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Bulleit Bourbon

Average score from 15 reviews and 83 ratings 82

Bulleit Bourbon

Product details

  • Brand: Bulleit
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 40.0%

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@huineman
Bulleit Bourbon

On ice at Domo, Eurobuilding hotel, Madrid, back in May 2017, when I scribbled down this review that now comes to you all, thanks to the magic of internet.

I've seen this one stated at 40% ABV around here, but I swear my bottle read 45% (good for me!)

Depending on your waiter at Domo things can be smooth or rough (whiskey-wise), and in this case it was the latter: highball, a truckload of ice cubes... So you take your pic, they take the bottle away, then ask for a lowball and remove all your cubes but one. This venue is usually a high standard for all things whiskey, but a freshman can spoil it. Okay, I'm rambling.

Back to the review: here we have a clear amber pour with a veeeeery sweet nose: the likes of honey, lemon drop, banana jello, peach... Along come a hint of shisha tobacco and jalapeño pepper, to balance things a little.

Taste is dry, pungent and powerful, clearly drifting away from what the nose forecasted initially (it lies more along the secondary lines of tobacco and pepper), with a very boozy sip and a tobacco-ladden, medium-lasting finish.

@OdysseusUnbound

Bulleit's marketing blah blah starts like many other companies' spiel:

Inspired by his (Tom Bulleit's) great-great-grandfather Augustus Bulleit, who made a high-rye whiskey between 1830-1860

Yadda yadda yadda. How convenient that Four Roses seemed to have found ol' Gus' secret recipe and was willing to sell some barrels to Bulleit/Seagram's/Diageo to bottle under the Bulleit brand name. The rumour on the internet (and the internet never lies) is that Augustus Bulleit's recipe would actually be considered a rye whiskey today, since it was comprised of about 2/3 rye grain.

I've had Bulleit many times but I've never really properly assessed it. A friend left a bottle here after our New Year's Eve party, and while I've used it mostly for cocktails (Whiskey Sour and Old Fashioned) I've done 3 focused tastings to see what's going on.

Tasting Notes

Two tastings were neat from a Glencairn and one was from a Libbey Bourbon Glass

  • Nose: cinnamon, peaches, floral vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg
  • Palate: light bodied (I'd even use the 's' word here), sour cherry candies, barrel char, buttered corn on the cob
  • Finish: medium length, rye spice (cinnamon and nutmeg), oak char, a touch of summer flowers

I was surprised that there were no significant differences in my notes from the Glencairn and from the Libbey glass. The aromas were slightly stronger from a Glencairn, but it wasn't a wildly different experience.

Bulleit is a good bourbon. This one isn't great, but there's nothing off or out of place either. It's really good in a cocktail, if that's your thing, and it won't break the bank either. I don't think I'll purchase a replacement bottle since Wild Turkey 101 is about the same price and that one is more my style.

I like the cut of your jib.

Haha! Great stuff.

@OdysseusUnbound, thank you for your review.

Because Bulleit Bourbon was known to have been sourced from Four Roses for a number of years, almost everyone seems to assume that it still is. Back in about 2015 there were rumours that Four Roses was no longer the source for Bulleit bourbon. Is that true? There is no certain explanation or confirmation one way or another. I can say that I liked the Bulleit Bourbon I had in the period 2010-2013 better than I liked the Bulleit Bourbon I've had more recently. The recent stuff I would rate about as you have rated it in your review. The earlier period stuff I would rate 3 or 4 points higher. Is the current Bulleit Bourbon from Four Roses? I do not know.

But, wait a minute (a three or four year minute), and your Bulleit Bourbon will come from their actual new Bulleit distillery in Kentucky. It should taste quite a bit different then, different from both the 2011 Bulleit and the 2019 Bulleit.

This ephemeral nature of the sources and tastes of whisky brands is one of the reasons why I haven't had much interest in doing reviews for the last 3 years. Reviewing whisk(e)y is a lot like reviewing each breeze that passes you by on a windy day.

@markjedi1

Bulleit is part of the portfolio of Diageo and is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with a big dose of rye, about 28% of the mash bill. It matured for about 6 years and is distilled at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg. It was originally launched in 1830 by Augustus Bulleit, but the brand disappeared with his death in 1860. Only in 1987 Bulleit was re-invented by his great-great-grandson Tom Bulleit, albeit with a new mash bill as you can imagine.

