In an effort to protect drinkers from consuming adulterated spirits in the late 19th century—think flavorings and other chemicals, some safe and others not so safe—the US Congress passed the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897. As a result, spirits could be monitored by the government all the way from still to warehouse to bottle. Those whiskey makers who were making the “good” stuff and lobbied for the Act rejoiced, as their products now could have an official seal of approval, as it were. Bonded whiskey today still has that sense of quality and authenticity for consumers.
By the way, bonded whiskey isn’t the only spirit type that can be bottled-in-bond. There are bonded brandies—Laird’s is a prime example of this—and even bonded rums. We’ve gone over the requirements of bonded whiskey before, but it never hurts to reiterate the basics.
Bonded Whiskey Requirements
First, the whiskey must be made at one distillery. Next, it must be produced in a single distillation season. For these purposes, January through June is one season (spring) and July through December is another (fall). Then it must be aged for at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse. And finally, it must be bottled at 50% ABV. There is more to the regulations regarding the registered distillery number and state of distillation to be printed on the label which you can read about here if you’re so inclined.
Since bonded whiskey has both a decent age as a minimum requirement AND is 100 proof, even the youngest versions are great in a bar setting. And while there are some fantastic extra-aged bonded whiskey on the market today, these no-age statement releases are perfect to mix up your next cocktail. Best of all, they’re easy on your pocketbook.
Early Times first released a bonded whiskey back in the 1940s. This “revival” release has a mash bill of 79% corn, 11% rye and 10% malted barley.
Old Grand-Dad is based on the high-rye bourbon recipe made famous by Basil Hayden—it’s his picture on the bottle. This Bottled-In-Bond version of Old Grand-Dad Bourbon falls under “The Olds” whiskeys for Jim Beam along with its sister brand Old Overholt Rye. Speaking of which, see the next listing.
That’s right folks, a bonded version of Old Overholt Rye. This bonded whiskey launched in February 2018. Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey is named after Abraham Overholt, a Pennsylvanian distiller (1784-1870). It’s the oldest, continuously produced rye whiskey brand in the US.
Founded in 1783 as the first commercial distillery in Kentucky, Evan Williams built his distillery along the banks of the Ohio River. Today, Evan Williams Bourbon is distilled only blocks from the site of his original distillery. This bonded bourbon is produced with a mash bill of 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malt.
One of the heroes of the rye world, Rittenhouse is a must have bonded whiskey for your home bar. Neat, on the rocks or in a cocktail, it’s a bargain and always a welcome gift for both beginner or experienced drinkers.
This bonded whiskey was introduced in 2015 to satisfy bartenders and whiskey drinkers who had been asking Master Distiller Fred Noe for a version to be released. You might also be interested in Beam’s Old Tub Kentucky Straight Bourbon. It too is bottled-in-bond. Previously, Old Tub was only sold in 375ml bottles at Jim Beam’s American Stillhouse shop in Clermont, Kentucky. However, this summer, it was released as a limited edition version nationwide in 750ml bottles. It’s priced about the same price as this Jim Beam Bonded release.
Old Forester released this bourbon to commemorate the year the Bottled in Bond Act was enacted.
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