William Larue Weller was born into a distilling family in Kentucky in 1825, and launched his W.L. Weller brand in 1849. Originally a rectification business (creating 'whiskey' using neutral spirit, colouring and flavourings), this all changed with the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 and the death of Weller two years later. The company was left in the hands of the fiercely passionate Julian 'Pappy' Van Winkle I who, having steered it safely through the wreckage of National Prohibition, established Old Weller alongside the newly acquired Old Fitzgerald labels and the flagship brands for the new Stitzel-Weller distillery in 1933. It was produced there for over 60 years, eventually being sold to the Sazerac Company in 1999, who distil it at Buffalo Trace using Pappy's recipe to this day.
This line was introduced in 2000 as the W.L. Weller 19 year old, however it was removed again in 2003 due to the Sazerac partnership with Old Rip Van Winkle, which required primary access to the distillery ageing wheated bourbon. It returned as the younger William Larue Weller in 2005, and has been bottled annually since, as part of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, a selection of whiskies collated and in some cases created to pay homage to the history of the company and its brands.
A historic distillery, Buffalo Trace was built in 1812 Harrison Blanton. It was then purchased by the legendary Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr in 1870, who named it OFC (Old Fashioned Copper) and invested heavily in its modernisation. So much so in fact that he declared himself bankrupt after just seven years, and George T. Stagg stepped in to rescue it, becoming its owner in 1878. He ran the distillery until his retirement in the 1890s, and it was renamed in his honour in 1904. Having survived Prohibition, it was bought up by the Schenley company in 1933, who ran it as part of their extensive portfolio for the next fifty years, eventually selling it to Age International. The latter's new Japanese ownership in 1992 had no interest in it (only in its brands), and immediately sold it to the Sazerac company, who renamed it Buffalo Trace in 1999.
The 2022 release was distilled in the winter of 2010, and aged in Warehouses C and I. It was bottled after 12 years and 6 months of maturation.