Bulleit Rye Review

Bulleit Rye Review

The most striking thing about this is the lack of depth when compared to their amazing bourbon. I don’t find it nearly as flavorful or robust as their bourbon and I think there’s a reason for that… Bulleit didn’t actually make this one. Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (LDI) did. Now, that’s nothing new and it’s not something we’re unaccustomed to here on The Whiskey Jug, in fact some of my favorite whiskeys are blends of LDI whiskey. However, this one leaves me feeling a bit flat.

It’s not a bad rye by any means, but it’s just honestly not a fantastic rye. I feel like I have had it before and with the prevalence of LDI whiskey being bottled under different labels I probably have. All of that aside I have to say that while I would rather drink the Old Overholt straight (I rated them the same), I would rather use this as a cocktail mixer and make some high quality cocktails. The incredibly high amount of rye in the mash bill means that there is a more intense rye spice and that works very well in cocktails and keeps the rye flavor from being watered down and helps keep a fantastic flavor profile in the cocktail.

Overall I don’t really want to drink this one neat, but it’s incredible on the rocks or in a cocktail. Every cocktail I’ve made with it has been successful and had a very robust flavor profile to it thanks to the high rye content. In fact, the only rye I like making cocktails with more than it is the Rittenhouse 100 which continues to pack a punch when mixed due to it’s high alcohol content and it’s big burley flavor doesn’t water down very easily.

If you’ve had this not so unique dram put your thoughts and / or tasting notes in the comments below. I’d love to hear them.

Bulleit Rye Review

ABV: 45%
Price: $30
Distiller: Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana (LDI) /Midwest Grain Products (MGP)
Mash: 95% rye 5% malted barley

Light caramel with slight orange accents

Astringent briny rye exudes from the bottle.  Caramel, cinnamon, cloves,  and a rather mild rye spice considering it’s 95% rye mash bill. A touch of creme brulee and red licorice.

I found the rye spice. It may have been oddly muted on the nose, but on the palate it comes roaring out. Cinnamon, cloves, honey, a light peppery pop, some buttery toffee and a smooth caramel underpinning. There is a hint of mint, but it’s not so much the flavor of mint as the sensation of mint.

A bit dry and rough around the edges it comes across a tad aggressive. There’s a lot of burn in this bottle.

Cloves and pepper fade to a slight grapeyness which fades to a woody rye spice that lingers.

SCORE: 83/100

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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Filed Under: Rye

42 Responses to Bulleit Rye Review

  1. This review is on point. This rye is tailor made for cocktails. It is not for drinking neat.

    I have been playing with Italian bitters and vermouths lately and was trying to figure out the Fanciulli. Bulleit Rye mixes into this drink perfectly. This is an allies vs axis drink where the American Rye must go toe to toe with the Italian Fernet. Neither gains any ground which is bad for war but great for a balanced drink.

    What cocktails do you think the Bulleit Rye mix into most excellently?

  2. I agree with the caramel,cloves and pepper comments but drinking this at this very moment in the UK and I am loving the burn in the finish and I am enjoying this neat.Each to their own as they say in these parts.

      • I’m a spirit lover and I would never dilute with water (even if it’s just a splash to “open” it up).

        My introduction to spirits from the Midwest started with Jack Daniel’s No.7 but there’s too much of a corn mash aftertaste and that’s true (though to a lesser extent) of the Bulleit bourbon also. By contrast, I like the clean palate of the Bulleit rye and the heat on the finish is reminiscent of a good vodka or scotch.

        • I’m also a spirits lover and to each their own. Water does cause a reaction in whiskey, and most spirits above 45%, that can help unlock hidden complexities but I always start out at whatever proof it’s bottled at and then test and see what happens with water. Sometimes magic happens, sometimes not. I’m interested in exploring all the layers a good spirit can have inside.

  3. I find this an excellent whiskey. I drink it neat and has a great finish. Next I will try their aged and see how it is but I have to say that this is so far one of my favorite.

  4. This is an old review, but it’s worth noting that Bulleit Bourbon is distilled at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky and aged nearby (Bulleit doesn’t have a distillery there). The arrangement they have with MGP (a.k.a. LDI) is identical. Bulleit Rye is distilled in Indiana by MGP and aged by Bulleit. I’m not passing judgment on Bulleit for doing this, it’s incredibly common. What I’m pointing out is that there is effectively no difference in the production arrangement between the Bulleit Bourbon and the Bulleit Rye. If you are a fan of the Bulleit Bourbon, try the Four Roses Small Batch.

    • It was distilled at Four Roses (which I covered here http://thewhiskeyjug.com/bourbon-whiskey/bulleit-bourbon-review/) but that arrangement has ended. My sources say that as soon as the Four Roses juice they have on hand is gone the “new” Bulleit will be a blend of a high rye bourbon made by Jim Beam and a high rye bourbon from Heaven Hill. They’re sourcing from 2 distilleries instead of 1 to prevent them from completely losing their source like they did when Kirin cancelled the Four Roses deal.

  5. Bulleit Rye is on my top 5 list of favorite pours. I find it may be slightly rough, but it finishes very smooth with a slightly sweet and spicy finish. Love it on ice. Great value too.

