This month’s B&B #BourbonOfTheMonth is a few days late, but such are the consequences of the end of a semester—sue me. Besides, I had a strange problem this month: too many good bourbons from which to choose. What follows is what I deem the best of a handful of good pickups from my local booze shop. One or two of the others will likely follow.
Bulleit Bourbon 10 Year Old
Thoughts: I’ve had standard Bulleit before and wasn’t that impressed, although I can’t remember why. Luckily, the experience didn’t sour me on giving its big brother a shot, and I’m glad I did.
As its label suggests, this is the standard Bulleit recipe, but (after being hand-selected) aged for another few years to make it an even 10. This is done in American white-oak barrels, which comes out in the extra oaky flavor.
But more importantly, this is probably the rye-est bourbon I’ve recommended so far. By law, a bourbon must be at least 51% corn, but most are much more. Bulleit is 68% corn and 28% rye—that’s very heavy on the rye for a bourbon. I’ll get into that a little more below in Some History, but if rye’s your thing, consider the Bulleit Rye label, which weighs in at a hefty 95% rye mash bill.
Also, let me just say here that “Bulleit” is just a badass family name.
Some History: According to the Bulleit Bourbon website and various other Google-able searches, the “spirit” of Bulleit whiskey first manifested in the 1830s when Augustus Bulleit distilled a rye whiskey “with the character he had long sought after.”
At least one blog calls bullshit on that story, claiming that Augustus was just a run-of-the-mill miller (ha!) who lived in (gasp!) Indiana, and who probably made whiskey from his grain earnings and sold it on the side for extra cash. The stories do converge, however, when, around 1860, Augustus supposedly loaded up a flat-bottomed boat with goods to sell in New Orleans and then disappeared.
Diligent genealogists have located Augustus’s wife’s grave, but the remains of Augustus himself remains mysteriously absent. No one knows what happened to him.
Over a century later, Tom Bulleit, Jr., Augustus’s great-great-grandson, got a wild hair up his ass and decided to revive his family heritage. Instead of the rye whiskey, however, he went for a bourbon (albeit one that, as noted above, is a little heavy-handed with the rye). Of course, Bulleit also now offers a rye label, in addition to this newer 10-year offering.
Parting Words: I found a great listicle piece over at Thrillest about Bulleit that talks about many of the things I mention above, but my favorite “weird fact” is their final one about the reviewed bourbon. Notwithstanding its pre-Civil War heritage, because the modern Bulleit brand is relatively young, the 10-year label was only first released in 2013.
But even more interesting (shocking? depressing?) is the “weird fact” that Thrillest decided to point out: season 3 of Lost was on the air when batches from this year were first made.
Sorry for the lateness of this entry, but with the school semester winding down, I anticipate being on time with the final Bourbon of the Month for December. Also, be on the lookout for a post that reviews a handful of bourbon-based cocktails before the New Year. Happy holidays!
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