Bulleit Frontier Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

90 Proof, Kirin Brewing Company Four Roses Distillery

When the bartender at one of my favorite West Village whiskey haunts told me during a discussion of the best go-to bourbons that his choice was Bulleit, it took me by surprise (this was around 2007). I’d sampled it before and thought nothing much of it; after this discussion I purchased another bottle and, again, came away not terribly moved.

A year or so went by and I kept hearing people proclaim their affinity for Bulleit, so I decided to give it one more go. I don’t know what happened between then and this time—a change in recipe? more exposure to the world of bourbon? baby’s all growed up?—but the light finally came on. The Bulleit was not only singing, it sang for a song (less than $20 a bottle).

Like that wise bartender suggested, it’s temporarily replaced the Elijah Craig 12 Year as my go-to bourbon, the bottle I grab when the selection is sparse or my brain can’t process the bourbon decision. I categorize the Bulleit as a medium bodied whiskey with precise flavors and impeccable balance. I always get floral, peachy notes up front followed by zesty rye spice, toffee and cinnamon-like heat.

It’s not the most complex or meaty of bourbons, but its vividness and accessibility put it in my cupboard at least once a month. Coming around late is better than never coming around as all. I’m glad I hung in there.

Score: 4

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