Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey is one of my go-to spirits, so when they introduced a limited 10-year-old edition, I had to try it. This week’s Whiskey Friday dram is the appropriately named Bulleit Bourbon 10.
I was lucky enough to have the sketchiest bottle of whiskey on Earth sent to me as a sample. Normally I’m a sucker for clever packaging, I’m lookin’ at you Angel’s Envy, so Bulleit didn’t get any of that initial positive feeling when I tried the bourbon. They did already have my patronage for their flagship spirit though. The question would be, was that a benefit or a detriment.
One thing was immediately clear at first whiff. This bourbon is about to put Viagra out of business. There’s more than enough wood in the bottle to keep the whole world hard. There’s a reason bourbon doesn’t age as long as scotch. The temperature and humidity swings in Kentucky force the spirit in and out of the staves at a more rapid pace than they do in Scotland. This means that bourbon actually mature much more quickly. Lazy Scots. The problem is that spending too long in the barrel can make a spirit too woody. Bulleit 10 toys with that threshold, but doesn’t cross it. This makes it an incredibly interesting spirit for me.
The oak doesn’t overpower the spirit because the rest of the flavors are magnified as well, much like a reduction. I’m talking caramel stuck between your teeth and some spice up your nostrils. One thing that slipped into the background though is the rye. Bulleit is known for their high rye content, but it doesn’t stand out as much in this iteration. Overall it’s rich, a little sweeter and more smooth than the original, and has a smokey finish lasts for days. Seriously*, I can still taste it from last night.
A bottle of the Bulleit 10, which is 91.2 proof, is $45 compared to only $25 for Bulleit Bourbon. If that price difference is negligible for you, I’d make the jump. If you are a huge fan of the original, it’s worth trying at least once. If you’re running paycheck to paycheck though, regardless of what that number is, there’s no shame in sticking with the old standard. Just because there’s a newer model doesn’t mean yours is outdated.
Check out the previous Whiskey Friday selections.
*Not seriously; that’s ridiculous.