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Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey has just been very recently released by Diageo, which owns the Bulleit brand. Diageo itself distills neither bourbon nor rye whiskey. For a lively discussion of the mysteries surrounding the distillery source of this whiskey, and for that matter, Bulleit Bourbon, see Chuck Cowdery's blog: Diageo May be Dissing Me. The mashbill is 95% rye, 5 % malted barley. As Cowdery points out, the Bulleit 95 Rye appears to be distilled at the Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana distillery (LDI). This whiskey is reported to be aged between 4 and 7 years.
Nose: honey with rye spice, sweet orange
Taste: mellow, sweeter than most ryes, very smooth, very spicy but the spice sort of creeps up on you during the delivery. The delivery starts in a very understated way, almost disappointingly for about 4-5 seconds, then VROOOOOOMMMMM!, the spices kick in. This rye seems to be flavoured overwhelmingly with spice, without a signficant balance from wood flavours. The spices are strong, but to my palate, not as clear in character as the very best rye whiskies. There is vanilla and some caramel, but it is not of the intensity of the rye spice, when it finally arrives.
Finish: the flavour stays the same for a long time...spicy,spicy,spicy.
Balance: this is nice, and it has grown on me since my first tasting. Overall, my impressions thus far are that I actually prefer the Bulleit Bourbon over this Bulleit 95 Rye whiskey, because, oddly, it seems to me to have more flavour. You would not expect a 30% rye whiskey to have more flavour than a 95% rye whiskey, but there are many factors involved in the distillation and storage in addition to the grain content that also influence the final resulting flavour. In this case I like that you can really taste the oak flavours in the bourbon, but they are not very present as a desirable balance in this Bulleit 95 Rye Whiskey. In summary, this whiskey has an abundance of rye spiciness, but I do not find it to be well balanced. It is, however, very drinkable, and is a very enjoyable rye whiskey, despite a relative lack of balance among the flavours.