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Bulleit 95 Rye

My first rye whiskey

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@FiberfarReview by @Fiberfar

11th Feb 2015


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I first opened this bottle of 95 Rye in August last year, but was advised to give it some time to let it air, by @Victor. I wrote the notes two months later, in October, and found it to have improved a lot in a short time.

Nose: Honey, spices and apples. I instantly get sweet notes of overripe fruits, but with a bit of air, these develop into sweet oranges. The intensity of the nose is really enjoyable for me.

Taste: Spices, with an increased intensity over time. Oak barrels and caramel. There is also the faintest hint of mint. The 95 Rye is both sour and sweet at the same time, and with a noticeable rye character. I've noted that I at a couple of occasions got salt, but that might as well just have been my palate that day.

Finish: A long aftertaste of spices, green apples and mint/spearmint. Some vanilla.

I never sat a mark on Bulleit 95 Rye the first time I opened it, but I'll make sure to revisit and review it in August this year, after a whole year.

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Victor commented

@Fiberfar, thanks for a good review. I think that if you continue to have the bottle around that you will indeed continue to notice changes over the next 6 to 18 months with this bottle. Probably you will get some more dark fruits, and a stronger, more pungently fruity nose. I found that Bulleit Rye just got better and better with time and air. It is common for US ryes to get richer and fruitier with air exposure.

The distillery, LDI/MGPI (Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana, now Midwest Grain Products Ingredients) often gives some mint flavour in the mix. That is almost certainly the result of the yeast used. Four Roses bourbons often also have some spearmint noticeable.

When you get used to the 'house style' of MGPI Rye, you should easily be able to identify that distillery when you encounter it in its other sourced brands: George Dickel Rye, Templeton Rye, James E. Pepper Rye, Redemption Rye, Smooth Ambler Rye, Filibuster Rye, and some of the younger Willett Family Estate Ryes. It is a distillery with a very big output, but it doesn't sell anything under its own name.

8 years ago 0

Fiberfar commented

@Victor: Thank your for your insightful reply. I still have over half my bottle left, so I'm pretty sure I'll manage to make it last at least another six months.

I found the mint enjoyable enough when it didn't dominate the picture, although I have no problem seeing how too much mint could make it unbalanced.

The number of rye whiskies available here is still rather low. I don't think any of those you listed are sold here yet. The current American 'stock' seems to be Bulleit 95 Rye, Jim Beam Rye, Rittenhouse 100 proof, Hudson Manhattan Rye, High West Double Rye and Rendezvous Rye, along with Danish Stauning Young Rye and Dutch Millstone 100 Rye.

8 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Fiberfar, Jim Murray is a big fan of rounded and fruity flavours from rye whisk(e)y, as evidenced in his adoring statements about LDI/MGPI ryes, such as Bulleit, and also of the rye of Alberta Distillers Limited, which is quite similar in its rounded quality to MGPI. MGPI used to be the Canadian giant Seagram's Distillery, so it is not too surprising that there are some similarities in its styles and industrial practices to some other Canadian distillers. MGPI ryes range from otherworldly good to underdeveloped. For example, some of the 3 to 5 year old Willett Family Estate Ryes are from LDI/MGPI distillate and are divine. Those are examples of the fully blossomed butterfly MGPI ryes. There are also chrysalis MGPI ryes, which I consider Redemption, and a newly opened Bulleit to be. At its best, MGPI rye is indeed fantastic, but for me it gets there maybe 10-30% of the time. That rounded style only works strongly for me when it is in full bloom and full glory. I usually prefer a pointed flavour US rye to a 'chrysalis' rounded style rye.

Yes, remember that you don't want to buy any American whiskey at less than 45% because those are the cocktail blending whiskies after the best barrels have been skimmed off for the premium products...the American equivalent of 'bottom shelf blended Scotch'.

Personally, I love spearmint but not in whiskey, so I am with you in finding it to be 'too much', most of the time.

The High West Rendezvous and Double Rye still use half their vattings from MGPI. Rendezvous is likely the favourite for most among those available to you for quality, and I expect that you will like it. Rendezvous is more pointed than Bulleit. Even so, it will be good for you to also taste another more pointed style US Rye, like Knob Creek Rye or Rittenhouse Rye. The Rittenhouse Rye 50% would likely be a good place for you to go soon.

8 years ago 0

Fiberfar commented

Very enlightening comment, Victor, thanks. I have my eyes set on the Rittenhouse for my next rye, I consider the two High Wests to be a bit too expensive for my second (but perhaps not for the third) rye whiskey.

8 years ago 0

Frost commented

@Fiberfar great review, I have seen this one around and am always curious to pick it up. I will in the future.

@Victor that's some outstanding information you've placed there, thank you.

8 years ago 0

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