G’day guys. Remember two posts ago when I said that the hot weather had returned? Well, the country’s weather has since changed it’s mind. I can’t deny the claim that during the day it is still hot, but for those of you in seperate countries, it is snowing for the first time in years if not ever in parts of Australia. Yes. Snowing. As in that frozen stuff that comes out of the sky that doesn’t dent your roof or cause car insurance headaches. Not here in the Wide Bay, obviously. But it is again cool enough here that we can get away with having a fire. And drink whiskey neat without a burning sensation setting your tastebuds ablaze. So, suffice it to say we can get away with another whiskey. And why not make it a bourbon?
For reasons that those of you who know me personally are aware of, and those of you reading these articles will understand in the coming weeks, I was in the market for another approachable wallet-friendly bourbon. Something well-known but not overly clichéd, like Maker’s Mark or Buffalo Trace. So what I did, was turn to another label that fit that description also. One, with an authentically American name. Bulleit Frontier Kentucky straight bourbon. What confuses a surprisingly large amount of people right off the bat, is the very name itself. Bourbon, of course, was the name taken from the lineage of French royalty, the House of Bourbon (yes, that is a French bloodline. But there’s a good idea for a name of a vlog). But the name “Bulleit” is not some old French derivative in pronunciation like people have mistaken it for. No, it isn’t pronounced “boo-lee-it”, or “boo-lay-it”. It does become clear why the label decided to spelt the name the way that they did, but why they didn’t tweak it like Jim Beam did with theirs is a mystery. Otherwise to this day, we’d still be calling them Böhm (less a name suited to a Kentucky bourbon, more a Deutsche weizenbier). Certainly it has lead to some easily avoidable consequences among it’s consumers. From what I could dig up, while there are existing theories based on the background of the founder, the correct pronunciation of the name is simply – like the thing your dad used on those nice young plump barrows for the Sunday roast. The label started, back in the year eighteen-thirty when the original founder, the barman Augustus Bulleit after experimenting with many combinations of mash bills of bourbons, first distilled a batch of the whiskey that was to become Bulleit whiskey. The founder Bulleit himself, is surrounded by mystery for more than just linguistic difficulties. Not much is known about the man himself, and after the year eighteen-sixty, as far as records are concerned he ceased to exist. The story goes, that in eighteen-sixty he loaded a boat full of barrels of bourbon with the intentions of sailing to New Orleans to sell them…and was never seen again. Search parties were dispatched, but eventually the advent of the American Civil War overtook everything and the search for Bulleit was abandoned indefinitely. Overlooked and forgotten in the chaos and bloodshed. The Bulleit label in this day and age when bulleits come in brass casings instead of tamped down powder and the owners of labels pay other people to ship their product in pallets of cardboard boxes inside of trucks and shipping containers, is run by the original founder’s great-grandson Tom Bulleit, under the ownership of the Diago company. The London-based alcoholic drinks company that also own Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Baileys, Guinness and Hennessy.
Bulleit bourbon, is known for being a rye-happy label. They have their rye whiskey yes, but what I’m talking about is their bourbon. Bulleit is known for being a high-rye bourbon. It’s common lore down in Kentucky that the state mandated laws of bourbon dictate it be made up of a mash bill of at least fifty-one percent corn. Bulleit Frontier bourbon, may well be made up of a generous sixty-eight percent corn, but it also boasts a rye content of twenty-eight percent. The blurb on the website reading – “Bulleit is one of the fastest-growing Small Batch Bourbons in America. The age, not a drop less than six years, provides a mature, complex flavour. Bulleit’s unique 175 year old recipe includes a large amount of rye grain, giving Bulleit its distinctive taste: full-bodied and spicy with a long, smooth finish.” So a historical bourbon with a keen following and taste to boast about. The bottle is wide and stocky, with a short stout neck. The words “Bulleit Frontier bourbon whiskey” debossed into the bottle. As a result of the branding that can’t be lost on paper, on Pinterest these bottles are repurposed and upcycled into any number of new things, lamps, candles, soap dispensers. A trademark so iconic, they were riled up enough to take another whiskey label to court for imitating their bottle. So let’s get to the tasting.
It’s not often I get the opportunity to drink bourbon neat, it’s seldom cold enough to. So instead of the usual tumbler glass, I will tonight be indulging a Glencairns glass. The stopper, a cork. I pop the cork free of it’s seal and inhale the nose absorbed into it. Laden with sweet, affectionate vanilla, carrot cake, charred oak and spice. A smoother, more soothing less burning smelling bourbon in the sinuses. Surprising of a high-rye bourbon, habitually the most brash and spicy of all the bourbons. On first contact, the tastebuds are welcomed by a smooth taste of prime charred American oak. Tastes of oak, vanilla, orange, and carrot cake wash over the palette, smoothly and purely. Even neat on a cold night, a spirit would have some spice, but with this, it is as smooth a Rolls Royce (or with the name it has, perhaps that should be as smooth as a ballistic point?). And any spice that does exist is no more an endurance than it is an indulgence. Tastes sweet and full of body, generous in flavor.
In summary: This as a bourbon goes underrated. A beauteous and allround pleasing bourbon. Smooth in character and full in all the hallmarks of a Kentucky bourbon. A definite cold night sipper. Cheers