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Sam has 20,000 followers on Instagram and that number grows every day. We are proud to be one of his followers and when he commented that he couldn’t get a bottle of Bulleit’s new expression, “Blenders Select”, we stepped up to ensure he had one in his collection. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work in the bourbon culture after all? You give back more than you receive and The Bourbon Road has received on bountiful measures.
Now Sam had never done a podcast before and was a little nervous. With a little Liquid courage the conversation flowed great and we hope you enjoy our interview with Sam. With all that, how does the United Kingdom and Bourbon tie together though? Is there a Bourbon brand that can trace its roots back to the UK? That was two easy of a question wasn’t it. Several can trace their lineage to the British Islands.
As Great Britain migrated to North America they brought with them their love of Whiskey. In the very early days of our nation they made Rye Whiskey to quench their thirst but as they migrated even further west into the American Frontier corn became the prevalent grain and with it Bourbon was born. The bourbon still had the rye spice that these early settlers craved and enjoyed though.
High rye bourbons have around 20-35% rye in a bourbon mash bill. This extra boost of rye grain gives these bourbon bottlings a spicy complexity. One such bourbon is Bulleit Frontier Whiskey with its mash bill of 68% corn, 28% rye, and 4% malted barley. Now to when Bulleit Bourbon was born is somewhat of a mystery. You see the proclaimed founder of this spicy juice is said to be Augustus Bulleit, a tavern owner in Louisville Kentucky in the early 1800’s, who was dedicated to a single goal: the creation of a bourbon unique in flavor. After experimenting with countless varieties, he finally came upon a bourbon with the character he had long sought after.
Legend has it that in 1860 he loaded up a flat-bottom boat full of bourbon barrels and left for New Orleans to sell them and just like that he was never seen again. His family search endlessly for finding no trace of the boat or Augustus. Soon after his disappearance, the American Civil War broke out and the search for Augustus Bulleit became lost in time. What’s even stranger is that this entire Legend and possibly Augustus was all a marketing creation by Diageo (the parent company) to Bulleit.
Tom Bulleit actually began distilling Bulleit Bourbon in 1987, inspired by his great-great-grandfather Augustus Bulleit, who made a high-rye whiskey between 1830-1860. He sold the brand to Seagram in 1997 and Diageo acquired the brand in the early 2000’s. Is your head spinning yet? In 2017 Diageo opened a new Bulleit distillery. The 300-acre $115 million facility is located just east of Shelbyville in Shelby County, Kentucky. It is designed to eventually operate at a peak capacity of
1.8 million proof gallons annually. In June 2019 Bulleit moved into its new visitors' center at its Shelbyville distillery in Kentucky. This distillery and visitors center has brought much needed jobs and revenue to a rural Kentucky community.
Today Bulleit produces 5 expressions including a Rye whiskey that are all simply delicious and very affordable. I can also attest that their barrel selection program is putting out some fine picks as I own two different bottles. Bulleit was also Sam’s first bourbon and it seems he loves them as he now owns all five expressions thanks to the bourbon culture. Just remember to give more than you take and we will all be happy bourbon drinkers together.
So grab some Frontier Whiskey, pour a glass and sit back as Jim and I take The Bourbon House down The Bourbon Road while sipping on Bulleit 10 year and Blenders Select.
Mike (Big Chief)