$$ — 45% ABV — ~4 years
For a long time now, rye has played kid brother to bourbon whisky — which doesn't make a whole lot of sense since it came first. Rye is nearly always blended with corn to add extra flavor, and a little bit goes a long way. So what happens when you not just flip the numbers but throw out corn altogether and make your mashbill almost completely rye — 95% in fact?
Despite the name, Bulleit Distilling does not actually distill anything; not since reopening. Bulleit is one of the better known brands that buy and age a rye whisky made at Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana. It seems to perform as a wunderkind juice no matter who it's sold to but, since the majority of flavors are added during the aging process, it would be not just unfair but incorrect to downplay Bulleit's role in the process.
Rye is a strange grain and has many fruity and floral flavors that seem to have been coaxed out to their fullest by Bulleit: spearmint and violet are held together by a taffy-like sweetness. If bought by the liter, this would be a budget whisky — and unfortunately it's often treated as such. Despite a generous 45% ABV, it's a little too smooth for most cocktails. A soft and salty mustard spice at the end is all the kick this whisky has, which isn't a problem but it does highlight that price doesn't determine how a whisky should be enjoyed.
If you're putting on a party with a budget, don't assume you have to sacrifice flavor. Pick up one of the bigger bottles, maybe some burger meat and bacon. You can have a fleet of happy friends for not much more than a song.
Bulleit Distilling Company is located in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky in Midwestern USA. Established in 1830 by Augustus Bulleit and reopened in 1987 by Thomas Bulleit, it is owned by Diageo. Bulleit Rye is distilled in Indiana by MGP.