Bulleit Frontier Whiskey was founded in 1987 and is quickly gaining popularity across the United States. You might already know this because of their marketing approach. By befriending bartenders, Bulleit sales quickly rose to one of the top selling brands in America. It’s widely available in both bars and liquor stored. Bulleit whiskey prices are in the low $30 range making it a mid grade spirit. We’ll talk comparisons a little later on. Here’s everything you need to know about Bulleit Whiskey.
Bulleit is produced in two distilleries, one in Lebanon, Kentucky and the other in Shelbyville, Kentucky. The beverage conglomerate Diego owns Bulleit. The bourbon contains a much higher rye content at 28% which gives it its unique flavor. Originally the recipe called for even more rye, but 28% is still considered extremely high for bourbons. The family recipe dates back to 1830 when the first batch was made by Augustus Bulleit. No one knows what ever became of Augustus, but his great grandson, Tom Bulleit is responsible for the branding used today.
At only 30 years old, Bulleit celebrated by opening a new state-of-the-art distillery in Shelbyville, Kentucky in 2017. The distillery focuses on sustainable practices and even received an award for Sustainable Distillery of the Year in 2020. Like many other distilleries in the area, some of their practices include local sourcing, habitat protection and water conservation.
As we mentioned before, Bulleit was made for bartenders so it didn’t surprise us when we heard the rye was created by demand of those bartenders. California is Bulleit’s biggest market. Possibly because of its appearance on Deadwood which was shot in California? Anyway, as the story goes, since Bulleit was the preferred bourbon of choice for bartenders, naturally they were at a loss when customers would ask for their drinks to be made with rye. When Tom caught wind of this, he got to work creating the rye. Of course he didn’t do it alone. The spirit, released in 2011 is the product of both Tom and his daughter Hollis. Unfortunately after 10 years, Hollis left the company.
The brand has been marketed as Bulleit Frontier Whiskey and Bulleit whiskey prices are reasonable for the quality of the product.
Bulleit bourbon is 68% corn, 28% rye and 4% malted barley and is bottled at 90 proof. They also make a barrel strength which is a blend of 5 to 8 year old bourbons. The proof varies by batch anywhere from 118-125 proof. The 10 year bourbon is the only age dated whiskey and is bottled at 91.2 proof. It won a Double Gold Metal at the World Spirits Competition in 2013 and has the same bill as their original. Their rye is a whopping 95% rye and 5% malted barley and is also 90 proof.
Since Bulleit was created for bartenders, it makes sense they would bottle their own cocktails for those of us who aren’t quite the home bartender. Currently there are two flavors available, their Bourbon Old Fashioned and their Rye Manhattan.
Bulleit Bourbon has a high rye content that is responsible for its fiery character. It’s not all spice though, there are smooth maple and oak notes followed by a long toffee finish. This is a great bourbon for cocktails!
Bulleit Rye is rich and oakey with notes of vanilla and honey. The finish is peppery with lots of clove and baking spices. Enjoy this rye in cocktails!
Their 10 Year Old Bourbon ages in charred American white oak barrels. This gives the whiskey its depth and flavor. On the nose you’ll find a touch of citrus with caramel and vanilla. On the palate there’s dried cherry, a touch of smoke, butterscotch and cinnamon. Enjoy this beauty all on its own or over a large cube.
The Barrel Strength has won many awards and rightfully so. This high proof bourbon follows the same mash bill as its younger counterpart. The only difference is this one is bottled at cask strength which can be up to 62% ABV. It is also non-chill filtered so you are tasting Bulleit in it’s most pure form. It’s a medium-amber in color and has aromas of maple, chocolate and caramel. The palate is smooth with lots of vanilla and pepper. The finish lingers with creamy caramel and more pepper.
Bulleit Whiskey Prices
Bourbon 750ml $31 90proof
Rye 750 $26
10 year $39
Barrel Strength $72
If you’re looking for a bourbon on a budget that tastes similar to Bulleit, Very Old Barton is a good choice. Priced at about $15 a bottle, this is also a high rye bourbon so it packs a nice peppery punch along with some tobacco and vanilla notes.
As far as similar quality brands that are in the same price range, Four Roses small batch is aged between six and seven years also in charred American oak barrels. Redemption High Rye Bourbon has 36% rye in its mash bill making it a big, bold, beautiful bourbon with candied pecan, woody and peppery notes. One sip of George Remus Straight Bourbon will be enough to tell the obvious high rye mash bill. It has notes of caramel and dried fruit along side the quintessential warming rye spice.
If you’re looking for comparable flavor alone, a 750ml bottle of Rabbit hole bourbon will set you back about $70.
Of course this article wouldn’t be complete without listing a few of our favorite cocktails to make with Bulleit. So, grab a bottle of your favorite and let’s get mixing! That is of course unless you grabbed a bottle of one of their already bottled cocktails! Then just pour over some ice and enjoy!