What better way to start 2015 than with something sweet, slightly spicy and smooth? For January, I recommend one of Kentucky’s tastiest bourbons, Bulleit.
The Bulleit Family began distilling in Kentucky way back in 1830 and managed a good 30 years in the business before production was discontinued. Happily, the great great grandson of the original Bulleit relaunched the brand in 1987 and began distilling its bourbon in 1999.
Today, Bulleit is known for its higher than usual rye content: The grain accounts for 28 percent of their mash bill. In order to be legally defined as bourbon in the United States, the mash bill — or grain mixture used to make the spirit — has to be at least 51 percent corn; the remaining grain used to make the bourbon is up to the individual distiller. Bulleit’s extra rye adds a spiciness that complements the sweeter characteristics derived from the corn and aging process, which lasts at least six years.
Price-wise, Bulleit bourbon is pretty average. Running just shy of $30 a bottle at your local liquor store, it’s the perfect bourbon to buy if you’re looking for a quality liquor without breaking the bank.
Color: Dark amber with hints of orange.
Aroma: The aroma is sweet — brown sugar and caramel characteristics are prominent. There’s also an underlying spice reminiscent of cinnamon.
Taste: Bulleit is light-bodied, but not in a weak or watery way. Notes of oak and brown sugar are prominent as the spiciness from the rye becomes evident in the taste.
Finish: Following a smooth initial sip, this bourbon has a nice bite and delicious burn that’s warming in these colder months.
The Localizer: Basta has a very nice cocktail on their specials menu this month called Bite the Bulleit, which features Bulleit bourbon, cinnamon-cranberry syrup, fig syrup and egg whites. This would be delicious enough, but for a unique touch, Basta plunks a huge (and what looks to be handcut) chunk of ice into your cocktail glass. The ice takes up most of the cocktail glass which might make you feel like you’re getting shorted booze, but it also takes longer to melt, so you’re left instead with the delicious impression that you’re drinking a never-ending cocktail. It’s probably the best $9 I’ve spent in awhile, so get yourself to Basta and try one while you can.