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BobA
01-05-2005, 17:29
I was plowing through some old threads and saw some discussion on the value of bonded bottlings as examples of the distillers work. I greatly enjoy the OGD BIB - probably my most common pour right now - and thought that as I continue my taste explorations, it might be interesting to sample some more bondeds, especially as BIB's are often mentioned in "value" discussions. I'll keep an eye out for the Old Fitz BIB, but what other bonded bottlings are still out there that I might run into? I'm in Atlanta, if that helps.

Thanks.

Bob

ratcheer
01-05-2005, 19:25
J. W. Dant comes to mind, but I don't recommend it.

Some people say they can find Old Forester BIB, but in my state it is just labeled as 100-proof, not specifically designated as BIB.

Tim

jbewley
01-05-2005, 19:45
I still see a ton of Old Charter BIB around Tulsa, but from what everyone says in the thread below, it's apparently old stock.
Old Charter BIB Discussion (http://www.straightbourbon.comhttp://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showflat.php?Cat=0&Board=General&Number=31792&Searchpage=1&Main=31590&Words=%2Bcharter+%2Bbib&topic=&Search=true#Post31792)

- Jeff

wrbriggs
01-06-2005, 06:15
Some people say they can find Old Forester BIB, but in my state it is just labeled as 100-proof, not specifically designated as BIB.

Even though they removed the "BIB" from the label, I believe that Old Forester 100 proof still meets the BIB requirements, and is a BIB bourbon.

I have also heard that Knob Creek meets the BIB requirements, as does Rock Hill Farms (by being single barrel and 100 proof, since single barrel by definition is same distiller / same season).

Gillman
01-06-2005, 08:22
The more I think about it, the more I conclude that 100 proof (and bonded where available) was a guarantee of sufficient strength to make a proper highball. I have never seen data but presume that most whiskey until recent decades was consumed in highball form. Pour a tall one with 100 proof and you get a proper drink. Pour a tall one with 80 proof and maybe even 86, and some people would note the difference. As for 90, well, I am not sure... Today ice is ubiquitous and highballs made with ice (which take up a good part of the volume before melting) don't need 100 proof to taste good, and even more so for drinks poured on rocks in low glasses. But in, say, 1890, I believe ice was not as available as today. I think people often took whiskey tall and wanted a drink that would taste good and have the required effect even if no ice was used. Sure, people used shot glasses and made cocktails such as Manhattans in low glasses; for them a strong whiskey was a "bonus", or possibly, for those who favoured a milder drink, an irritant unless they knew enough to dilute but 100 proof was not made for any of these drinkers, I think. Anyway bonded is still a guarantee of quality. I saw by the way a bonded Heaven Hill in Florida on my recent trip in a new bottle and label (not the square-type bottle with the faux-aged yellowish label). That must be good, I am sure. Of the recent bondeds I have tried Ancient Age made a very good impression.

Gary

TrueBarrel
01-06-2005, 12:43
snip . . .
I have also heard that Knob Creek meets the BIB requirements, as does Rock Hill Farms (by being single barrel and 100 proof, since single barrel by definition is same distiller / same season).



Although the RHF bottle doesn't so state, the back of the box it comes in states BIB.

cowdery
01-06-2005, 17:01
According to the makers of both Old Forester 100-proof and Knob Creek, both products are bonds despite not saying so on the label.

Very Old Barton BIB is very good.

bluesbassdad
01-06-2005, 20:18
Chuck,

If one wished to read a comprehensive article, one written by a bourbon expert beholden to no one, on the subject of bonded bourbon, where should one look? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Yours truly,
Dave Morefield

angelshare
01-07-2005, 05:15
I'll keep an eye out for the Old Fitz BIB, but what other bonded bottlings are still out there that I might run into?



I don't know about the selection in Atlanta/GA specifically; the bonded whiskey in VA is pretty limited. I think there are three or four availalable in state stores, including Tim's apparent favorite http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif JW Dant.

Largely from some out of state travels, bonded whiskey on our shelf not really discussed above currently includes:

Old Heaven Hill BIB
Old Heaven Hill 10 year BIB
Henry Mckenna SB BIB http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
JTS Brown BIB

We also have Old Fitz BIB, which it sounds like you are seeking out; I would agree that it's worth looking for it.

RE: VOB 100 proof - our current bottle does not say "BIB," but it's still just as good as it ever was IMHO. Maybe they just dropped it from the label.

RHF is available in VA as a special order item. We have about a quarter of a bottle left from a couple of years worth of stretching it out. It is really good, but in VA, given the effort and expense to get it, it's not a bargain.

I agree that OGD BIB is a good value and a great whiskey, although I really like the 86 proof also. Somehow I've never gotten around to doing a side-by-side.

