Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Diageo Launches Bulleit 10, Surprising No One

In recent years it has become almost impossible for alcoholic beverage producers to keep their new products a secret until launch. So it is that the new 10-year-old iteration of Bulleit Bourbon was announced today with plenty of fanfare but not much excitement, since everyone has known about it for months.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is part of the problem. Labels for alcoholic beverages have to be approved in advance by the TTB. Each approved application--formally known as a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA)--is public information and easily found on the TTB web site ( COLA trolling is a popular hobby among some enthusiasts.

In addition, producers will often test market their new products, or announce them well in advance to trade audiences such as distributor sales forces. Today, with social media and a camera in every pocket, a new product that makes a brief appearance in Walla Walla, Washington, will have its image broadcast around the world in minutes.

For reasons that are increasingly hard to fathom, company PR departments and their agencies steadfastly refuse to confirm the new offerings until the official release date. The ancient practice of giving favored journalists the first taste has become an empty gesture.

So it is that today marks the official launch of Bulleit 10, which made its first appearance on on November 10th. It should begin to appear on store shelves, at about $45, toward the end of this month. It will be ever-so-slightly higher in proof than standard Bulleit, 91.2° proof (45.6% ABV) instead of 90° proof (45% ABV).

Here's a fun game you can play. The press release mistakenly states the Bulleit 10 ABV as 45.5%. Let's see how many 'journalists' fail to catch the mistake. (ABV is always proof divided by two.)

Since the standard Bulleit Bourbon expression is NAS (no age statement), it's impossible to know how much older the 10-year-old version even is, but it's bound to be good. Bulleit Bourbon is made for Diageo by Four Roses and everything they make is good.


Josh Feldman said...

The surprise might be pre-empted but it's still cool to see Bulleit going up-market with an age statement expression. I believe that other than special limited editions this will be the first regular issued thing out of Four Roses with an age statement. Right? That's pretty cool right there. I might even have to buy a bottle...

Chuck Cowdery said...

They are calling it a 'limited offering' but not a 'limited edition,' so one assumes it is a permanent line extension.

Anonymous said...

Four Roses Single Barrel may not have an age statement on the label, but JR will give you that information and a whole lot more, if you ask. Therefore, I don't consider the 10 year statement as anything special for Four Roses - their emphasis is on selecting barrels at their peak, not meeting a minimum age criterion.

Lazer said...

Sku outed Bulleit 10 on 10/26/12 which pre-dates the 11/10/12 post on

Do we know that this is FR juice or is it a guess? I would be disappointed if I bought it assuming it was 10yr FR and finding it was really 10yr LDI or MPG or whatever they call themselves.

Chuck Cowdery said...

An age statement even by the august Jim Rutledge is not the same as a label age statement. As for the origin, Diageo insists that every drop of Bulleit Bourbon is made at Four Roses and no one at Four Roses will say anything to the contrary.

Anonymous said...

So true, as I pointed out - JR's statements are so much more than just label age statements [and more valuable to smart consumers, too]!

BMc said...

Bulleit tastes like a Four Roses product. How there could be a debate about its provenance is beyond me. Maybe *some* of it can come from other places, but the taste profile is Four Roses, dead-on.

Gino said...

Bulliet is mt fav, and FR several spots down the line.
one is rough and ready with rye, the other juicy fruity.

how they taste 'like' anything related is beyond me.

i cant wait to see the 10yr Bulliet in my glass.