Fragrant nose on caramel and spices with hints of rye, vanilla, banana and apple juice. Something that reminds me of campfire smoke. I quite like it.

It is immediately very sweet on the palate. Vanilla, caramel and honey set the tone. Then the spices join the fray. Coriander and cinnamon, black pepper and something floral. Next to banana, I also get some cherries and oranges. A bit zesty. It is a lot softer than expected, though. But a nice balance between the spices on the one hand and the soft fruit on the other.

The finish is rather short and spicy.

Actually quite a nice sippin' bourbon, without trying to impress. Fine. Around 20 EUR which is dirt cheap.

@Rantavahti

Bulleit Bourbon is definitely a "bang for the buck" dram from Kentucky. Even though a bourbon, in my opinion, the high (approx. 30%) rye content shows in the taste. Classy old fashioned bottle really completes the good dramming experience.

Bulleit Bourbon shoots straight like Billy the Kid. Being better than the movie. Gets straight to the target, like the real William Bonney.

Nose: Sweet corn freshly, with hints of oranges and spices.

Taste: Smoothly ryeish, with cinnamon and oranges and dry spices.

Finish: Medium length, robust and warming. Spicy, with aniseed coming with great delay in the aftertaste.

Balance: No complexity, yet a nice bourbon.

Usual Diageo trash spirit for dupes. It's a choice like bourbon for the cocktails but nothing more. I myself have a bottle of bulleit rye... only one time I can make the mistake of buy it.

I hate the multinational corporation like Diageo, Suntory etc.

@tjb

Continuing with my theme of Bourbons this was one that was supposedly a real bargain. Bourbons can be very expensive in the UK and this one is at an entry level price point along with Buffalo Trace at £20.

This is fairly pale for a bourbon which makes it look young in the glass. Oily and a golden straw colour.

The nose gives me aniseed, corn, spices and sweet. Lots of vanilla and a little citrus.

Palate is smooth, lots of vanilla, honey, a little liquorice, corn. It's a bit thin and the finish is fairly short. Nice but not as good as the Buffalo Trace. Very easy drinking but it doesn't set the world alight.

@GBrough

This was my entry into the world of bourbon and it was like being thrown into the deep end of a pool after only having jameson and jack.

Nose: The nose of the bourbon is spicy, with some caramel, vanilla, and a fruitiness that could be from the rye. Palate: Without water it was very spicy, with just hints of vanilla, caramel and oak in the backround. With water it was very nice still rough on my unaccustomed palate but enjoyable, the vanilla, and caramel really came to the fore to me. Finish: Spicy,with vanilla, caramel and it was a tad fruity, might be spiced apple and thats why i love it.

I loved this one too! Oh and if u like this, you can blindly buy Elijah Craig 12, Four Roses Single Barrel(50%) or Buffalo Trace. I´m yet to dive in the world of rye as well. Enjoy your bourbon quest!

Perhaps members/fanciers would enjoy a video our Food & Spirits Editor filmed with a local bartender in which Bulleit played a primary role. DISCLOSURE: We have no relationship with Bulleit or the establishment in this video, though we have been known to patronize both: news24-680.com/lamorinda-community/events/…

@SquidgyAsh

My wife and I'd picked up a few different bottles of bourbon so that she could cook up some spicy pork ribs that can only be called sexy.

We'd picked up Buffalo Trace, Bulleit bourbon and Wild Turkey.

Three different whiskies that I'd never tried before, but ones that I'd had interest in for a while.

I'd enjoyed the Buffalo Trace quite a bit, but was really looking forward to trying Bulleit bourbon as I'd heard good things about it and was a slightly different style of bourbon than I was used to.

So I pour the Bulleit into a glencairn and decide to give it a nose to see what I can see!

Or maybe so I can smell what I can smell!

Rye, Oak, hints of tea, vanilla, caramel, hints of citrus develop in the glass after a few minutes.

I'm enjoying this nose!

But now it's time for a taste!

