Everything You Need to Know About Bulleit Rye 12-Year-Old Whiskey

Bulleit 12-Year Rye. Courtesy Bulleit.
Bulleit 12-Year Rye. Courtesy Bulleit.

Bottles of Bulleit 12-Year Rye are already on some select shelves, but before you buy, we gathered the pertinent information to help you decide if this new release is worth your time. Here’s what you need to know.

12-Year Rye is the fifth Bulleit whiskey to be released in the brand’s modern history, but only the second rye so far. The 95 percent rye mashbill takes some finessing as it gets older, and in a press release, Bulleit Blender Andrew Mackay says balance was of key importance.

“Whiskey is heavily influenced by barrel aging, and as a blender, one of our most important responsibilities is to taste how the wood impacts the flavor of the liquid and brings out different notes,” said Mackay. “The barrels we mingled to produce Bulleit Rye 12-Year-Old were hand-selected for aging based on early identification of their superior quality. Rye’s signature spiciness is certainly still prominent, and this extra aging complements that without being overwhelming as new levels of softness, clove character and vanilla and oak notes are evident. It’s a beautiful whiskey to sip slowly and responsibly.”

Bulleit says the 12-year-old rye is “a pleasantly dry, bold rye that possesses notes of dried orchard fruits with a hint of baking spice and oak on the nose. At 92 proof (46 percent ABV), this latest Bulleit release has a clean, crisp palate with flavors of dried pear, light toffee and oak with a hint of graham cracker spice. The finish is enjoyable with light wood and spice notes.”

While the $50 price tag is certainly alluring, you’ll have to do some searching; Bulleit 12 is only available in select markets right now, including Washington D.C., CO, IL, NY, OH, OR, CA, KY, TX, GA, NJ, AZ, MA, and MD. 

Bulleit limited edition bottles have a tendency to appear, disappear, then start re-appearing regularly. We saw it with Cask Strength and Bulleit 10 Bourbon. We don’t know if there will be future batches at regular intervals—it would seem so, but there’s no disclosed schedule—so if you like it, you may want to get in the habit of stocking up.

G. Clay Whittaker
Clay is Editor at Large of The Bourbon Review. He has written about whiskey, food, drink, and culture for Esquire, Playboy, Men's Journal, Popular Science, Southern Living, Maxim, among others.