Tasting Notes: Bulleit Single Barrel Store Picks Selected by Funk and Drell and A Quick Guide on Bulleit’s Single Barrel Bourbon

As I hinted in my review of Hokus’ Dickel pick, Hudson and I also picked two barrels of Bulleit Single Barrel at same time as the Dickel. We tasted three different barrels, and ended up buying two because they were both so good, albeit for different reasons. As I have noted previously, Bulleit has a high and a low rye mashbill and five different yeasts, similar to Four Roses which used to make Bulleit. These two barrels are low rye, one with a slight leather yeast and one with a strawberry flavored yeast. While they are both bottled at a healthy 104 proof and are approximately the same age, these two barrels could not have been more different as far as flavor profile. Hokus is charging $56 per bottle.

Just as Four Roses lists the mashbill and yeast on their Single Barrel Barrel Select bourbons, Builleit does the same thing on the barrel number, on the second two numbers/letters in the number. Here is how you can decipher what bourbon is in a Bulleit Single Barrel based on the barrel number. E is the low rye mashbill and B is the high rye. They differ from the Four Roses mashbills by decreasing the barley by 1% and increasing the rye by 1%, which really shouldn’t make a big difference. However, the yeast strains are different, and the numbers after the letter align to yeast strain. 1 is leather, banana, fruity, 2 is fruity, creamy, 3 is strawberry, 4 is slight leather, and 5 is jackfruit. When Hudson and I were picking these barrels, the distributor rep had a chart that explained the different mashbills and yeast strains. Initially, I had honestly thought there was no real difference between Bulleit and Four Roses. However, after doing two barrel picks myself, the Bulleit yeasts are very different from Four Roses.

Barrel No. 2-E4-1128 – low rye, slight leather – very good traditional bourbon flavor profile, with cherry cola notes, slight caramel, vanilla, with nice baking spice of the finish. Medium to slightly full bodied mouthfeel with a lingering finish. I brought a bottle to a Mardi Gras ball pre-party on Friday night and its was an absolute hit among the serious bourbon drinkers at the party. This is a truly rock solid bourbon.

Barrel No. 2-E3-1247 – low rye, strawberry yeast – When Bulleit says this particular yeast adds strawberry notes to their bourbon, they are not kidding. While the nose is pretty traditional bourbon, when you sip it, this is all Strawberry Cream candy with some underlying dark chocolate notes. On the lingering finish the flavors turn to if the strawberry cream candies were somehow distilled into a liqueur. I am simply stunned that a yeast strain could do this to a bourbon. Yeast, after all, consumes sugar and leaves behind alcohol as a by-product and some flavor notes. This yeast consumes sugar and leaves bind alcoholic strawberry cream, as if it were a unicorn farting rainbows. Pretty amazing yeast, and is the strongest evidence I have that the yeasts strains as between Bulleit and Four Roses are very, very different.

Both of these are exceptional barrels of bourbon and they are definitely worth picking up. The E3 barrel though is something really interesting and has a completely different flavor profile from any other bourbon I have tasted. I also hope my readers will find the information on the differences between Bulleit Single Barrels to be useful as well as Diageo’s Bulleit single barrel program continues.

One thought on “Tasting Notes: Bulleit Single Barrel Store Picks Selected by Funk and Drell and A Quick Guide on Bulleit’s Single Barrel Bourbon

  1. First off I love the reviews, easy to understand and also the ranking system is relatable. I think It would be neat to have your A-F ranking at the end of each tasting article just for good feedback. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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