5 Bottled in Bond Whiskeys to Try Now
January 24, 2023 –––––– Ted Simmons
Bottled in bond whiskey has risen in prominence in recent years, more than a century after passage of the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. At the time, it was difficult to ensure that what was being sold as whiskey wasn’t tampered with or adulterated, and so the government intervened, requiring any whiskey labeled as bottled in bond, or bonded, to be bottled at 50% ABV/100 proof, aged for a minimum of 4 years, and made at one distillery, in one distilling season (January to June, known as Spring, or July to December, known as Fall).
Today bottled in bond continues to be seen as an indicator of quality, with many brands embracing the specifications. Our 2022 Whisky of the Year, Jack Daniel’s Bonded, is one such whiskey, delivering tremendous flavor and value at just $30. The Top 20 list has featured other bottled in bond whiskeys in previous years as well, including Old Fitzgerald 11 year old Bottled in Bond bourbon, Old Overholt Bottled in Bond Rye, Heaven Hill 7 year old Bottled in Bond, 1792 Bottled in Bond, and George Dickel Bottled in Bond, our Whisky of the Year in 2019.
The Winter 2022 Buying Guide likewise has its share of bottled in bond whiskeys, and not just in bourbon. There are three bottled in bond ryes reviewed, coming from New Riff, Laws Whiskey House, and Boondocks and scoring between 89 and 90 points.
New Bottled in Bond Whiskeys Worth Finding
New Riff Bottled in Bond Balboa Rye 90 points, 50%, $50This takes its name from the heirloom variety of rye distilled to create this fruity and spicy sipper. On the nose, pointed notes of pepper and toasted rye bread brush against lemon poppyseed cake, grape jelly, and balanced oak. On the palate, there’s more sweet lemon, with fig cookies, vanilla ice cream, and a hint of jelly on toast. The finish is intense, with a sting of spice and grain.—Shane English
Laws Whiskey House 7 year old Bottled In Bond San Luis Valley Rye (Batch 3)90 points, 50%, $80Brown sugar, toasted nuts, cinnamon stick, glazed donut, and vanilla bean greet the nose, making for an inviting entryway. The palate delivers more mouthwatering flavors, though they’re darker here—think dark chocolate, black coffee, toasted oak, and cardamom. While it has notable cinnamon spice, it’s never overpowering. Somewhat surprisingly there’s a bright pop of raspberry fruit on the finish, and it’s accented by flourless chocolate cake that lingers on for quite a while.—Julia Higgins
New Riff Red Turkey Wheat Bottled in Bond Bourbon90 points, 50%, $50Dry on the nose at first, but opens up to reveal sweet notes of Christmas cake, raisins, banana chips, toffee, and coffee cake, with water bringing lots of vanilla. The palate is smooth, offering flavors of cinnamon cake, baking spice, dried figs, and white pepper. The finish has good length and balance, and is loaded with spice. Adding water brings out spiced chocolate. A big, hefty whiskey that is very approachable.—David Fleming
Boondocks Bottled in Bond Rye89 points, 50%, $55Bright citrus immediately jumps out on the nose—orange peel and clementine—along with dried mango, cinnamon butter, brown sugar, fresh basil, salted peanuts, and lemon icing. It’s woodsy, earthy, dry, and intense. The fruitiness carries over to the palate, which delivers red apples, raisins, cocoa powder, mint, and espresso beans. Dusty oak, brownie batter, and dried earthiness anchor the finish. Can be blunt at times, but enjoyable nonetheless.—Ted Simmons
Whatever Bottled in Bond Bourbon89 points, 50%, $90There is a musty and dusty quality on the nose, like antique furniture or old books in the attic. Other aromas include raw honey, lemon pepper seasoning, dried cherries, and strawberry rhubarb pie. Creamy, fruity, and balanced, the palate delivers honeyed almonds, red berries, and apricots. The finish is long and dusty, with Red Vines and additional spice. It is slightly irregular in profile but shows satisfactory construction and cohesion.—Ted Simmons