Bulleit is quite sweet, however it doesn't ever get too sickly sweet. Lots of flavors that are sweet with honey, rye, spices, vanilla and caramel

The finish is spicy and full of rye with hints of cherries.

Not a bad bourbon and one that I think is a steal at $40 AUS. I've definitely had worse bourbons that were more expensive.

If you're looking for a nice easy going entry level bourbon this might just be the one for you!

@BM79 I've never seen any other Bulleit bourbons/whiskies over here, but if I ever do I'll be sure to pick it up! I was quite impressed with this whisky. Definitively not a bad price considering what you're getting.

That is a steal given your prices since I sell Bulleit at $25.99 (plus 8.75% tax). Can you get the Bulleit straight rye there(green label)? It's worth a try.

@Matthieu

Drunk neat.

Nose: Sweet and slightly spicy nose, with vanilla, caramel, undefined spices and some faint flowers. It is rather light, but it announces the taste of this bourbon well.

Taste: The bulleit has a oily mouthfeel and starts rather sweet, again with caramel. Left in the mouth, the bourbon will then attack the tongue with spices coming from the rye: they are rather hard to define, but I would say pepper and chili.

Finish: The spices are still active and prickle the throat as it goes down, while hiding the alcohol's heat.

Balance: The buelleit feels rough and unrefined. It has a good rye kick, but the spices are hard to define and numb the tongue and throat quite rapidly. I feel it's too aggressive to make a good sipping bourbon.

@talexander

I quite like this bourbon - it doesn't blow me away (I'm not a huge bourbon fan) but makes a good sipper while BBQ'ing (which I'm doing as I write). Deep amber, good legs, very solid. Nose of cake-y vanilla surrounded by honey and oak. Tastes sweet with citrus, a little nutmeg followed by a medium smoky finish. Not as complex as I might like but a good everyday bourbon.

@GT2

Neat. The pour is a deep, reddish amber with thick, slow tears.

Nose is baked cherry pie, cherries jubilee, sweet maraschino cherry.

Taste brings mild burn in the back, subdued warming alcohol, with tart wood, resinous cherry wood, and subdued oak tannins. Freshly baked cherry pie and hot cherries jubilee are forefront. Much more dessert like than Maker's Mark and easier to put down.

Palate has medium viscosity, sweet, and mild heat. Easy to enjoy but pretty unilateral.

@jdcook

When I noticed the Glenmorangie Signet was on sale, I needed another whisky to take the purchase over $200 Australian, because at that point I get free shipping! So I looked around the website and noticed this. I've heard relatively good things about this, and thought at the price ($50 Australian which os really cheap for a top shelf product) it was worth the risk!

Okay, some blurb, this is a Kentucky bourbon with a high rye content (I've heard around 30%), which should make it drier and a little more complex and spicy than most bourbons. The distillery has a Grain Division in order to ensure the grain they receive is of the required standard. Apparently they only use limestone filtered water, and they only distill in small batches which are stored in a single storey warehouse (which is said to help with consistency between batches) for no less than 6 years.

So, that all sounds interesting enough, on with the tasting!

The nose is gentle, even teasing, with floral notes, honey, dried herbs, cinnamon and spicy with barest hints if cologne, aniseed and old leather. Over time I get a citrus feel as well. This is really quite pleasant!

The taste is initially light, full of sweet corn and honey, and then the spices come in! Cinnamon, cracked pepper and mild chili powder leaves the lips tingling while being balanced by brown sugar, nuts and oak. Relatively simple, yet both intriguing and refreshing.

The finish is moderately long and dry. Full of savoury sweet notes like leather, honey, corn and oak and initially hot but soon fading spices. Easy yet fulfilling.

This won't set your life on fire, but it is a proper top shelf bourbon, and brilliant value for money. And the bottle design is pretty cute too! Just be aware that it is a small batch distiller, so regardless of how many storeys their warehouse is, there will be significant variation between batches...

Fun review, as always, @jdcook! I am, however, going to have to be "that guy" again and point out a few bits regarding some marketing trickery on the part of Bulleit...

