Bourbon Breakdown: Bulleit Bourbon

September 16, 2021

If you’ve visited any bar in the past 20 years, you’ve no doubt seen the iconic Bulleit Bourbon bottle sitting on the back bar shelves. But perhaps you didn’t know that the bourbon is based on a recipe from the 19th century or that the Bulleit brand is named for a real person. Apparently, in the 1830s, a tavern owner named Augustus Bulleit wanted to create a unique bourbon flavor. His take on it was to have it have lots of rye in the recipe. Unfortunately, according to the brand, Augustus vanished while transporting barrels from Kentucky to New Orleans. What happened to him remains a mystery.

Fast-forward to the late 20th century. In 1987 a Kentucky lawyer decided to give up his law practice and try his hand in the whiskey industry. That man was Tom Bulleit, the great-great grandson of Augustus. He revived the family bourbon recipe last used in the 1860s and the Bulleit Distilling Co. was born. Today drinks giant Diageo owns the Bulleit Bourbon brand and those medicinal-inspired bottles are sold all over the world.

Of course we’d be remiss not to mention the Bulleit Rye. It was first released in 2011 and it has quite the cult following. It’s a high-rye rye whiskey made with a rye mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley (whiskey geeks can guess where this is distilled). At any rate, it’s one of the most popular rye whiskeys made.

But alas, this is a Bourbon Breakdown so you won’t see the rye below. However you will find a brief description of the core Bulleit Bourbon bottles along with some expert tasting notes and our Distiller Community Ratings.

Bulleit Bourbon

Known as a high-rye bourbon, this Kentucky straight bourbon is made with 68% corn, 28% rye and 4% malted barley.

What to Know:

It doesn’t have an age statement, but is aged in a non-temperature controlled warehouse between 6-8 years in new, charred American oak barrels with a #4 char. It’s bottled at 90 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Vanilla, spicy rye, burnt sugar, tobacco and cinnamon.

Avg Us Price: $29
ABV: 45%
Community Rating: 3.48 out of 5 stars (7,500 Ratings)

Bulleit Bourbon /Photo Credit: Bulleit

Bulleit 10 Year Bourbon

Launched in 2013, this is the brand’s first age statement whiskey.

What to Know:

After 10 years of aging, it’s bottled at 91.2 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Cinnamon, maple sugar, tea, baked apples and holiday stuffing with a decadently long finish.

Avg Us Price: $48
ABV: 45.6%
Community Rating: 3.68 out of 5 stars (2,207 Ratings)

Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year /Photo Credit: Bulleit

Bulleit Barrel Strength Bourbon

Released in 2016, this barrel strength bourbon is made from the same recipe as the flagship bottling.

What to Know:

Each batch will vary in proof and flavor, but expect the proof to be around 120 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Toasted marshmallow, oak, dark stone fruit, and herbs and spices like fennel, anise and lots of pepper.

Avg Us Price: $61
ABV: 58-64%
Community Rating: 3.76 out of 5 stars (722 Ratings)

Bulleit Barrel Strength Bourbon /Photo Credit: Bulleit

Bulleit Blenders’ Select Bourbon

This bottling was released in 2020 to coincide with the announcement of Diageo’s Craftswomen program. The program celebrates the company’s women who make some of the world’s most beloved spirits.

What to Know:

Bulleit’s Blender Eboni Major crafted this limited edition bourbon. She used just 3 out of the 10 bourbon distillates used to create its flagship bourbon. It’s aged for at least 9 years and is bottled at 100 proof.

What Our Experts Think It Tastes Like:

Rich and chewy showing menthol, cinnamon, leather and cola.

Avg Us Price: $61
ABV: 50%
Community Rating: 3.87 out of 5 stars (165 Ratings)

Bulleit Blenders’ Select Bourbon /Photo Credit: Bulleit

Ready to do your own Bulleit Bourbon comparisons?

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