T. W. Bullitt was born into a family with a long history in Jefferson County, Kentucky. Bullitt County, Kentucky was named for this family. Their family estate is Oxmoor Farm in eastern Jefferson County and in the family since the 18th century. Thomas Bullitt was a lawyer and had several clients in the liquor industry in Kentucky, including the Double Springs Distillery near Prospect, Kentucky, a short drive from Oxmoor Farm. The result is that Bullitt received many bottles of Bourbon, including this Bourbon, as gifts during his lifetime.
This Bourbon is from the 1960s and I estimate that it was probably bottled in or soon after 1962. The reason I believe this is the 12 year age statement. In 1958 the bonding period was raised from 8 years to 20 years. Before 1958, distilleries had to take their whiskey out of bond and pay the taxes on the whiskey. The result was that there was very little whiskey aged for more than 8 years. Distilleries did not want to lose the tax money spent on whiskey that would evaporate with additional aging after it was removed from bond. The year 1962 is four years after this increase in the bonding period and probably the first year Double Springs Distillery had 12 year old barrels in their warehouses.
This is probably a single barrel product since the whiskey was bottled exclusively for Bullitt, but there is no indication on the label of this fact. Many distilleries bottled single barrels of whiskey for individuals at that time, but none of them considered this important at that time. It would take another two decades before Elmer T. Lee convinced the people at what is now Buffalo Trace that bottling barrels one at a time would be a great marketing plan for super-premium Bourbons.
T.W. Bullitt Private Stock Bourbon
Date: circa 1962
Age: 12 Years Old
Nose: Caramel, fine leather, ripe pears and pepper spice with some oak wood.
Taste: Caramel and pepper spice up front with some ripe pears and apples in the background and a smoky oak wood leading into the finish. When tasted with a dried cranberry, the sweetness is enhanced with lots of fruit and caramel and less pepper spice. When tasted with a pecan the caramel is reduced and a hint of lemon zest joins the pepper up front.
Finish: Long and dry with oak and pepper spice being balanced out by lingering caramel sweetness. The dried cranberry enhanced the oak and reduced the pepper in the finish. The pecan made the finish very long and dry with lots of oak and pepper.
I am pairing this Bourbon with an Esteban Carreras “Unforgiven” Sumatra Toro Grande cigar that was aged for 2 years in an 18-year-old rum barrel. I find the smoke to be sweet with vanilla and coffee with just a hint of caramel sweetness from the rum and just a hint of cedar spiciness. The Bourbon brought forward the sweet caramel notes and enhanced the cedar spiciness. The smoke added a note of dark chocolate to the Bourbon and added a hint of coffee to that chocolate note. A very nice pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller