Bulleit Barrel Strength Bourbon is a limited batch offering that was released in April of 2016 to a select few in the Kentucky area. It consists of the same mashbill as the regular Bulleit Bourbon: 68% Corn, 28% Rye, 4% Malted Barley. The only real difference between the two is the fact that the barrel strength hasn’t been cut or blended with any water. Barrel Strength does not mean “Single Barrel” and is merely the raw uncut version of the regular Bulleit Bourbon Whiskey. The proof on regular Bulleit Bourbon is 90 proof, with the Barrel Strength version coming in at 125 proof! The proof may vary from batch to batch since no water is blended in to the final product, (usually to get a consistent strength.) The current available bottles are from batch #2, and batch sizes vary as well with 3,000 cases being produced on its initial release. Not every liquor store in the US was given the opportunity to buy this rare juice, as it is still in limited supplies.
Nose: Vanilla & caramel notes interweave with stronger blasts of pepper & cinnamon. It is a pleasant mixture of sweet & spice with some strength to it, yet doesn’t come off too strong. Minor notes of butterscotch & custard are also noticeable.
Palate: Lots of cinnamon & spice come across on the palate. The regular Bulleit Bourbon flavors are apparent with a more intensified flavor. Very peppery & oaky, but surprisingly not as overbearing as what a higher proof version would taste like. Some minor fruit notes can be detected upon working the bourbon around in your mouth.
Finish: Straightforward & consistent: starts hot, develops some creaminess, and finishes dry. The finish is dominated by the oak & spice flavors, with the sweeter corn & caramel flavors not being as apparent. The extra strength allows for this bourbon to finish on the drier side, with spicy notes lingering.
Overall Bulleit Barrel strength is a great option to have in your bar. It makes every cocktail that you enjoy with the regular bourbon come across as less sweet and more intense. Sipping it straight makes for a longer lasting drink in the sense that ice cubes will essentially make it taste more like regular Bulleit Bourbon as it becomes more diluted with water. Old world drinks are also a great option for the barrel strength, as they will offer a more intense flavor of an already excellent bourbon. West Vail Liquor Mart received 18 bottles of this wonderful product, and it is in very limited supply. The retail price for a 750ml bottle is $59.99. Stop in and grab a bottle while they last!