After reviewing Bulleit Rye, I chose to also explore the brand’s true classic Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. In this review, you will discover Bulleit Bourbon as I cover the following talking points:
Bulleit Bourbon, praised for its high-rye content and rather characterful flavour profile, goes back to an original recipe by Augustus Bulleit, who laid the foundation for today’s whiskey powerhouse over 150 years ago
The visual appearance offers a lovely golden brown color, showcasing a shiny and shimmering liquid without any haziness or cloudiness whatsoever. The viscosity is thick and oily, with slim legs running down the side of the glass in a rather slow fashion – offering a look and feel that reminds me of a pearl chain.
Bulleit Bourbon’s Nose
Notes: Butterscotch, cookie, red apple
The initial scent is prominent and quite full-on, right from the beginning. There’s a juicy, mellow and sweet opening note that intermingles vanilla and butterscotch, with hints of cookie dough, chocolate chips. Next, marzipan and a very ripe, red apple come to mind.
Underneath, there’s a bit of white chocolate, a lively mint freshness, and an almost ethereal nuance that lightens up and brightens up the entire experience. On the second nose, I detect a slight orange zest, which pays tribute to the overall melange of the sweeter tones and the fresher, spicier nuances.
Once you swirl the glass to give the liquid exposure to oxygen, it reveals an array the secondary aromas: a typical smokiness and white-oak woodiness. In my book, it’s less fresh wood but rather a charred oak character.
This adds an extra layer of maturity and complexity to the nasal expression, taking you from a sweet, mellow, beginning to a more umami-esque sensation that finishes off a promising bouquet.
Finish: Medium [bitter wood, mint sprig, butterscotch]
The high rye content is not only detectable in the nose, but it’s also prominent on the palette, right out of the get-go. Yes, there is a luscious sweetness and yes, you get typical charred oak aromas and flavors you would expect from a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
However, there is this distinct rye sourdough piquancy, accompanied by a prickly sensation that makes the overall flavor profile much more complex and nuanced.
As a matter of fact, the juiciness and caramel are counterbalanced by spicy pepper and gingerbread. The finish, even though medium at best, is prolonged by a bitter quality that oscillates somewhere between rye bread, wood sap and mint. Overall, it’s a lively, dynamic, sweet, sour, and bitter palate offering good balance and depth.
How To Drink Bulleit Bourbon
Keeping in mind, that the Bulleit Bourbon is not the most complex sipping whiskey, it’s perfectly suitable to drink with ginger ale, poured over ice, and mixed into an Old Fashioned or Manhattan cocktail.
Besides the best-known classics, another amazing cocktail you should try using Bulleit Bourbon is a Mint Julep, not just for Derby time, in fact. So again, this is definitely a mixing whiskey that you could enjoy in many different ways.
Best Pairings With Bulleit Bourbon
As a consequence of the whiskey’s nasal expression, I love to pair Bulleit Bourbon with chocolate chip cookies. Alternatively, any sweet or treat, which has a minty freshness could go beautifully well with Bulleit – whether it’s ice cream or a favorite dessert.
If you’d like to enjoy a cigar with this bourbon, I can wholeheartedly recommend the HVC Hot Cake. Reinier Lorenzo has created this masterpiece, which offers a lovely sweetness that’s also counterbalanced by some spiciness, liveliness, and a bitter finish. In that regard, it perfectly matches the characteristics of the Bulleit bourbon and its flavor profile.
Overall Experience & Value For Money
In terms of value for money, this is definitely an everyday treat, which makes it a trusty add-on to your regular spirits rotation and your back bar.
The packaging is not overly fancy, but I like the continued storyline of the Bulleit brand, always using the hipflask-like bottle with bold embossing and colorful labels. So one always experiences a very consistent CI/CD in the packaging, marketing and design.
On a side note, depending on the storage quality of your bottles, I’ve experienced that the corks can have a funky smell every now and then. As always, you should store your spirits standing upright so that the cork is not in direct contact with the liquid, resulting in off-notes.
Heavily relying on Diageo’s marketing and sales power, Bulleit Bourbon has grown from a rather new-kid-on-the-bourbon-block to a global main staple. It is a versatile everyday bourbon, perfect for cocktails and longdrinks.
Reinhard Pohorec is a sensory expert and experience designer with a unique reputation as an emerging talent in the world of sensory technology, luxury brands, premium cigars and beverages. Entrepreneur, creative mind and host, he specializes in staging exceptional experiences, educational programs, coaching and hospitality project management for leading companies on a global level.
With a focus on the multi-sensory, he creates memorable and inspirational experiences to educate like-minded epicurians. He’s a contributing author to international publications, a tasting panelist for various global platforms as well as the founder and host of Light 'Em Up.