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View Full Version : Why don't I like Bulleit?



Robmo
02-27-2011, 12:31
I hope this post leads to a good discussion and helps me learn something. I'm sort of new to Bourbon drinkin' and brand new to this forum.

I recently bought pints of Woodford Reserve and Bulleit. I liked the Woodford but was pretty uninspired by the Bulleit. Here are my amateur tasting recollections of both:

Woodford: Cinnamon, apple cider, raisins, pralines, orange zest, dark chocolate and the usual vanilla, brown sugar, maple syrup etc. Not too harsh, not too smooth. Can't wait to try more.

Bulleit: Turpentine, a hint of rye. Won't be doing this again soon. (And a little disappointed 'cause the bottle is so cool!)

I'm not alone in my dislike for Bulleit. But why is this? And what does it say about me/us who don't like it? Care to shed some light?

Also, given my clear preference for Woodford, what else would I like?

squire
02-27-2011, 13:01
Past threads on the taste of Bulleit generally divide into the like group and the dislike group. It's a one of a kind that I happen to like but routinely leave on the store shelf.

TNbourbon
02-27-2011, 15:26
I believe that the origin of the Bulleit whiskey has changed during the label's lifetime. When originally released, it contained Four Roses distillate -- and, I assume, not the best they had, because they used that for other things.
I didn't like it then, either. Way too rye-y! And, frankly, I haven't tried it since.
But, I believe it is no longer contains Four Roses bourbon -- at least, not entirely.
I have no way of knowing (and, probably, you don't either) which distillate you've tasted. But, it's probably different today than 'once upon a time'.

wormil
02-28-2011, 02:12
I've found it to be inconsistent and not particularly interesting at any point.

Josh
02-28-2011, 04:48
I believe that the origin of the Bulleit whiskey has changed during the label's lifetime. When originally released, it contained Four Roses distillate -- and, I assume, not the best they had, because they used that for other things.
I didn't like it then, either. Way too rye-y! And, frankly, I haven't tried it since.
But, I believe it is no longer contains Four Roses bourbon -- at least, not entirely.
I have no way of knowing (and, probably, you don't either) which distillate you've tasted. But, it's probably different today than 'once upon a time'.

In all likelihood it still contains 4R distillate, although maybe not exclusively. The best info suggests that Diageo is mostly buying unaged whiskey from 4R, although when we were at Cox's Creek last spring, our tour guide told us that the contents of the barrel we were sampling were headed for Diageo. That doesn't mean it was going to become Bulleit, but given the history it seems reasonable.

I think Bulleit is OK, but it's underaged and a little rough aroud the edges.

White Dog
02-28-2011, 08:16
In all likelihood it still contains 4R distillate, although maybe not exclusively. The best info suggests that Diageo is mostly buying unaged whiskey from 4R, although when we were at Cox's Creek last spring, our tour guide told us that the contents of the barrel we were sampling were headed for Diageo. That doesn't mean it was going to become Bulleit, but given the history it seems reasonable.

I think Bulleit is OK, but it's underaged and a little rough aroud the edges.

Josh's flavor description hits it on the head, IMHO. (Every year Diageo releases hundreds of uninspired offerings, especially on the wine side.) And while I do love high-rye recipes, especially OGD114 and various FR releases, Bulleit never tastes "complete" to me.

StraightNoChaser
02-28-2011, 08:31
In on this crew. Never had a Bulleit I liked :skep:

StraightNoChaser
02-28-2011, 08:33
Josh's flavor description hits it on the head, IMHO. (Every year Diageo releases hundreds of uninspired offerings, especially on the wine side.) And while I do love high-rye recipes, especially OGD114 and various FR releases, Bulleit never tastes "complete" to me.
I finally tried OGD114 and I am not sure what to think. It's hot and spicy, which I typically like, but it's also sharp and burn-y in a way I'm not sure yet if I appreciate. Obviously this will take a bit more "research" but at this point I'm reluctant to pour another glass

unclebunk
02-28-2011, 08:37
Josh's flavor description hits it on the head, IMHO. (Every year Diageo releases hundreds of uninspired offerings, especially on the wine side.) And while I do love high-rye recipes, especially OGD114 and various FR releases, Bulleit never tastes "complete" to me.

I'm with Josh and White Dog. I enjoy high rye bourbons as well but find Bulleit a tad harsh and its body thin. I wouldn't say that I flat out dislike it, but I won't be seeking out another bottle any time soon.

The Boozer
02-28-2011, 09:06
In the vein of trying to be "fair & balanced" I have stated elsewhere that I enjoy Bulleit. I like the high rye, spicey flavor and not found it to be too harsh. I understand it to be aged about 6-7-8 years.
Of course, I'm an old guy so my taste buds are shot.

squire
02-28-2011, 12:50
I've had several bottles of Bulleit, mostly after it first came out, and liked each one. I like Rye so that might explain it, but I don't think any I tried were 8 yrs old, and they cost a lot less than now.

jburlowski
02-28-2011, 16:38
In the vein of trying to be "fair & balanced" I have stated elsewhere that I enjoy Bulleit. I like the high rye, spicey flavor and not found it to be too harsh. I understand it to be aged about 6-7-8 years.
Of course, I'm an old guy so my taste buds are shot.

