Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey Review:

My "Go-To Bourbon":

"I was brought up to believe that Scotch whisky 
would need a tax preference to survive in competition 
with Kentucky bourbon." - Hugo Black

Pronounced bullet, as in the thing you shoot out of a gun, Bulleit Bourbon, as I stated in my last post, is my “go-to bourbon.” Bulleit, just by looking at the product, is heavily branded. From the unique packaging to the legend which upholds the brand, a lot of thought and ingenuity has obviously gone into building the name. 

The legend of Bulleit, it is said, begins with Augustus Bulleit of Louisville, Kentucky. In the 1830s Augustus was on a mission to create bourbon which was unique, unlike anything produced at the time. Succeeding, after countless small-batch trial and errors, Augustus was able to build his business until the 1860s when tragedy struck. While transporting this unique whiskey from Kentucky to New Orleans, Mr. Bulleit vanished without a trace. And it wasn’t until the late 1980s that his legacy would be revived with the help of Tom Bulleit, great-great-grandson of Augustus, and its distributor, Diageo, the largest producer of alcoholic beverages in the world. Labeled as Frontier Whiskey, Bulleit supposedly utilizes the 150 year old recipe which Augustus himself created. But anyone with a little bit of knowledge about distilling practices back in the days of the Wild West will tell you that unlike to modern day whiskey production, bourbon, like most whiskeys, was much less refined, consistent, and, if aged at all, was very young. If anything distinguishes it from its modern post-prohibition brothers and sisters it is the high rye mash bill of 30% which does harken back to the day when rye, over bourbon, was king. If Bulleit is anything like its predecessor, it is much more like a distant cousin second removed, rather than a next of kin. All of which we can be glad about.

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey Review:

Price: $22.99 for a 750ml bottle

Packaging/Label: Fantastic. Marketing whiskey is always a fickle thing and marketing an American Bourbon, no less comes with a great amount of difficulty. In attempting to create the allure of the old west, while keeping the bottle assessable for consumers who want a drinkable bourbon without feeling the urge to wear chaps and spurs, Bulleit has created a bottle which looks great due to its simplicity. Unlike the mess of a bottle which is Basil Hayden (great bourbon though), the raised lettering against the simple label slapped across the bottle does the job perfectly.

Alcohol Content: 45% alcohol by volume, 90 proof

Color: Orange and rusty straw.

Nose: Sweet corn and maple syrup with dark forest honey. The aroma of apples and watermelon with light caramel and chocolate. Metallic and mineral notes, but not tasting smoky or charcoal filtered. Light and fresh mint, cinnamon and red cola. Reminds me of Petersons Irish Oak. After tasting, the Carmel becomes more distinct.

Taste: A spicy, earthy rye settles over the elastic and silky corn strain. There is sweetness which comes through in the watermelon. Grainy and spicy in the heart. The progression of honey taste dry and earthy, but again this is not ashy or charcoal filtered. Sea salt. Botanicals: lavender and violet.

On Adding Water: The spice is toned down. Apricots and cream fruit notes develop and focus while the sweetness transforms into a bitterer maple syrup. Dry earthy and slight smoke. At the end there is a strong floral presence left in the long lingering palette.

Conclusion: This is a great “go-to bourbon” because it has enough kick and forward tannins to be used in a great cocktail (see last post), while it is still intricate and composite enough to drink neat. Highly recommended.

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