Whisky You Can Drink: Bulleit Rye

Welcome to another episode of Whiskey You Can Drink, wherein I drink whiskey and tell you about it. Today’s entry is Bulleit Rye, a whiskey made from 95% rye and 5% malted barley, weighing in at 90 proof. I paid around $27 for this bottle on sale, which is why you can drink it.

Rye was the dominant American whiskey until about the time of Prohibition, when conditions conspired to make corn the king of the whiskey game. George Washington had a distillery, and at one time whiskey sales accounted for over half of Mount Vernon’s profits. By American rules, “rye whiskey” must contain at least 51% rye grain; by contrast, “Canadian Rye Whiskey” doesn’t have to have any rye in it at all. Fucking Canadians.

What does it smell like? It is grassy, earthy, more like herbs than spice. There is some random fruit, and eucalyptus, or menthol, or mint.

What does it taste like? Grassy, earthy, and fruity all at once. It is sweet until it isn’t. There are hints of mint, tobacco, and smoke. It all comes with a black pepper heat that lingers. It seems fairly complex, but I generally stick to sub-$30 whiskey, so what the hell do I know?

Should you buy it? Don’t let me tell you what to do with your money. I don’t need the blowback from my misguided advice.

Will I buy it again? I dunno. Probably. It’s interesting, a nice change of pace, and if you gifted me a bottle I would drink it happily. I just bought a bottle of Old Forester Rye, which is only 65% rye, to see if that’s a little more my thing. After that, I’ll try one of the so-called “barely legal” ryes, closer to the 51% legally required to call it rye. Stay tuned.



  1. @LemmyKilmister, I am on my second bottle of the Elijah Craig…bought a small one to test, then they only had the really big bottle this time, such a shame… Also have a bottle of The Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Bourbon Cask Reserve 80 Proof that @SplinterRIP suggested, I have not it opened yet, but it looks fancy. Thank you for this excellent public service!!!

    • If you like Elijah, you will probably like Evan Williams 1783.  Not quite as complex, but about $10 less.  I just cracked a bottle of that last night.  Hopefully I’ll hit all of these eventually.

  2. I haven’t had Bulleit but I just finished off a bottle of 100% rye from a local distiller which I loved. I’m terrible at describing drinks but it had a lot more grain character than typical corn whiskey. I didn’t pick up any real sweetness, but I get the sense for whiskey fans it’s a relative term, so maybe a little touch?
    I would make a guess as a total outsider that it must be hard to get these right — even if I can’t define it there’s a lot going on, and I can see how flavors could easily go out of balance.

    • I’m just learning to pay attention to whiskey, but I thought it would make good copy/fodder.  It’s definitely subjective.  I’ll look at other reviews and not taste or smell what they are.  I’ve yet to encounter “green apples” like everyone else seems to.  I do drink at least half the bottle in 3-4 sittings before I write them up, just to confirm what I’m thinking.

  3. I tend to prefer the regular Bulliet bourbon to the rye, but haven’t had a bottle on hand in awhile because Tom Bulliet seems incredibly yucky. +1 for the Evan Williams 1783 rec. That stuff is quite tasty and reasonably priced.

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