Small Batch Bulleit 95 Rye Frontier Whiskey is yet another child from the distilleries in Indiana and sold to bottlers around the country to finish, brand, and sell. It is 95% rye and 5% malted barley, making this a heavy rye with no corn influence, but that does not always tell the whole story. Its bottle, label, and overall looks truly does give you an old time frontier feel though, even if there isn’t much “frontier” about it in reality. It is easy to imagine being on a trail drive and after a long dusty day pulling this bottle out and having a pour by the campfire; or even having the barkeep pour you a glass as you belly up to the bar at that small sawdust floor frontier saloon.
You can find out more about Bulleit 95 Rye, and their other offerings at their website: bulleit.com.
AGE: NAS (4-7 years)
SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass
COLOR: Deep Gold with a touch of copper.
NOSE: Floral with mint and allspice, anise, and rye spices, pine, maybe a touch of licorice sneaking around. Some honey and clove, and a sliver of oak.
PALATE: Very slight sweetness that is quickly overpowered by spices and pepper. Then honey and burned sugars seem to appear, some cinnamon, and then fading to a mild oak and what I would describe as a “soapy” taste and botanicals.
FINISH: Short to medium at most. Slight warmth but not significant. A bit of dry oak, mild honey sweetness, and some smoke. Then there is that “soapy” and botanical taste lingering.
OVERVIEW: This rye whiskey left me wondering what all the great reviews of it were talking about. I love rye, and I wanted to love this one too, but I am not sold. I thought the rye spice was a bit weak for the high rye content, and that “soapy”as well as botanical taste just hit me wrong. I also had wished for a bit more heat, but it is what it is. I will update this review as I come back to this whiskey. It may open up and change for the better with oxidation. But as it stands now, I don’t see myself restocking this one. I am just not a fan of botanicals in my whiskey. If you are, I am sure you will love this one.
ADDED: I revisited this whiskey after a fair amount of oxidation. As many know, oxidation can really change a whiskey; sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. How did it affect this one? Any soapy taste that I had experienced before was gone. But the botanical notes were kicked into overdrive. Not only did they dominate the nose, but the palate was like drinking a combination of pine needles and cones. Again, I know some folks enjoy that, but I do not. It became a drink that I didn’t savor but drank rather quickly to minimize the things that didn’t sit well with me. And that is just not how I enjoy my whiskey. All other notes and aspects seemed to have mellowed out, and I found myself wanting more heat to give me something I could appreciate. But it was not there.