I, like many whisky drinkers, most likely credit the start of their journey into whiskies to Jack Daniel’s, most likely in the form of JD & Coke. And for good reason, it’s a very well-made, easy to drink and affordable whisk(e)y that’s known and drunk the world over and there’s nothing wrong with it whatsoever. But if you do drink Jack Daniel’s and want to take the first footsteps into a wider world of whiskies, where do you go?
Introducing: Bulleit. Pronounced “Bullet” – not Boo-lay – it’s a Kentucky Bourbon which is produced at the Four Roses distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky (see the review for Four Roses Single Barrel here) and it’s made with a unusually high rye content for Bourbon at around 28%. For reference: Bourbon must, by law, be at least 51% Corn to be called a Bourbon, but most distilleries usually use between 60% and 80% Corn, and then make up the rest with Rye and Malted Barley. The high rye content is a nod towards the original recipe which was made in around 1830 by Augustus Bulleit, and was around 66% Rye and 33% Corn, which would’ve made it a Rye Whiskey, which Bulleit also produce.
Bulleit has all the classic elements of a bourbon that you’d expect, it has the golden, honey-like appearance which coats the glass when you swirl it around, and the nose is full of the sweet flavours like vanilla, honey, caramel, with hints of lavender followed by oak, spice, and a little nuttiness. Upon tasting, you get a spicy kick first, which is most likely the rye, which is then followed by a smooth and light taste of vanilla, honey and dried fruits and again the slight hint of roasted nuttiness, and a short finish of sweet spice and warming rye.
Bulleit is a very well rounded drink which isn’t going to set the world alight for experienced whisky drinkers, but it is a very good bourbon that is excellent for people who are looking to expand their whisky horizons and a real step up from Jack Daniel’s No. 7. It’s also extremely affordable and excellent for making cocktails like the Old Fashioned, Whisky Sour, or Manhattan. For that reason, I’d recommend anyone to keep a bottle of Bulleit on their shelf.
A good, affordable, entry-level bourbon that is a great way to get into whiskies.