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Bulleit Bourbon

Easy, yet fulfilling

0 1084

@jdcookReview by @jdcook

28th Feb 2011

0

  • Nose
    22
  • Taste
    21
  • Finish
    20
  • Balance
    21
  • Overall
    84

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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...

Related Bulleit reviews

10 comments

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Very good choice @jdcook ! Bulleit Bourbon is one of my favorites, and there is really nothing else like it (in my opinion). I agree that it is easy and fulfulling, and I would add that there is nothing at all offensive. There are not too many good rye-ish bourbons to be found. And BTW, my bottle is at 45% abv.

9 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@AboutChoice - Yeah, I did notice that about my bottle being 40%, and that it had a screw top, not a cork (which is always slightly disappointing. I can only assume that the batch that ended up in the bottle I have was deemed to be too strong at 45% and watered down further, or that this is what they do when they package to Australia... :( But still a very good drop!

9 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

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.

9 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Good edifying comments about rye @Victor. And just in case this didn't come out right ... regarding my previous statement above, "..not too many good rye-ish bourbons to be found..", I actually meant that there are unfortunately not many high-rye-mashbill boubons available. I think you reviously listed them somewhere in a post on Connosr?

Since the Austrailian bottling seems to be at 40%, it would be fun to compare Bulliet against the high-rye Basil Hayden, also 40%.

9 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@AboutChoice, it would be an interesting comparison that you suggest. Basil Hayden's manages to keep a lot of flavour despite being diluted to 40%. It would be interesting to see how well the Bulleit holds up at 40%. Of course, I would drink it at barrel proof if I could, like I would prefer to drink (almost) everything else.

9 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

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!

9 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@dbk - awesome! It's good to hear from someone who obviously knows a bit more about it than I do! And more than enough to cut through the marketing bollocks! I think Bulleit calls it small batch because they source from numbers of barrels per bottling much lower than other Diageo distillers. Either way, per bottling run you will see more variability in taste than with very large batch bottlings. And yes, the blurb is always entertaining, but seeing someone else rip to shreds is even better!

9 years ago 0

@dbk
dbk commented

On the plus side, @jdcook, the screw cap—unless it is really cheap and thin—is almost certainly better for your whiskey than a cork, despite appearances!

9 years ago 0

@AboutChoice
AboutChoice commented

Since I've experienced several broken corks over the last year, I've started saving corks from my empty bottles ... but all different sizes :)

9 years ago 0

@jdcook
jdcook commented

@dbk - This might be true, but screw caps are so much less visceral, and smelling them is far less satisfying... ;)

@AboutChoice - A friend of mine does that as well. I just keep a couple of fake ones around in case. The only time I've ever needed it was when the Glenfarclas 25 year old bottle I bought turned out to have a shredded cork. Replaced it with a fake cork, and have had no problems ever since!

9 years ago 0

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