Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a free sample to review by the party behind it. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, did keep full independent editorial control over this article.
It seems new development is a trend of Bulleit in 2016 – by the end of this year, Bulleit owner Diageo plans to complete their distillery and six warehouses in Shelby County, bringing their distillation under one roof.
Here’s the story of the inception of Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength from the company:
Over the last year, Bulleit Founder, Tom Bulleit, traveled the globe sharing sips of a new, unreleased style of Bulleit Bourbon with some of the world’s top bartenders. As a whiskey built by the support of the bartending community, Tom wanted to know what they would think about an addition based on higher proof instead of new flavors or finishes. The feedback was overwhelming and reinforced the decision to officially launch Bulleit Barrel Strength Frontier Whiskey in his home state of Kentucky.
We might take this with a grain of salt, given Diageo’s penchant for changing their marketing stories mid-stream. What we do know is that this is Bulleit’s first new product since 2013 when they launched their Bulleit Bourbon 10-Year, and that Bulleit Bourbon Barrel Strength has the same high-rye mash bill as their regular bourbon – roughly 2/3 corn and 1/3 rye.
As it’s pulled straight from the barrel, uncut and non-chill filtered, the proof is a bit of Russian roulette, clocking in typically from 118-125. Sizes will be 750 ml and 375 ml, with prices hitting around $50 and $30, respectively.
Color: Bulleit Bourbon’s quintessential medium-amber hue remains, surprisingly clear for being non-chill filtered.
Nose: That sweet oak comes through immediately as toasted marshmallow and burnt sugar, followed but a refreshing bit of tree nuts (peanuts), cilantro, and fresh grass.
Palate: Initial jammy fruit on the tongue like plum and cherries, mid-palate bite of black pepper, anise, fennel, and ends with bright acidity.
Another reviewer talks about the regular Bulleit Bourbon as a gateway bourbon – your first boyfriend who still has a place in your heart. If that’s the case, this is sort of like your first time boyfriend returning after a year abroad, suddenly more complex and developed, very smooth – you’d have to try this next evolution of him… or rather, it.