Whiskey Name: Bulleit Bourbon
Whiskey Type: Straight bourbon
Release Date: General
Price: Pretty much always findable under £25. Often under £20
Mashbill: 68% corn, 28% rye, 4% malted barley.
Introduction/Background: Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Which isn’t the fact that Bulleit is sourced whiskey – no real issues there. It isn’t even that in the post-Four Roses era we can’t really be sure who distilled the juice in the glass.
It’s this. I’m not in possession of the facts, and proof hasn’t been concluded either way, so, for the time being, innocent until proven guilty. However, if this is proven to be true, then it’s disgraceful, and I shan’t be drinking Bulleit whiskey again.
This review is of a bottle I bought in July, before we started this month-long series, and before those accusations came fully to light. I bought it because it is a whiskey I know very well indeed, and because, when tasting a few whiskeys at a time, it is useful to have a palate-setter. Something that you know inside out, which tells you all is well with your nose and palate, whilst preparing your mouth for the onslaught of high strength spirits.
This has done that job for me throughout our month-long series, and so I thought it an appropriate pour to throw in close to the end.
So, with that in mind, my thoughts on the Bulleit Bourbon.
Nose: About as rye-focussed as bourbon gets. Loads of herbal, pine-y rye. There’s depth too; oak furniture (and a touch of polish) creeps in, and buttered toffee popcorn reminds you that this is bourbon after all. Has that sharp, super-clean edge that so often characterises high-rye bourbon between 5 and 10.
Mouth: As dry as the nose would lead you to expect. Spicy, piney, woody. Quite sharp and peppery initially, after which the sweeter elements come out to play; a medium-deep caramel, and sweet corn oils. They never overcome the oak or the near-nutmeg quality of the rye though. Deep enough to show that this has a few years under its belt; vibrant enough to show that it isn’t double figures. Light-medium in body, but massive on flavour.
Finish: Those rye aspects linger for longer than you’d expect, turning gradually to pure pepper.
Value for Money: Excellent.
Summary: Whatever may or may not be happening within the company behind it, this is exceptional whiskey for the price. It’s really only Buffalo Trace and Four Roses Small Batch that live with Bulleit for under £25. (Yes, I know you can get ER10 and FR Single Barrel at £25, but only occasionally, and only when on a very, very good offer.)
I’ll be continuing to follow the news, and as a fan of the liquid in the bottle, can only hope there is no truth to the accusations levelled at the brand.
Overall Verdict: The whiskey, for the money, is very good indeed.
Words by WhiskyPilgrim