The Bulleit Bourbon review
Company: Kirin Brewing Company Four Roses Distillery
Age: NAS (but everyone knows its 6+ years)
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: 68% corn, 28% rye, 4% malted barley
Price: c. £22
Bulleit Bourbon, or as the bottle promotes, Frontier Whiskey is one of the most famous bourbons in the world. In the 7 years between 2007 and 2014, sales increased by a staggering 1700%. The story of Bulleit is a well told tale but, for the sake of completeness and length of our article, it is repeated below.
Between 1830 – 1860 Augustus Bulleit made rye whiskey, that’s right it wasn’t even bourbon at all originally even though it was promoted as such. In 1987 his great, great, grandson Thomas E Bulleit Jnr revived the brand & the legend, but more importantly changed the recipe. The rye content was reduced to 28%; with 68% corn and 4% malted barley making up the final ingredients.
In the early days the revived whiskey was sourced from a number of distilleries until a deal was struck in the late 1990’s for it to be distilled at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. With demand at such a high it became inevitable that Bulleit would have to open their own distillery. In 2016 and $115 million dollars later, in Shelby County, Kentucky their dreams were realised.
Additions to the range of Bulleit whiskey were their Barrel Strength, a Rye Whiskey (no doubt a nod to their ancestry) and in 2013 an age stated 10 year old bourbon was introduced.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass. Also added water for a change!
What we got – Surprisingly sweet, fresh, floral and heavy citrus notes. Orange peel (Mr Pie) with mint leaves (Mav). Woody background
With water – Opens the nose up with even more oak
What they say we should get - Fairly pungent and peppy with notes of marmalade and toasty oak. Here is a hint of smoke with a beautiful, creamy banana milkshake
What we got – A weak introduction to be honest with spice, white pepper but also with caramel and dry wood. Almost too dry for Mr Pie
With water – Slightly creamier and touch more caramel
What they say we should get - Quite full with notes of zesty orange, a hint of dried peel, a note of winter spice, a cigar box character and a touch of perfume
What we got – Disappointing non-descript short finish which disappears quickly
What they say we should get - Medium-length with plenty of spice
For a bourbon which is great for mixing and is a favourite with mixologists worldwide it may not be too surprising to find that that our views are somewhat mixed. Now for the Bourbon Gents feedback sandwich.
Bulleit bourbon is a solid, almost perfect bourbon for an entry level offering. It is not too strong, not too offensive, not too sweet or spicy. There is very little burn, which can put some 'newbies' to whiskey completely off before they’ve even finished their first glass.
The finish disappears disappointingly quickly. For the more discerning whiskey aficionado it would not be one to visit all night long as it just wouldn’t keep you engaged.
Bulleit bourbon quite rightly holds its place well in the cramped marketplace with a superb price point and we would recommend it to all as an everyday introductory bourbon.
6 out of 10 - Mav
5 out of 10 – Mr. Pie