What he said.

I'm also an old guy but my taste buds aren't shot (although other parts of me are.)

OscarV
02-28-2011, 16:41
Every now and then Builleit has a nice slap in the face sicey ryed bourbon taste that I like.

cowdery
02-28-2011, 17:10
I've never been sorry that I put it in my mouth.

Josh
02-28-2011, 17:12
I've never been sorry that I put it in my mouth.

as opposed to?

:fish2: :fish2: :fish2:

ebo
02-28-2011, 17:12
I'm not a big Bulleit fan, either. I find it "disinteresting" and just plain unappealing to my palate.

I bought one bottle and had another given to me. I drank one and decided it was a waste of time to open the other. I gave it a fair chance, but I just don't care for it. I gave the other bottle to a buddy, and he loves it. Just goes to show that taste is a very subjective thing.

cowdery
02-28-2011, 17:14
as opposed to?

:fish2: :fish2: :fish2:

I've never regretted anyplace I put it.

squire
02-28-2011, 19:21
I hadn't considered the alternatives.

kickert
02-28-2011, 19:41
I've never regretted anyplace I put it.

Well played sir... well played.

G.H.Adams
02-28-2011, 20:50
I like Bulleit. I get a sort of red hots aftertaste like I do with Four Roses.

sailor22
03-01-2011, 05:54
I get a sort of red hots aftertaste like I do with Four Roses.

Why do you suppose that would be? I suspect you may be on to something.

Robmo
03-01-2011, 07:30
I finally tried OGD114 and I am not sure what to think. It's hot and spicy, which I typically like, but it's also sharp and burn-y in a way I'm not sure yet if I appreciate.

Interesting that OGD114 has been mentioned in this discussion!

I coincidentally picked up a bottle of it yesterday because it was on sale. Never imagined I'd be giving this high-proofer a go -- I'm going to try it out tonight.

Thanks for all the interesting responses about Bulleit. Seems I'm not alone in my dislike. But I would clarify that it's not that I really dislike it--I exaggerated somewhat to see what kind of discussion I could spark--it's just that it can't compare to my favorites. I'd rather spend my money on something I truly enjoy.

Robmo
03-01-2011, 07:54
And while I do love high-rye recipes, especially OGD114 and various FR releases, Bulleit never tastes "complete" to me.

I agree about Bulleit not tasting "complete". I had the feeling something was missing, that it was a little thin.

I am enjoying the OGD 114 right now. It is definitely a little sharp, the first sip had a burn I could feel all the way down the gullet into my guts. But overall not bad. Might be good on the rocks.

It does seem to have a bit a of peanut butter taste which I've noticed with a few bourbons. Can anyone explain what this is?

White Dog
03-01-2011, 10:37
I agree about Bulleit not tasting "complete". I had the feeling something was missing, that it was a little thin.

I am enjoying the OGD 114 right now. It is definitely a little sharp, the first sip had a burn I could feel all the way down the gullet into my guts. But overall not bad. Might be good on the rocks.

It does seem to have a bit a of peanut butter taste which I've noticed with a few bourbons. Can anyone explain what this is?

Before you add ice, try cutting it slightly with a small amount of water. While I love OGD114 neat, on certain days my pallet prefers OGDBiB.

Brisko
03-01-2011, 10:45
Before you add ice, try cutting it slightly with a small amount of water. While I love OGD114 neat, on certain days my pallet prefers OGDBiB.


I agree. A splash of water brings out big notes of oats and honey and tempers the cinnamon/char at the finish.

For the record though, I drink OGD 114 neat, with water, or on ice, depending on mood... it is really versatile and I can't say that I really prefer it one way over the others. I can't say that for every whiskey in my cabinet.

squire
03-01-2011, 15:20
It is versatile indeed but I rarely buy it, preferring the BIB.

Robmo
03-01-2011, 22:09
It is versatile indeed but I rarely buy it, preferring the BIB.

The BiB has been on my "to try" list for some time. I actually set out thinking I was going to pick up a bottle of it and ended up with the 114. Look forward to more tasting adventures with both.

I want to try the 114 in an old-fashioned, too. The spiciness and heat will compliment the sugar and bitters well I think.

squire
03-02-2011, 12:30
It does shine through Rob, this expression is a puzzle to me in that any day I expect to see it in a new design bottle with higher price.

darkluna
03-02-2011, 18:13
It does shine through Rob, this expression is a puzzle to me in that any day I expect to see it in a new design bottle with higher price.

Even though I don't drink it very often, I hope they don't change the price or bottle of OGD 114, I like it the way it is.

As for Bulleit, I'm not a fan either, but it's been a long time since I tried it. I guess I should give it another shot one of these days. It's hard to RE-try something I didn't like the first time, when there are so many other good bottles to put my bourbon $$ toward.

Robmo
03-02-2011, 19:24
It does shine through Rob, this expression is a puzzle to me in that any day I expect to see it in a new design bottle with higher price.

