Review of the Month: The Bulleit 10 review
Company: Kirin Brewing Company Four Roses Distillery
Age: 10 years
Classification: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Breakdown: 68% corn, 28% rye, 4% malted barley
Price: c. £45
The Gents first reviewed this bourbon over 18 months ago, and quite honestly we were not very impressed. Now a year and a half is a long time, so maybe we have come to reconsider the middle of the road score we gave Bulleit 10 the first time around? Maybe we have been sipping on this more we expected, maybe, just maybe, we were wrong to give it such an average score…?
We were right.
Mav still regrets buying it and wishes his £45 had gone on a bottle of Four Roses Single barrel instead. It’s not that this is a bad bourbon. Far from it. It’s just not as good as it should be for the age and the price. If you are going to wait 10 years for something then it should be better than this. Much better.
So while reading the below review you can rest easy knowing that, although we said these words 18 months ago, nothing has changed and we stand by them today.
Bulleit 10 was first introduced in 2013 and only launched in the UK as recently as August 2017. The mash bill is exactly the same as the regular whiskey but aged for longer, most folks guess the regular Bulleit is between 4-6 years of age so it's a significant amount of extra ageing.
Distilled, aged and bottled by the Bulleit Distilling Company according to the bottle. We think that should actually translate to - made by Four Roses. Look we all love a good back story (Mr Pie even writes the odd article or two about great Bourbon Stories) and Bulleit has a great historical beginning, with the original recipe deriving from a whiskey first made in the mid 1800’s, but let's be honest - Mr Pie actually owns underwear older than the first bottle of today’s Bulleit bourbon.
The brand though is investing heavily in the future and earmarked $100 million plus on building their own distillery in 2016. We guess that was the easy part, they now have to deliver the quality whiskey that the vociferous public demands. However, time passes quickly and before you blink there will soon be a whiskey which has been made at the Bulleit distillery.
So we’ve all sampled many a single shot, double serving, and bottle of the regular Bulleit Bourbon. Most of us have also tasted a cocktail or two where Bulleit has been used as the base whiskey. It is the staple shelf filler in UK supermarkets, public houses and trendy cocktail bars. So how does the Bulleit 10, only their second bourbon iteration, stand up for itself out there in the ever competitive and saturated bourbon marketplace? Regular readers may remember we were not too overawed with the standard offering from Bulleit.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass.
What we got – A light (almost watery) initial impression with floral notes, grass, orange and a surprising lack of oak notes considering the age.
What they say we should get - Toasty and oaky with creamy vanilla
What we got – You are immediately introduced to heaps of white pepper. Very spicy up front and moderately dry. The oak makes an appearance but not as obvious as you would imagine considering the 10 years it has sat in a barrel.
What they say we should get - Lots of dried fruits (especially apricot) and more vanilla, but this time in spicy pod form
What we got – A pretty lengthy one, the spicy taste lingers on the tongue for a considerable time
What they say we should get - Long and rich, with a whisper of smoke
Now there is no point pussyfooting about, we were overall very disappointed with this bourbon. A hugely uninspiring nose, a real struggle to find anything particularly interesting on the palate and, apart from the above average finish, we found very little difference in this whiskey to the bog standard Bulleit. Reviewers regularly shout out smoke on the finish but this was not found by the Gents.
Not very often does Mav express any regret in buying a bottle of bourbon but this unfortunately falls into that category. We try not to allow pricing to sway our opinion whatsoever in the scoring of our reviews, but really £45! That friend is a lot of money for not a whole lot of great bourbon. The bottle sampled was only recently opened and we did sample it in the middle of a multiple tasting review session so perhaps this slightly influenced our findings leaning towards the negative?
As with many of lower scoring reviews, we do intend to revisit in the months/years to come to see if our opinions have changed, but for now Bulleit 10 sits in the relegation zone of our League 2 table.
5 out of 10 - Mav
5 out of 10 – Mr. Pie