Gillman
01-07-2005, 05:54
Good comments, and they reveal also a possible error in an earlier post of mine. I suggested Heaven Hill's current BOB may have new labelling. The bottle I saw in Florida was bonded but not (if memory serves) 10 years old, it had a white label and a rounded bottle shape. That bottle probably is a different offering from the 10 year old in the square bottle with the buff label, so in all likelihood no labelling change has been made.

On whether bondeds differ from expressions of the brand at lower proof, they do in my experience, even beyond the alcohol difference. OGD 86 proof, an excellent whiskey, usually tastes more complex than 114, with a fruity note I have never detected in the 114. As well the heavy rye note in the 114 seems muted (or more so) in the 86. Ancient Age bonded whiskey has a delightful, frank, singularity of flavor whereas the regular AA is more complex. Yet another example: the fruity, blackcurrant-like (almost rum-like) flavour of Jim Beam Black Label is different than the rich, heady all-bourbon taste of Knob Creek. The reasons for these differences are, I think, the mingling of many barrels for the standard expressions vs. the more uniform source for the bondeds and also the design of the tasting panels to produce a pleasing, consistent flavour for the lower proof standard expressions. Each version has its merits, of course.

Gary

cowdery
01-07-2005, 09:41
Hummm, let me think. I do recall an article entitled, "'The Good Stuff,' Once Again? Reconsidering Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon," which appeared in Malt Advocate, Volume 11, Number 3 (Third Quarter 2002 Issue). I seem to recall that it was written by a bourbon expert who is beholden to no one and also a fine looking man, if memory serves.

camduncan
01-07-2005, 13:11
I'll keep an eye out for the Old Fitz BIB, but what other bonded bottlings are still out there that I might run into?



Downunder & in many of the Asia/Pacific Duty Free stores (Australia, New Zealand & Fiji I can speak for personally), we get Jim Beam Gold Label Bottled in Bond.
As far as I know, it is the only "stated" BIB product that our market has.

shoshani
01-07-2005, 14:08
Chuck,

If one wished to read a comprehensive article, one written by a bourbon expert beholden to no one, on the subject of bonded bourbon, where should one look? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif




Jim Murray is especially beholden to no one. If he is irritated with or dislikes any brand or bottling, he does not hesitate to make his opinion known. I think the most comprehensive negative review I've ever seen him write was for the original bottling of 20YO Pappy, but obviously not everyone agreed with him. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Bottling in Bond really isn't necessary anymore, I believe. It was a law that was enacted to protect the public from the products of unscrupulous distillers and pseudo-rectifiers who were diluting spirits with flavorings and colorings, then bottling the result as "straight whiskey". To qualify as Bottled in Bond, the product had to be genuine straight whiskey, kept in bonded warehouses for a minimum of four years' maturation, mingled from the same distilling season, and bottled at 100 proof - among other requirements that I cannot recall at the moment.

But that was all some seventy years before the US Government set guidelines for what constitutes straight whiskey (and straight bourbon, Kentucky straight bourbon, straight rye, and Tennessee) vs blended whiskey...I believe this was slightly more liberal, allowing for a minimum proof of 80 and not requiring the mingling of a single season's output - but requiring new charred barrels and forbidding any coloring or flavoring additives. These laws have pretty much made the Bottling-In-Bond legislation obsolete. The marketplace has made it obsolete as well; there is no law requiring straight whiskey to be bottled at 100 proof, but there is still a substantial market for 100+ proof whiskey, and so long as that market is there it will be happily provided for by the distillers, rectifiers, and marketers.

TNbourbon
01-07-2005, 15:08
I suggested Heaven Hill's current BOB may have new labelling. The bottle I saw in Florida was bonded but not (if memory serves) 10 years old, it had a white label and a rounded bottle shape. That bottle probably is a different offering from the 10 year old in the square bottle with the buff label, so in all likelihood no labelling change has been made.



Either Heaven Hill puts out quite a variety of BIBs, or there's a lot of old stock floating around out there -- I have the square-bottle "Very Rare Old" 10yo BIB, and recently finished a 375 of a no-age-statement (presumably, then 4yo) gold-label version with BIB written across a red stripe at the top of the label. Your 10yo with a buff label would make three, at least.

wrbriggs
01-07-2005, 15:28
I cordially disagree. Others have made the argument more eloquently than I, but I think that BIB expressions truly highlight the distiller's art, more than the "minglers" art.

angelshare
01-07-2005, 18:34
Good comments, and they reveal also a possible error in an earlier post of mine. I suggested Heaven Hill's current BOB may have new labelling. The bottle I saw in Florida was bonded but not (if memory serves) 10 years old, it had a white label and a rounded bottle shape. That bottle probably is a different offering from the 10 year old in the square bottle with the buff label, so in all likelihood no labelling change has been made.



