more in the Weller pipeline.

Reader, those rumors were confirmed when I recently attended Buffalo Trace's release event just outside of New York City in the luxuriously rustic Blue Hill at Stone Barns — the destination alluding to how the brand feels about its latest expression. Here is my take on W.L. Weller Millennium whiskey.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

What is Weller Millennium whiskey?

True to its name, Weller Millennium's blend of straight bourbons and wheat whiskeys entered their barrels around the turn of the millennium. The youngest whiskey in the batch is from 2006, and the oldest is from 2000, according to the press release. There are pointedly 99 starbursts on the case design in reference to its 99 proof (49.5% ABV).

Note, however, that it's wheat whiskeys and not wheated bourbons. While the rest of the Weller line-up is bourbon, this is a whiskey of a different stripe. Buffalo Trace always keeps its mash bills private but typically uses one of four main ones with undisclosed proportions. However, at the distillery tour, Harlen Wheatley mentioned they have plenty more that don't see regular use. Though Buffalo Trace isn't revealing what mash bill is used in this Weller release, I know it's a special process. After all, Buffalo Trace's stated aim was to explore beyond wheated bourbon and see how the grain performs in ultra-aged conditions.

How much does Weller Millennium cost?

Per the press release, Weller Millennium is suggested for sale at a price of $7,500. Pricy indeed, though still shy of the cost of the 25-year Eagle Rare at $10,000. Both sell in standard 750-milliliter bottles, although it would be unfair to call either bottle standard given the presentation offered by their production. Weller Millennium resides in a handmade crystal decanter with a topper that has the Weller brand's signature W hand-etched.

If you're keeping track, that's a prorated cost of $10,000 per liter, or $295.74 per U.S. ounce (British ounces are slightly different). A double of Weller Millennium would run you $887.22 — if you found a very generous bar that didn't charge you any markup and will soon be out of business.

All of which is to say, this is not a casual drink to order just because it's payday. Weller Millennium is squarely in the realm of premium whiskeys, where you'll want to do your research and splurge tactically to ensure you get the most bang for your buck (or the most euphoria for your Euro).

Where can you find Weller Millennium?

Truth be told, you're unlikely to encounter too many of these bottles in the wild. Production is very limited, and a lot of it is going to end up in the hands of bars and restaurants with patrons willing to fork out the cost, or establishments that have a great relationship with Buffalo Trace or its distributors. Plus, some states allocate precious releases; if you live in one of those, Weller Millennium officially lands in June 2024.

Even so, retailers will likely be getting some Weller Millenium bottles since many businesses like to show off high-priced offerings in locked cases as much as aficionados do. If you must own one for yourself, you can either search a site like Caskers or judiciously call the liquor stores in your state that tend to get bottles like this. It's a decent bet that any retailer who carries a premium bottle such as this one will have a line on another store that has Weller Millennium even if it doesn't have any bottles itself. After all, when something is this few and far between, a small industry talks and tracks.

Weller Millennium tasting notes

To be honest, when I first sampled Weller Millennium in Kentucky last year, I couldn't find much breadth in it. While there was a depth of flavor, and an admirable ratio of actual quality compared to its potential (which I've yet to put a word to), Weller Millennium rang surprisingly one note. No matter how I sniffed, swirled, sipped, or swallowed the whiskey, it tasted of singed orange rind — and nothing else.

Now, I was hopeful there was more yet to be revealed from Weller Millennium despite that first encounter. After all, many different things can affect the tasting experience, so I was glad to get a second chance at this whiskey. While I'm happy to say I got more from it the second time around, it also confirmed my initial impressions.

The taste is rich and smooth, as you'd expect from such a product, but it remains a singular experience from front to back. In many ways, Weller Millennium rings a bell rather than playing an organ. It's enjoyable, but the lack of complexity is notable and somewhat odd for the brand and price tag.

How does Weller Millennium compare to the rest of the Weller bourbon lineup?

I have great affection for the Weller brand — I'd take an order of Weller 12 over a lot of bottles with four-figure price tags — and much experience with the distillery's bourbons outside of this new release. On that note, Weller Millennium's nose is heavenly and may be the best in the entire family outside of the Antique Collection's William Larue Weller. You'll be struck almost instantly with marshmallow, anise, root beer, and orange slice, and its resounding richness buys it some advantage in this regard.

Unfortunately, the scent is Weller Millennium's only advantage over the Weller bourbons surrounding it. I'd be willing to sniff this whiskey all day long, but its flavor is simply too one note for my liking. Weller Millennium may taste rich and impressively far from intensely oak-like given its age. Still, every other whiskey in the Weller lineup can beat it on complex weave even if they're using a more common fabric.

Is Weller Millennium worth $7,500?

In short? No: Weller Millennium is not worth the price tag. Now, it's perfectly understandable why this whiskey is so expensive given the amount of planning, time, and achievement that went into it. Blending a beautiful whiskey is a hard task – something I learned firsthand on my Buffalo Trace tour, when we gathered in an office to create our own Weller from various samples — and I truly wish I could make this recommendation for you. Unfortunately, I also know Buffalo Trace can do better than this bottle for such a hefty price.

As the only non-bourbon whiskey in the brand's lineup, it's unclear whether Weller Millennium will be as popular as the bourbons produced by the distillery. But seeing how W.L. Weller carries its own weight among casual (if well-heeled) collectors and high-end drinkers, it's doubtful you'll see the cost fall below $7,500 per bottle at any point in the future. With that in mind, feel free to save your money when it comes to Weller Millennium — you won't be missing a transcendental sensation of some sort if you opt for a more affordable option.