Of all the bourbons we’ve been drinking this past year – for the record, there’s a lot of them – Bulleit bottles might be drained the quickest. For a number of reasons: 1) it’s good; 2) it’s moderately priced; and 3) it’s accessible. For an everyday whiskey, that trio’s hard to beat.
Bulleit Bourbon traces its roots back to the 1830s, when founder Augustus Bulleit first produced the whiskey in Kentucky. After his untimely disappearance, production ceased, and the market was Bulleit-less until 1987, when great-great-grandson Tom Bulleit stepped in to revive the family legacy. For many years it was only distilled in tiny batches, mostly for family and friends, until it was officially relaunched in 1999. It remained a relatively difficult-to-find whiskey until joining the Diageo portfolio. Bulleit is now distributed in all 50 states and is a fixture in many bars. The company even launched Bulleit Rye in early 2011.
Bulleit Bourbon is distilled and aged for at least six years, and it’s famous for its high rye content. While most bourbons contain just 10 to 12 percent rye grains, Bulleit Bourbon is comprised of 28 percent rye, which accounts for its bold and spicy character. Before bottling, the final 90 proof product is formulated by mingling two or three distillates to ensure consistency in taste and aroma.
On the nose, Bulleit Bourbon is full of oaky char, vanilla and rye. Take a sip to find flavors of caramel, vanilla, honey and smoke. There’s a definite spicy bite, but coming from the rye grains, it’s complex and flavorful, rather than hot and alcoholic. It finishes smooth and mellow, with traces of honey and baking spices.
Bulleit Bourbon is a heavier, more complex bourbon than many of its similarly-priced competitors. It doesn’t have the sweet, easy-going nature of, say, Maker’s Mark, but that’s why we like it. It’s a bold, spicy bourbon that walks the line between wild and elegant. It’s a solid choice for sipping neat – though an ice cube doesn’t hurt – and its upfront character stands up in cocktails (even traditional rye drinks), where it won’t be overwhelmed by whatever else you’re throwing in there.
– 45% Alcohol by Volume
CE Rating: ★★★★