Review: Bulleit Rye Whiskey

Tom Bulleit‘s “frontier” Bourbon has near-cult status among his admirers, and at long last the man has decided to branch out into a second product.

That product is Bulleit Rye, “the worst kept secret” in the whiskey world and a smashing way for Bulleit to double its shelf space.

Now this isn’t as big a stretch as you might think: Bulleit Bourbon has 28% rye in it already, making it the most rye-rich Bourbon on the market. Bulleit knows rye, so upping the ante to 95% rye (and 5% malted barley) shouldn’t be much of a challenge. Made just across the Kentucky border at LDI in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, Bulleit Rye is aged for at least four years before being bottled at 90 proof.

Results: Solid, and surprisingly easy-drinking rye whiskey. Most rye is pungent and packed with spice character, giving it a huge bite and a lasting effect on your palate. Bulleit is far more mellow: Compared to similarly artisanal ryes like WhistlePig it is reserved and easy, with a distinct toffee sweetness up front backed by molasses, light wood, and some interesting evergreen notes and a touch of herbal character. It’s a startling departure from Bulleit’s Bourbon, which is, by design, rough around the edges and a bit of a punch in the gut. Bulleit Rye is easy and doesn’t burn in the slightest. Be warned.

Bulleit Rye shows Tom’s feminine side — or perhaps his daughter and partner in crime, Hollis — demure, silky smooth, a little sassy, and, most of all, complicated. An outstanding bargain.


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5 Responses

  1. Jeremy N March 13, 2011 / 7:27 pm

    WOOO! I am very excited to read this. Thank you again, Drinkhacker, for doing the lord’s work.

  2. Damocles March 13, 2011 / 10:17 pm

    Must buy Rye….

  3. Thirsty South March 14, 2011 / 4:42 am

    Nice review, we did a side by side tasting with the Bulleit Rye, Rittenhouse BIB, and Russell’s Reserve 6yo – found the Bulleit to be a great sipper, though as you point out, lacking a typical rye spice profile. For a Manhattan, the Rittenhouse is hard to beat – more at

  4. Filip March 14, 2011 / 9:06 am

    I’ve always read that the Bulleit Bourbon has a 35% rye mashbill, which makes sense since it’s produced for Diageo by Four Roses. FR has two primary mashbills, one if which is a high rye at 35%.

    Can you divulge where you got the 28% stat? Thanks!

  5. J.G. March 19, 2011 / 7:44 am


    Wikipedia lists the mashbill as 28% rye. The Bulleit Bourbon website makes no specification, but the Facebook page (I am not a member but it came up on a google search) does list the rye content at 28%.

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