Bottled-in-bond whiskeys have to be aged for a minimum of four years | Source: Adam Jaime
First passed in 1897, the Bottled-in-Bond Act is a crucial piece of quality control that defines the whiskey industry. For a bourbon to be labeled ‘bonded’ or ‘bottled-in-bond,’ it must adhere to this prominent American legislation.
The Act states a whiskey must be aged in a United States’ federally bonded barrelhouse for a minimum of four years, bottled at 100 proof, and be the product of one distillery and one distilling season.
Now, 125 years on from the Act’s creation, there are countless high-proof drams worth sipping on. Let’s take a look at the best bourbons from the growing bottled-in-bond category in the whiskey industry.
Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon
Producing one of the most storied bottled-in-bond bourbons, the Old Grand-Dad brand is owned by Beam Suntory and delivered as part of its “The Olds” collection. Made from a high-rye mashbill containing 27 per cent rye, it’s known for a bold, rich flavour, heavy cinnamon spice and caramel finish.
I don’t know: Caramel, rye spices, pine, dried apricot, cherry
Taste: Caramel, light oak & honey
Finish: Caramel, peanuts and light honey sweetness continue into a fairly soft finish
Henry McKenna 10 Bottled-in-Bond
The longest aged bottled-in-bond spirit available at 10 years, this single barrel bourbon won the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition’s Best in Show Whiskey in 2019. The high-proof bourbon is named in honor of its Irish immigrant creator Henry McKenna, who adapted his family’s whiskey recipe to utilize grains found in Kentucky.
I don’t know: Vanilla, caramel, oak, and a light herbaceous note
Taste: Smooth oak, sharp spices, honey, and sweetness
Finish: Long, sweet, and spicy
Jack Daniel’s Triple Mash Bottled-in-Bond
From one of the biggest names in bourbon, Jack Daniel’s new Triple Mash bottled-in-bond Tennessee whiskey takes everything you know about the classic No. 7 label to the next level. It’s a blend of three whiskeys, all distilled at the same distillery – at 60 per cent Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye, at 20 per cent Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and at 20 per cent Jack Daniel’s American Malt. The result is a more complex palette than regular Jacks but with familiarity – a solid and reliable everyday drinker with something extra.
I don’t know: Gentle, earthy aroma, woods, raspberries, plum, fig
Taste: Sweet flavours, raspberry, dark cherry, cola, marzipan and rich oak
Finish: Malt, rye spice, sweet cinnamon and vanilla
Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond
This Kentucky straight bourbon is the second of ten in Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond series. Housed in a handsome antique replica decanter, the well-balanced whiskey delivers a palate rich with honey, oak, and stone fruit. Old Fitzgerald has been released biannually since 2018 and with each release different from the last, expect new flavors every time.
I don’t know: Deliciously sweet and fruity, cherry, raspberry, sweet vanilla, fried dough, toffee, oak
Taste: Cherry, strawberry jam, fig, oak, French vanilla ice cream
Finish: Great intensity, dry-aged oak, butterscotch, vanilla custard, leather, cigar box
Kings County Bottled in Bond
A rising star in the craft distilling world, Kings County was the first distillery to open in Brooklyn since prohibition. Created from an 80 per cent corn and 20 per cent malted barley mash bill, the rich whiskey delivers hints of brown sugar, milk chocolate, sweet vanilla beans, and honey, with a nice finish of wood char and subtle spices.
I don’t know: Caramel, corn, vanilla and strawberry, buttercream frosting, and bread pudding
Taste: Cocoa beans, dark brown sugar, and wet oak
Finish: Dry oak and bittersweet chocolate, touch of leather, vanilla, and malt
New Riff Bourbon Bottled in Bond
Opening in 2014, this Kentucky bourbon marks the first batch of distillery-made bourbon from New Riff Distilling. Standing up to any established Kentucky Bourbons, New Riff delivers a deep palette that elegantly balances classic vanilla notes with an assertive dose of spice.
I don’t know: Floral, cinnamon, vanilla, grain, and perfume
Taste: Rye spice, grain, caramel, cinnamon, and frosting
Finish: caramel and spice
If you’re a whiskey fan who enjoys a different dram, check out the best Irish drops and the best Suntory whiskeys. And if you want your whiskey delivered straight to your door, you’ll need one of these whiskey subscription services.