Two facts for you:
1. I am not much of a Bourbon drinker. I’ve Tried a few Bourbons and American whiskies in my life, but I can’t say I was overwhelmed (One can claim I didn’t sample the best of Bourbons, that’s true, But I’ve tried a few before). They always seem to me less complex, sweeter.
2. Bourbon is not big in israel: We get a few of them at our local shops (which are always kind of expensive due to tax), The Israeli duty free does feature a few others, but in comparison to the USA, we have only a fraction of a fraction of the available range.
This explains why I seldom sip bourbon at the end of the day. I’ve been doing some sample swapping with my good friend Yossi (of the Jewish single malt blog), and got those beauties to sample.
The weather in Israel is pretty warm now (nothing like summer here which is looming nearby), and ideal for those sweeter Americans. Now let’s get started with my first reviewed Bourbon: The Bulleit.
Just a few words about the bulleit before we get on with the notes:
The Bulleit Bourbon boasts the highest Rye content found in bourbons today (about 30%), which is quite interesting. It is not a Rye whiskey (since rye whiskies can be named that way only if they contain 51% or more rye) , but a Bourbon. as it happens if a bourbon has more than 51% of corn , it’s eligible to be called “Bourbon”…
The Bulleit Bourbon was first distilled by Augustus Bulleit who came to the USA from France and settled down in New Orleans. In the 1820’s Augustus made his way to Louisville, Kentucky where he owned a tavern and started distilling a new kind of Bourbon for his clients. The Original Bulleit bourbon contained about 2/3 rye and 1/3 of Corn. Augustus Died in 1860 but passed on his ‘secret’ formula for the whisky making to his son, who didn’t continue his business. The Bulleit whisky heritage was revived by his grandson Tom Bulleit, who used this recipe and in 1987 when he founded the new Bulleit Bourbon. Currently the Bulleit mash contains some 28% rye (yeah! almost 30% rye!) , 68% corn and 4% of malted barley. Just as many distilleries nowadays, Bulleit Bourbon is owned by Diageo and is made in Lawrenceburg, KY.
(you can find a very detailed post by Jeff from the Scotch Hobbyist’s blog , explaining all about the history of bulleit over here)
Bulleit Bourbon, 45% ABV
Color: Mahogany red
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.
Summing it up:
This is a nice Bourbon. I did like the extra complexity and tastes that come from the usage of Rye in quite a heavy dose (27%, remember?). It’s not over spicy, and the sweet-spice-vanilla-wood combination is rather appealing. I’m not a huge bourbon fan now, but i do think this one is somehow nicer than some of the Bourbons i did sample recently.
Price wise : At $30 or £20 it’s fairly priced, but not very cheap. In some US shops you can get it for as low as 20$ which is a steal. At that price i’d surely get a bottle for those hot summer days. But since i do get most of my drams from UK merchants, the £20 + shipping is a not that cheap…
Bulleit (or Diageo to be more exact) have built a nice site for their product, but for some reason, the site lacks many facts about the bourbon, missing are also tasting notes. What you can find there are nice cocktails that can be made with the spirit, although i do prefer my Whiskies and Bourbons straight. I do find it a bit sad that they mainly think of their product as worthy of cocktails only, and do not include a section for those interested in the spirit as a stand alone dram.