As I have written about before, Bulleit was originally a non-distiller producer who bottled bourbon distilled at Ancient Age, before the brand was ultimately bought by Seagrams who also owned Four Roses and was then ultimately sold to Diageo after a great deal of drama. Like Four Roses, regular Bulleit is made up of ten different bourbons – two different mashbills and five proprietary yeasts. While Bulleit and Diageo claim these distillates are no longer made at Four Roses and that their mashbills and yeasts are different, I think the main point is that Bulleit was developed by Seagrams in a way that is very similar to Four Roses and they both used to be made at Four Roses. A rose by any other name, as they say. But, beyond the technicalities I have found over my years of drinking bourbon that as to Bulleit and Four Roses, certain of their distillates either stand on their own very well or if you blend some combination of them less than the standard ten some amazing bourbon can result. Which is why I am always ready to try things new, different and single barrel or small batch from Four Roses and Bulleit. So, I am excited to try what I picked up today from Hokus Pokus, ordering on an app and them bringing it to my car this afternoon, just because I wanted to try the app out.
Bulleit recently began offering a single barrel, which I reviewed. Almost as if out of the Four Roses play book, Bulleit Blenders Select is made from three of the ten mashbills used, much like Four Roses Small Batch Select, which uses six of the ten mashbills. Good on them as well for proofing it up to 100 proof, which to me really enhances the taste as the bourbon is less watered down coming from the barrel.
The color on this is a deep amber, reflecting its age of six to eight years old. I am betting this is on the older side. On the swirl, a thin film with skinny legs but lots of droplets. This should have a decent mouthfeel. On the nose, vanilla and dark fruits are very present, some herbal tea; otherwise a traditional bourbon nose. On the palate, candied cherries, more candied cherries, and then candied cherries, vanilla, faint rye in the background, some floral notes. Really nice mouthfeel and really a pleasure to give the old Kentucky chew. On the finish, the cherries fade and the rye spice and cinnamon assert themselves. The finish is quite long for not being a cask strength whiskey and this is very smooth bourbon.
This reminds me a great deal of Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel as far as the cherries in the flavor profile and its richness, despite being lower proof. It also reminds me of a Knob Creek store pick Hokus did – the Ginger. I am liking this one a lot!
It notes that this is batch 1 of the Blender’s Select series, and that is exciting. Yes, we need more of this from Diageo. Far from being rough and tumble Frontier Whiskey, this flavor profile is elegant and brilliant. Definitely a bourbon that would be appreciated by connoisseurs, but also something folks just getting into bourbon would like. Unlike the Single Barrel I reviewed, this one is definitely an after dinner sipper, with wonderful flavors and a rich mouthfeel to accompany a desert or a cigar. At $45 this bourbon is a great value, and if availability holds this could be one of my go to after dinner bourbons.