Technically speaking, Bulleit bourbon has only been around since 1987. That’s when Tom Bulleit, a former lawyer, decided to take a hard left in his career path and go from practicing the law to distilling the brown stuff. However, it’s not like bourbon wasn’t already in his blood. According to Tom, the first batch of Bulleit bourbon was made in 1830 by his great-great-grandfather Augustus.
Apparently, bourbon was something of a passion for Augustus, who continued to perfect his recipe for 30 years. However, all was almost lost when the master distiller himself vanished without a trace in 1860. Legend has it that he was transporting several barrels from Kentucky to New Orleans when his wagon just disappeared. No one knows what happened to him, but fortunately for Tom, his work didn’t evaporate with the rest of him. We choose to believe that Ole’ Augie decided to leave the life of a distiller and found a spot for him to enjoy his creation for the rest of his days.
In modern times, Bulleit bourbon really hit the mainstream in 1999, when the company was bought out by Seagram. In 2001, conglomerate Diageo bought Seagram, and they’re the current owners of the Bulleit brand. Interestingly, Bulleit is made in the same distillery as Four Roses, which uses a similar mash bill for its small-batch bourbon.
As far as the 95 Rye goes, Bulleit is apparently getting back to its roots. Augustus seemed to like the dry, spicy taste of rye bourbon, as his original blend had over two-thirds of it. This version has been around since 2011, and it comes in regular or 12-year if you’re feeling saucy.
Since its debut, this bourbon has won multiple awards, including gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and high marks from the Beverage Testing Institute and the Spirit Journal. With such a refined pedigree, this bourbon has a lot of hype to live up to.