Review: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Virgin Charred Oak
Producer Bulleit (Louisville, Kentucky)

Bulleit is a bourbon producer, not a distillery. For a long time production was out of Four Roses as originally the two brands were both owned by Seagrams, but now Diageo is building a new distillery in Kentucky which will produce Bulleit products, among other things. It is a popular brand and demand certainly could necessitate a full distillery for production. The bourbon also has a fairly high percentage of rye, and is widely renowned for its performance in cocktails.

Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: Oak, which is fairly earthy, dried apricot, vanilla, tobacco, candied orange peel, lemon, and some nice rich corn. Also some notes that are a bit like cola candies. There’s also a bit of bitterness/staleness which I don’t much like. Banana cream pie, and a hint of light floral and honey notes. The oak is quite nicely integrated with the spice, and the richness of the corn is just brilliant as I find with other Four Roses products…but that light astringency does detract.

Taste: Very nice on the palate. A nice balance of oak, stewed apricot, caramel, a touch of mint, and a decent bit of spice – with very nice feel too. The oak retains its earthy character from the nose – which I quite like. It’s reasonably sweet, too. There is some clove and cinnamon which pick up at the end nicely too along with the mint. It’s light, but it has a nice rye spice note to it.

Finish: Stewed apricot, light star anise, banana ,and oak – which grows. There’s a bit of licorice root and cinnamon too. The sweetness seems a little off in my tasting of this – it’s good body, flavour, but the balance isn’t quite there in the finish – but it’s pretty good.

A solid bourbon – especially on the palate. It doesn’t blow your mind away, but usually is met with a “this is good stuff” thought at some point during your tasting. A good one to just drink to enjoy, without needing to put a lot of thought into it, but also challenging enough if you are wanting to ponder the drink as you enjoy it. It says “frontier” whisky, which makes me think of a big, bold whisky – but this is not, it’s much more soft and light, but with a little bit of a bite.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $40.