Bulleit has no distillery of its own. Rather, the name is owned by Diageo, and the whiskey is sourced from Four Roses (and possibly elsewhere). If the distillery has a "Grain Division," it is not under Bulleit's purview. Moreover, "small batch" has no legal definition, and so the term can be abused; I am suspicious of the idea that Bulleit is a small batch bourbon in the way that is generally meant—a blend or co-mingling of the best barrels rather than, say, a blend or co-mingling of every barrel (good or bad) set aside to make Bulleit.

They use limestone water because that's the water available in Kentucky, and its what all Kentucky distilleries use. Apparently, limestone water does have good properties for bourbon-making, such as low amounts of iron and high amounts of calcium; nonetheless, it's hardly unique to Bulleit. Finally, I know nothing about this single-story warehouse business, but sourcing all your whiskey from the same floor, irrespective of whether it was aged in a one-story building or a six-story one, should have the same effect on consistency. In any case, it's not at all clear that the whiskey would age better on the first floor of a one-story rickhouse than on a higher floor of a larger rickhouse. I guess it's the marketer's job to make a lot out of very little.

Aaaaaaand rant over!

High rye, baby! Unlike my friend @AboutChoice, I never met a high rye mashbill bourbon I didn't like. (though I don't much care for the light body of Old Grand Dad 43%)This Bulleit is pretty simple, like any classic rye bourbon: there are rye flavours and there are wood flavours, including the sugars. I've said it before and I will say it again here: bourbon is basically just blended rye whiskey (5% of the time blended wheat whiskey). The blending here is just done in the mashbill, before the fact of distillation, rather than as different distilled batches. If you put corn with either rye or wheat, you will almost never be able to taste any corn at all. Corn is just a base medium, almost an inert ingredient. But that is fine, since rye and wood have quite a few different flavours between the two.

@bourbonboy

Bulleit Bourbon was one of the first bourbons I tried when I moved to the bourbon state. The bottles design is what primarily caught my attention as I strolled the whiskey isle.

It's a bottle that I'd drink from around a fire. Bulleit is a very smooth drinking bourbon. It can be drunk straight, over ice or neat as well as mixed into your favorite cocktail. I find Bulleit to have a good strength and body.

When I have friends who want to try bourbon I always point them towards Bulleit to start. It's a great bourbon at a great price. It's my all around bourbon of choice right now.

I really enjoy making an Old Fashion with Bulleit Bourbon according to a recipe I found on a bottle of Scrappy's Gomme Syrup. Makes a very smooth but not too sweet drink -- will be great when warmer weather comes around.

@galg

Nose: sweet stuff. vanilla. Oaky notes, some cinnamon as well. spice (can't put my finger on which exactly but it's definitely there) - mostly attributed to the usage of rye , i would say. The rye is there , it's not shouting but it can not be overlooked. some Fennel aromas are also detectable.

Palate: Sweet woody candy combined with spice best describes it. Spicy tingles on the tongue, and a rather drying feeling on the aftertaste.

Finish: Drying and woody. Medium length. Nice.

I like your reviews a lot, galg!

@Mike

With a rye content of 30% by volume, Bulleit Bourbon has the highest such proportion of rye among any bourbon. This makes it sharper than competitors. A slightly honey-sweet nose and lasting, oaky finish make it an all-around unique bourbon. It does not taste the 90 proof it actually is, and certainly is worth trying. If nothing else you will get a fairly unique bottle.

@jeanluc

I'm a a big fan of Bourbon and Bulleit is one of the more accessible options for those who want try something slightly more challenging than the average supermarket bottles without straying too far from the road - or should I say dirt track.

Its ballsy. With a good bite to it. And a nice lingering oak finish.

Well worth the money.

Admittedly, I'm not a Bourbon fan but I loved this one. The story behind the whiskey involving the mysterious disappearance of it's founder is movie of the week fodder. While touring the distilleries in Kentucky last year I tried to find out where the heck this stuff is made. Everyone I asked had a different answer. I was told the Buffalo Trace made it but then I also heard it was made at the Jim Beam distillery. But when I asked there, none acknowleged it. Mysteries abound for Bulleit but the liquor itself is simple and delicious. Oh, and yeah, nice bottle design.

Nice to find someone who enjoys a variety of spirits, as I do. Yes, I will always keep a bottle of Bulliet ... great for something different ... dry, refined, classy, reserved, bold, respectable ... nothing else really like it.

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