Friday Tastings: Bulleit 95 Rye

Bulleit Bourbon arrived in 1999 with a badass flask bottle (which would soon be featured in Swearengen’s bar on Deadwood); a good bourbon legend (complete with a whiskey-making pioneer and a lost family recipe) that—like most good bourbon legends—was probably about half true; and a quality, high-rye product. The brand gained a following in a hurry. This week, said following is polishing its jiggers for a pour of the just-released Bulleit rye. To be classified as such, a whiskey needs at least 51% rye grain in the mash (much like bourbon with regard to corn). At 95% rye, this new jam is near Jewish deli levels (a statistic Bulleit must be proud of, since they put it in the name). It has a very assertive nose, sort of like a wood varnish sandwich on rye bread, but is surprisingly gentle to swig, with brightly spiced flavors that finish dry and clean, in signature rye style. We wouldn’t waste time sipping for similarities between the two Bulleits (their bourbon is produced at the Four Roses distillery, while the rye comes out of Indiana), but we would drop $27.99 to bring home a bottle of this distinctive whiskey. (And when asking for it, we’d say, “Bullet,” because we are American, and so is founder Tom Bulleit.)

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