Bulleit proof

When Diageo bought two-thirds of Seagram in 2000, Bulleit went with it, but its founder has remained a consensual partner in the brand. “I’m involved in innovation and marketing, even though I know nothing about marketing. For instance, we’ve had discussions about flavours. But that’s not who we are, we make straight whiskey.”

In 2011 Bulleit Rye was introduced and in January the US saw a second-coming of the limited edition 10 year old. Exports are also being brought up from 40% abv to the domestic Bulleit proof of 90 (45% abv).

Bulleit says he has a favourite whiskey but, like a parent, you never say which one. Whichever it is, it’ll be found on the rocks, allowing for some dilution. “Art Peterson used to say water is to whiskey what oxygen is to wine. There’s no question water opens it up. You can see the molecular change.”

Without a pause, Bulleit is back in Kentucky and is reeling out the family orders: “Mother would have a Highball. And Aunt Jean-Claire – who was a catholic nun – she would drink it straight. She gave herself a dispensation no doubt…”

Bulleit was inducted into the Bourbon Distillers’ Hall of Fame in 2009. Having revived a recipe of bourbon’s history and put it in a bottle that is selling around the world, the only question is why they took so long.