Not sure if you're talking about OGD 114 here or not, but yeah I like that it's so unpretentious. Sort of a throwback to the 70s before designer bourbon bottles.

flintlock
03-02-2011, 22:48
I do like Bulleit. I rarely buy it though. The high rye is fun, and frankly sometimes I want to "cleanse my pallet" of molasses and Cola and corn and caramel. (Not often, but sometimes.)

If it were a consistent $20 bottle, instead of a consistent $30+ bottle, I'd make it a regular purchase. I think it's overpriced for what it brings to the table.

This is the only whiskey that I ALWAYS cut with a tablespoon of water. It is drastically different whiskey when you step on it once or twice - it opens up a lot of flavor and drowns out some of the racket of all that rye and alcohol. I bet it would make a great Manhattan.

ratcheer
03-03-2011, 06:44
I had one bottle of Bulleit a few years ago. I didn't just not like it, I thought it was pretty awful.

Tim

nblair
03-03-2011, 10:50
I had one bottle of Bulleit a few years ago. I didn't just not like it, I thought it was pretty awful.

Tim


I'll co-sign that, Tim. I gave it to my wife so she could use it as a mixer. I have no intentions of picking up another bottle.

squire
03-03-2011, 16:30
Yes Rob, 114 was my reference.

squire
03-03-2011, 16:31
I wouldn't pawn it off on the wife Nathaniel, that sort of move might be misinterpreted.

imbibehour
03-06-2011, 14:30
I am in the don't like camp :grin:

the Duff
03-06-2011, 17:57
I had a bottle once ... ended up mixing it with sprite if that says anything. :shocked: I'd choose OGD 114 any day of the week.

squire
03-06-2011, 18:15
While not disagreeing with you Duff my choice would have been ginger ale.

Robmo
03-19-2011, 07:12
I agree. A splash of water brings out big notes of oats and honey and tempers the cinnamon/char at the finish.

For the record though, I drink OGD 114 neat, with water, or on ice, depending on mood... it is really versatile and I can't say that I really prefer it one way over the others. I can't say that for every whiskey in my cabinet.

Tried adding a splash of water to the OGD 114 and you were right. Also agree with the point about versatility. Can vouch for it in an old-fashioned too.

HRay
03-20-2011, 13:06
I guess I would still put myself in the "Like it" camp although I used to drink it much more that I do now. I seem to have moved on to other high rye bourbons. It also seems that it used to cost less. Doesn't it now come from Jim Beam instead of Four Roses?

I am going to have to open my dusty bottle of Old GrandDad 114 that has been sitting on my shelf for a while. The last time I tasted it, I found it a little harsh but I do like the high rye recipe as well as the price. This is a Jim Beam distillate as well, isn't it?

MJL
03-20-2011, 14:50
Totally off topic here but I hop Robmo is doing well. It must be a tough time in Tokyo these days.

jcg9779
03-20-2011, 20:03
I guess I would still put myself in the "Like it" camp although I used to drink it much more that I do now. I seem to have moved on to other high rye bourbons. It also seems that it used to cost less. Doesn't it now come from Jim Beam instead of Four Roses?

I am going to have to open my dusty bottle of Old GrandDad 114 that has been sitting on my shelf for a while. The last time I tasted it, I found it a little harsh but I do like the high rye recipe as well as the price. This is a Jim Beam distillate as well, isn't it?

I'm with you, HRay....I like it as well. Maker's Mark and Bulleit used to be my "go to" pours, although since joining this forum my eyes have been opened to many new and delicious options. I actually haven't had either since January (with the exception being the new Bulleit Rye), but I still think both are very good, uncomplicated bourbons - perfectly fine to be mixed or drink on the rocks...i never really drink either one straight.

OGD 114 is one of the bourbons that I discovered through SB.com, and I do like it very much. It has become more of a "go to" pour than Maker's or Bulleit - to me it has more depth and flavor and the higher alcohol content helps.

Robmo
03-20-2011, 20:46
Totally off topic here but I hop Robmo is doing well. It must be a tough time in Tokyo these days.

Thanks for asking! It's tough, you're right.

I think we're gonna make it through this. The reactors are in the process of being stabilized and while the situation is far from perfect, I have confidence that the worst is behind us. Unfortunately it's raining today and that makes me just nervous enough to want my daughter to stay indoors.

Robmo
03-20-2011, 20:53
Doesn't it now come from Jim Beam instead of Four Roses?

I am going to have to open my dusty bottle of Old GrandDad 114 that has been sitting on my shelf for a while. The last time I tasted it, I found it a little harsh but I do like the high rye recipe as well as the price. This is a Jim Beam distillate as well, isn't it?

I believe Bulleit is in the is in the Moet Hennessy Diageo stable rather than the Fortune Brands/Jim Beam stable, although according to Wikipedia it's distilled by Four Roses. All interesting to contemplate.

http://www.mhdkk.com/luxury/bulleit_bourbon.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulleit_Bourbon

OGD is part of the Fortune/JB stable though.