Bulleit is showing its age.
The Bourbon that debuted in 1987 and added a straight rye whiskey in 2011 has recently brought out a 10-year-old Bourbon. Bulleit 10 is the company's first age-statement liquor.
Founder Tom Bulleit is calling the Bourbon a "limited offering," made from a small number of barrels set aside to see how they would develop. The plan, he said, is to make it available as long as the supply lasts.
The whiskey shares the same mashbill as the original Bulleit and differs only slightly in proof (91.2 as opposed to 90). Bulleit has said that the non-age-statement Bourbon is a mixture of whiskey from five to eight years old.
Bulleit's high-rye-content mashbill (68 percent corn, 28 percent rye and 4 percent barley) is said by Bulleit to be inspired by whiskey made by his great-great-grandfather Augustus Bulleit. However, the current incarnation is contracted from Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, after having been made for a number of years at what is now called Buffalo Trace Distillery. After distillation it is then shipped to be aged elsewhere in Kentucky rickhouses owned by Diageo, owner of the Bulleit brand. (The Bulleit straight rye is made at another location in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where Diageo also makes its new George Dickel Rye.)
The new Bourbon proves to be a another strong—if expensive—offering from Bulleit.
(Cigar pairings on next page)
Bulleit 10 (91.2 proof, or 45.6 percent alcohol by volume, $44.99 for a 750 ml bottle)
APPEARANCE: Medium-dark amber, with red tint. Pays out excruciatingly slow, small teardrop legs.
NOSE: Hides its identity for a moment. Enters with very candied fruity aromas-orange and pears-goes a bit floral and then breaks out the vanilla and maple note that say Bourbon.
PALATE: In the mouth, it follows much the same pattern as the nose, showing off its sweet side up front with orange, cherry and intense honey notes. After drying a tad, it elicits spice before signing with some woody, toasty, nutty notes. A fascinating ride.
FINISH: The tour shuts off a bit abruptly at the end and then starts back up with a bit of lemon drop and that wily nuttiness again. While still not a long finish, it's an interesting coda to the journey.
CIGAR PAIRING: Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Box-Pressed Torpedo (6 1/4 inches by 52 ring gauge, $10.10, 88 points, June 2013 Cigar Aficionado) This softly pressed torpedo wears a streaky wrapper and smokes evenly. It's peppery with traces of sweetness and a toasty nutmeg finish.Very unexpected outcome. The cigars nuanced cedar and pepper suggested a piling on effect or even a clash with the spice of the Bulleit, but what actually occurred was a transformation in which the honey came out full frontal with an exploration into the mellower side of both. The RP became deeper and more robust. The whiskey got heartier with less tang. Very successful pairing that revealed a new side to each participant.
Curivari Buenaventura (6 inches by 60 ring gauge, $5.90, 89 points, June 2013 Cigar Aficionado) Attractively pressed, this large cigar draws evenly, showing a creamy, woody smoke with touches of spice and toasty finish. A one-sided pairing . The whiskey works charms on the cigar making it bigger and rounder, but the cigar tends to make the Bulleit sticky and over sweet with some off notes.
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