As the story goes, founder of Bulleit, Tom Bulleit, spent the last year traveling around the country, debuting a new whiskey to bartenders.
His goal was to see what the bartenders thought about a new release that would be based on a higher proof as opposed to a new flavor, finish, or anything else that has come to define new in the whiskey world. What came of these travels is Bulleit’s newest release, Barrel Strength Frontier Whiskey.
This barrel strength whiskey is made from a high-rye mash bill (one-third rye, two-thirds corn) and distilled and bottled in Kentucky.
Nose: Like you might expect from a barrel-strength spirit, there’s a good whiff of alcohol on the front of the nose (it’s muted slightly by water, but still present). Underneath, the frontier whiskey has hints of spice, warm vanilla and oak.
Palate: A warming palate that has notes of butterscotch and toffee, bolstered by toasted oak notes. On the back end of the palate, there’s a hint of baking spice as well, though the spice is less prominent than in the nose.
Finish: The frontier whiskey has a fairly long finish, one that dries out the mouth quickly and effectively. In a way, it is like biting into the popsicle stick at the end of a popsicle, if the popsicle stick had been soaked in whiskey (to Popsicle and/or Good Humor: you’re welcome for the best idea of 2017). The oak flavor stands out the most with an undercurrent of sweet toffee to round everything out.
Final Thoughts: Barrel strength spirits are an interesting category to me. On one hand, these higher-proof spirits are good for showcasing the flavors of a specific liquor in a cocktail. The notes that the distiller intended to be there shine above the other ingredients that might be muted otherwise. On the other hand, there are just some days that require a good, strong whiskey with an ice cube (or no cube, depending on the day). Bulleit’s Frontier Whiskey falls into the latter camp for me. It’s backbone is there and the liquid warms the gums in a lovely way.
Bulleit Barrel Strength Frontier Whiskey retails for $49.99.