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Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey

Review: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey 88/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted January 31, 2012

Bulleit Bourbon is produced at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The brand traces its heritage back to 1830 when tavern keeper Augustus Bulleit (after a few experimental trials) created the brand and began to market it locally and eventually to areas outside of Kentucky. As misfortune would have it, Augutus Bulleit disappeared while transporting some barrels of his bourbon to New Orleans, and the brand disappeared for over 100 years. In 1987, Tom Bulleit revived the brand which bears his great grandfather’s name. Today the brand is owned by the Diageo Conglomerate who market the product throughout North America and into Europe.

The sample bottle of Bulleit Bourbon which I received was bottled at 45% alcohol by volume and is the standard bottle sold in North America. It is my understanding that this bourbon is sold at 40 % abv. outside of North America. According to the Bulleit Bourbon website, the spirit is produced from a rye heavy mash with of course corn as well as malted barley. The bottles carry no age statement, rather the website simply says that the bourbon is aged until it is ready.

SAM_0549 BuilletIn the Bottle 4/5

The bourbon arrives in the clear oval-shaped bottle shown to the left. The clear glass is embossed with lettering which simply states Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey. Under the embossed lettering is an orange label with black print affixed to the bottle at a slight angle which I am sure is intended to give the impression that the Bourbon is hand labelled, and this in turn reinforces the notion that the bourbon is hand-crafted. The bottle is sealed with a cork stopper although my understanding in that in some markets a screw cap closure is used.

In the Glass 8.5/10

When I poured the whiskey into my glass it displayed itself as a richly coloured whiskey with a hue that reminded me of a shiny new copper penny. The whiskey imparts a light sheen on the sides of the glass when swirled and moderately thick legs form on the inside of the glass. The initial nose which featured honeycomb, rich new oak and a light toffee with accents of tobacco was quite pleasing.

As I let the glass breathe, the woody aroma of new oak remained strong, but it did not overpower the honeycomb and toffee scents which remained firm. The breezes above the glass also contain some nice rye accents, and some soft vanilla. There is a bit of rough and tumble in the air as well, but considering that the Bulleit Bourbon is bottled at 45 % alcohol by volume, I am impressed that the astringency does not really climb to a level that would concern me in any way.

In the Mouth 53/60

I really like the first sip of the bourbon. There is a bit of a spicy swat that tickles the tonsils, but there is also a nice maple and caramel sweetness which accompanies that spicy swat and makes you want to take another sip. I can taste oak planks which are seeping just a little fresh sap from the wood pores, some delightful rye spices, and a nice impression of maple and caramel. I also detect a nice smattering of cloves, cinnamon and vanilla. When I add an ice-cube to the glass, the sweetness of the whisky is diminished and some lightly bitter notes of oak tannin seem to take hold of the whiskey. (I decided rather quickly that adding ice was not an experience to be repeated.)

Like it was on the nose, the whisky has a bit of rough and tumble character in the glass. Again I am not put off by the sensation, as in fact, I rather enjoy the full flavoured character the whiskey displays in the mouth.

In the Throat 13.5/10

The sweet honeycomb and maple flavours of the Bulleit Bourbon really give the whiskey length in the finish. Rich baking spices build upon the palate as you sip, and your throat feels a nice spicy warmth well after the glass is consumed. Those flavours of maple, cinnamon and cloves seem to be the last to fade away.

The Afterburn 9/10

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey really surprised me as I sipped and sampled it. I like how the typical bourbon flavours of freshly cut oak planks with its sap seeping from the wood is held in check such that I can really appreciate those lovely caramel and maple flavours. Even though this is a 45 % alcohol by volume whiskey, the overall flavour is much more approachable than many other whiskeys bottled at a lower proof.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipe

SAM_0592 Old fashionedThe Old Fashioned Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
1 tsp simple syrup
1 dash bitters
2 large ice cubes
1 twist of lemon or orange peel

Add the first three ingredients to a rocks glass over the ice cubes
Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink. (This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Drop the peel into the cocktail if desired.

Please Enjoy Responsibly!


0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


4 Responses to “Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey”

  1. Doug Ford said

    I, too, enjoy the rye roughness and elevated proof of Bulleit’s bourbon—it seems to have become the de facto house bourbon here. Thanks for the review. (BTW: that “in the throat” rating looks like a typo?)

    • Thanks Doug

      It means a great deal to me that you enjoy my reviews and visit so frequently. And thank you for having my back on that typo. I think I have it fixed now.

  2. rawkabillyrebel said

    I tried this one it was ok nothing special especially for the price in Ontario.

    • I guess I liked it quite a bit better than you. As for price, it seems to be around 35 bucks a bottle here in Alberta, which compares very favourably if you compare it against other bourbons in the market.

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