  6. Haven’t tried to drink this rye neat yet. I have although mixed myself an old fashioned (or two) with it. I found it extremely enjoyable and easy to drink.

    Sugar cube, 3 dashes angostura, 1 dash orange bitters, dash of water, 2 oz Rye, orange and cherry to garnish.

    Absolutely incredible

  7. Picked this up this weekend. I agree the finish is a little rough, but still a decent pour. I think I enjoy Big House bourbon more than Bulleit Rye. Big House is sweeter than Bulleit, but has a better finish. Although Bulleit does have a lingering sweet taste that I cannot put my finger on yet. Think I may have to go into full scale research mode on this one


      • I know that bulleit is 95% rye, and Big House is a 60,35,5 ( corn,rye,barley). But being a high rye mashbill I thought comparing both would work. On another note my brother-in-law just dropped off a bottle of Russell Reserve Rye 6 year. I can’t wait to get taste this one!

        Keep up the great work!


  8. Bulletin Rye is one of my favorite whiskies and I think I like it a little better than you do. But, hey! Everyone’s taste is different. I also like WT Rye 81 but the Bulleit Rye is better in my opinion. To me it has this great spicy mint citrus note that I love, probably due to the higher proof. Actually like this better than the Bulleit Bourbon. Always appreciate your reviews and the weekly newsletter.

  9. I gotta say, I love this stuff. Maybe it’s just favoritism because I love Bulleit Bourbon but damn. While I can totally understand not wanting it straight, I personally love a glass neat with just a few drops of water.

    As a mixer, one of the things I love about this is the natural elderflower aroma and flavor. On the nose there’s lots of floral notes and on the palate I pick up the same richness I get from Riesling and Gewürztraminer late harvest wines. I’ve been using Bulleit Rye mixed with St Germain and lime juice with some red pepper flakes and honey and boy, does that make a nice cocktail.

    Overall, I think you nailed it at the end of your review–this whiskey is unique. Whether you buy it again or decide it’s not worth a revisit, I feel as though it’s something worth buying just to figure out how you feel about it. Sláinte.

  10. I have been mixing Bulleit Rye with Barsmith Old Fasioned mix and this cocktail is lights out! Like Jake states earlier, Angastora aromatic bitters and Angastora Orange bitters is a must. Fresh orange peel and look out. Bulleit knocked it outta the park with their rye. Who knew a $30.00 bottle was so damned good?

  11. I bought a bottle of this and tried it today for the first time and loved it. It’s pretty in-your-face, what with the 95% rye mashbill, but that’s what I want from a rye – spice and bite! It reminded me a bit of the Jim Beam Rye of a few years back when the label was still bright yellow, though I have to say the Bulleit is richer and has more depth. Still not a patch on the Thomas H. Handy straight rye, but as that’s almost impossible to find here in Japan, especially at anything approaching a reasonable price, this bottle of Bulleit Rye Frontier Whiskey will do me just fine. Neat, of course! We’ll leave the cocktails to the girls, eh?

  12. I drink this neat several times a week. Delicious. It is my favorite go to bourbon. I do not like the regular Bulleit Bourbon.

  13. Hey, Josh, just a suggestion–maybe this one is worth a revisit? I have zero clue if they’ve changed anything about this but I had it neat at a bar a few months ago, and the nose was bursting with white pepper and elderflower. It seemed pretty on point to me, rye-spice-wise. I dunno, maybe I was drinking subpar whiskey for long enough that “good enough” seemed amazing.

    • Hey Will,

      I have an unopened bottle I bought last year. I’ll definitley get around to opening it at some point and when I do I’ll revisit and update if needed. Cheers man and thanks for the comment!

      • I tend to agree that the George Dickel is better. I feel like I need to expand my horizons beyond what the state-run Virginia liquor stores will let me get my hands on (Bulleit, Dickel, Jim Beam, Overholt, and then a bunch of top-shelf stuff I can’t afford). James E. Pepper 1776 is the only thing close to a mid-range daily drinker, and I’m actually thinking that Dickel could compete with it in a blind tasting.

        Also, I had no idea that the song “Rye Whiskey” was set around the Clinch River just a few hours southwest of me in Dickenson County, Virginia. I have to say the grain makes better whiskey than flour. I made the mistake of using some rye flour in pizza dough, and while it was a unique experience, I have no desire to replicate it anytime soon.


  14. I guess I’m in reverse on this one ….. Man , this is so excellent neat ! It’s so smooth it’s damn near scary . I’ve only had a couple fingers of it since I was gifted the bottle by a friend but I just wanted to share that I think this is amazing Rye and I’m looking forward to having more of it and really ” getting it ” . I’ve not tried many Rye , just Bullet , Rittenhouse and Jim Beam . Honestly , the Bulleit is light years ahead . I’m sure theres better out there [ ? ] but I just cant imagine , though I look forward to it

    • Cheers John. If you like this you might like the Dickel Rye. It’s the exact same whiskey, but they do a charcoal filtering to it that I think makes it a much better whisky. Though there’s also no reason we can’t like different things either 🙂

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