Whiskey, whether Bourbon or otherwise, is generally the favorite spirit here at the Garlic Press. The word “whiskey ” comes from an English approximation of the Gaelic uisce beatha, itself a translation of the Latin aqua vitae, or “water of life.” As an ingredient or beverage this spirit certainly lives up to the name. In fact, as of 1964 whiskey is the official spirit of the United States, in honor of its importance culturally and as a trade good in the development of the nation. Steeped in history and full of flavor, it should come as no surprise that we are among the devotees of this spirit. As such, we hold this complex drink to very high standards.

This month we have decided, after a friend’s recommendation, to review Bulleit Bourbon. The Kentucky native is unique among whiskies, weighing in at 30% rye – the highest by far of any non-rye whiskey. This results in a sweet, nutty, and complex flavor. Bulleit is aged  for a minimum of six years in the traditional white oak barrels.


The bottle is an absolute classic, with a shape inspired by antique medicine bottles. The raised lettering in the glass and cork stopper give Bulleit the look of a much more expensive bourbon (Think 1792 Reserve.) The label is inspired in a similar fashion and applied diagonally, giving the aesthetic character of a true small batch whiskey.

Tasting notes begin with honey and herbs and a mild spice note. As it rolls across the palate the careful taster will pick up oats and sweetness, not unlike corn. The finish is long and warm but without the fire typical of Jim Beam products.

On the nose, Bulleit is equally complex floral, earthy, sweet, and has in its background a slight cinnamon aroma. The smell should be pleasant even to those that may cringe in the face of Irish water.

The Bottom Line

Overall, for $23 – $32 dollars Bulleit Bourbon is a great choice, especially in states where it is closer to $23. Look for this whiskey in PA or MD to really impress your friends on the cheap. The attractive bottle makes Bulleit more than appropriate as a gift, especially for friends in their mid twenties.  At $23 for 750ml of 90 proof deliciousness you can drink yourself clever without so much as ice or a glass to pour it into.

  • For bonus points marinade a filet in a mix of Bulleit, honey mustard, garlic and rosemary.