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Boozehound Reviews: Bulleit Rye Whiskey


Bulleit Rye
Bulleit Rye is available on many Iowa City area bars. — photo by Mike McCune via Flickr Creative Commons

What’s 95 percent rye, 5 percent malted barley and 100 percent awesome? If you said Bulleit Rye whiskey, you’d be right (and probably bad at math). Yes, with spring’s arrival, warmer temperatures call for something with a touch of sweetness, but enough punch to keep you nice and warm on those cooler days nights. Bulleit Rye more than fits the bill.

How good is this rye whiskey? Well, it won a Double Gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013, so it’s got that going for it. Plus at 95 percent of its mash bill, the proportion of rye is much higher than your average rye whiskey. So if you like as much rye as possible in your rye whiskey, then you’ve come to the right place.

Of course higher-than-usual rye content isn’t unusual for Bulleit — their bourbon uses more rye than you’d expect, giving it an underlying sweet spiciness that only adds to the flavor experience. With the rye whiskey, they’ve taken the flavor to beautiful, delicious extremes. I’m going to say something that might be shocking to fans of Iowa’s (sort of, kind of) native brand of rye: This is better than Templeton Rye.

Color: The color is somewhere between amber and shades of dark honey.

Aroma: Caramel and brown sugar are the most prominent notes, but there’s a more subtle notes of toffee as well.

Taste: Oh so smooth, the viscosity is almost perfectly balanced. There’s an instant of buttery, nutty goodness — almost like pecans — before the spice kicks, with hints of cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg.

Finish: If Bulleit Rye has a fault, it might be with the finish. The sting from the alcohol sits at the back of your throat for a little longer than I’d like, but once it goes down, it does so gradually and leaves a warm sensation.

Localizer: Bulleit Rye is available at many area bars including The Mill and Clinton Street Social Club, which I’m convinced might just have the most extensive range of spirits and cocktails of any bar in Johnson County. This is a hypothesis I’m going to have to put to the test, but if you want Bulleit Rye, you can get it there for $7.

Overall: If you’re going to drive your Chevy to the levee and drink whiskey and rye with your friends, make sure this is the rye you drink. Especially if it’s going to be the day you die, because if you gotta go, this is the drink you want in your hand when you do.

Grade: A+