Bulleit

Review: Bulleit Barrel Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Thanks to Bulleit for the picture.

Thanks to Bulleit for the picture.

ABV
59.5%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
~68% Corn, 28% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
Producer Bulleit (Louisville, Kentucky)

Bulleit entered the barrel proof market this year, with this being offered at the respectable 59.5%, though varying generally from 120-125 proof. They decided to do this to add to their line, rather than to explore finishes. I’d take a barrel proof over a finished bourbon, so that’s fine by me! This is still their stuff, with the high rye mashbill and lots of fruit...uncut and non-chill filtered (just like we like it!).


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

The nose has oak and lots of cherry, stewed apricot, and some solid hazlenut and walnut. The oak is nice – central but not overpowering. Lots of nuts actually – I am getting some pistachio, sesame, and toasted sunflower. The palate is big, full of more sunflower, oak, dried banana, stewed apricot and cherry. It is very much what you would expect from a cask strength bulleit bourbon – all that same flavour, but bigger and increasingly moreish. The finish has compact spices, dried fruit, and more cherry. I’d buy this...

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $100.


Review: Bulleit 10 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Photo credit: Bulleit Frontier Whiskey. Used with permission.

Photo credit: Bulleit Frontier Whiskey. Used with permission.

ABV
45.6%
Aging
Charred Virgin Oak; 10 yrs
Recipe
~68% corn, 28% rye, 4% malted barley
Distiller N/A

Bulleit products have done very well – indeed, Diageo has been building a new distillery for their sole production, rather than sourced product which has been used. They have targeted the cocktail market both with their frontier bourbon and their rye, and this, at the top of their portfolio is older and a bit more refined. I should note that the above mashbill is floating around all over the internet, but not directly from Bulleit - what is sure, though, is that it is a high rye (about 1/3) bourbon.

Thanks to Taylor Strategy for the reviewed sample.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

I get lots of nut oil – in fact, it’s reminding me some of the rich style of Jim Beam products – with cedar, cherry, dried apricot, stewed stone fruit, dried corn, and some nice rye dancing around in the background. The palate has oak at the center, and is restrained (in a nice sort of way) with moderate creaminess. The fruit comes through too, along with pineapple, rich corn and terrific spice, finishing in a slightly drying fashion with terrific spice and earth, corn, smoking wood, cherry and apricot.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High (based on $50).


Review: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
45%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
N/A
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.


Review: Bulleit 95 Straight Rye Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Bulleit Rye.jpg
ABV
45%
Aging
Virgin Charred Oak
Recipe
95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Distiller MGP (Lawrenceburg, Indiana)

This whisky, along with so many others (Templeton Rye, George Dickel Rye, Redemption Rye, Smooth Ambler, High West Rye, along with others) is not produced at the distillery of the brand name (if indeed, the brand even has a distillery) but rather at Midwest Grain Products (MGP) in Indiana where the whiskies are mashed, distilled, and aged. Their classic rye mash bill uses a recipe of 95% rye, which is very high for American straight ryes – for example, Wild Turkey Rye and Rittenhouse Rye are only 51% rye. MGP was originally owned by Seagram’s, a Canadian company, at a time when they also owned Four Roses and the yeast used is the same as the “V” yeast of four roses (as used in their Single Barrel bottling, among others). High rye whiskies are more common in Canada, but they are (unfortunately) not often seen as their own bottlings because they are usually used to flavour blends, as spices flavour food. The whisky doesn’t have an age statement, but is likely relatively young (perhaps 4-6 years).


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: Oak, and the grain comes through beautifully with a bit of mint as well with a bit of a menthol feel to it. This is a solid, big nose with a nice balance between the oak and the herbal rye. Apricot jam, pine needles, a corn-type butteryness (though there’s no corn here!), vanilla, root beer also come through, and some earthiness that is almost moldy (though it sounds so – this is not bad).

Taste: Lots of rye here, with a good menthol and herbal kick as well. The mouthfeel is fantastic. Oak, dark, a good bit of vanilla, and a bit earthy. Very solid.

Finish: Dry, slightly spicy – long, and bold. A bit tingly too. It carries on the same theme – oak, spice – like clove and caraway – and herbal rye. A bit tannic too, and this is not balanced by quite enough oak flavour.

This is very nice – it feels very firm and solid the whole way through, with a nice mix of flavours. A classic straight rye really, but it lacks some of the complexity and elegance that I wish for. However, it’s consistent all the way through and is a beauty to sip and mix. I like it a good bit more than their bourbon.

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

Value: High, at $39.