A white label on a rounded bottle? I don't think I've seen that BIB, although none of the eponymous Heaven Hill brands are available in VA, so we don't see many of them at all unless we travel. Do you remember if it was called "Old Heaven Hill" or just "Heaven Hill?" I'm not sure that my post suggests an error on your part - couldn't the bottle you saw in Florida be an "updated" labelling of the gold BIB?

I didn't mention it earlier, but EW BIB is available in VA. We don't have any right now, but we have in the past. We found it unimpressive, but not "bad."

Does anybody know how the JTS Brown BIB differs from the OHH or EW BIB? Can you label the "same" BIB differently? IE, if you have a whiskey "pool" that was distilled in 1997 and bottled at 100 proof in 2001, could you call half of it JTS Brown and half Evan Williams? If so, is that done in practice?

Hmm...I wonder if Bettye Jo knows the inside scoop on all these HH BIBs... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

As a visual reference, here is a photo of the two bottles I referenced. You might note that the 10 year has been opened preferentially, but we haven't done a side-by-side here, either.

TNbourbon
01-07-2005, 19:57
Those are the two bottles I have/have had recently. I really like the 10yo "Very Rare Old". Nothing wrong with the gold-label one -- it's just analogous to comparing chocolate syrup to chocolate fudge.

cowdery
01-07-2005, 20:11
You are absolutely right, Mike, that "Bottling in Bond really isn't necessary anymore," but the fact that it is unnecessary with regard to the practices it was intended to correct doesn't mean it can't still be a good thing. What I call the "singularity requirements" of the BIB designation put it somewhere in between a standard straight and a single barrel. Because a bond must be made by one distiller at one distillery in one season, it has those characteristics in common with a single barrel, as opposed to a straight which can include whiskey of different ages and even whiskey from different sources. That doesn't make one better than the other, just different. In fact, some bonds are pretty ordinary, but the existence of the designation gives us one more way to actually know what we're getting, which I consider a good thing.

cowdery
01-07-2005, 20:22
There is nothing in the regulations to prevent Heaven Hill from taking its bonded whiskey and selling some of it as Heaven Hill BIB and some of it as J.T.S. Brown BIB, or J.W. Dant or anything else. It is really only the whiskey in the individual bottle that has to be all from the same distiller, distillery and season. The J.T.S. Brown might be from a different distiller/distillery/season, but it doesn't have to be.

As for labels, I don't know to what extent this is still the case (Bettye Jo will know) but Heaven Hill has traditionally been very happy to let its distributors have unique, if only slightly different, labels, especially for its Heaven Hill brands and some of its other lesser brands (with Evan Williams, for example, they're more prone to try to keep everything uniform). So you might very well see "Old Heaven Hill BIB 10-year-old" with a white label in one state and "Heaven Hill 10-year-old BIB" (i.e., no "old" and slightly different arragement of the words) with a gold label in a different state. The difference doesn't mean anything except one distributor liked the gold label and the other liked the white label, and Heaven Hill was happy to oblige.

As a practical matter, distributors may like this arrangement because it helps them monitor poaching, i.e., a distributor selling in another distributor's territory. Isn't that illegal? In many places it is and I'm shocked, shocked, that such a thing could take place.

cowdery
01-07-2005, 20:35
I also seem to recall an article entitled, "Bonded Bourbon Still A Unique Whiskey Experience," that appeared in the March, 2001 (Vol. 5, No. 5) issue of a publication called The Bourbon Country Reader.

cowdery
01-07-2005, 20:48
Jim Murray is especially beholden to no one.



Most of Jim Murray's income comes from consulting fees and other compensation he receives from distilleries, mostly for conducting tastings for them with their big customers. I'm not suggesting he colors any reviews based on who is or is not retaining his consulting services. I have no information about that one way or the other, but to say he is not "beholden" ("Owing something, such as gratitude, to another; indebted.") might not be entirely accurate.

But not to be coy, what do I really think? I think Jim likes to bite the hand that feeds him from time to time. He's that way. Might his opinion of a whiskey also reflect his opinion of the people who make it? I can't say no, since he doesn't taste blind. I know most of the whiskey writers (there aren't that many of us) and I don't think honesty is really a problem with anybody. Anybody in this business who is selling his soul is selling it cheap, because it doesn't pay that well.

So I guess, Mike, I really would only quarrel with you about the word "especially." Just because Jim has slammed a couple of products, that doesn't necessarily make him less "beholden" than other people.

shoshani
01-08-2005, 17:17
Oh yes...let me hasten to clarify! When I said that bottling in bond isn't necessary, I meant from the standpoint of legal requirements. I did not mean to imply that it wasn't necessarily desirable, though. Indeed, my first bourbons were BIBs (Old Grand-Dad, Old Taylor, and Old Fitz), and today I am often unimpressed with bottlings lower than 100 proof.

My tastes were carved out on the stuff and I will always keep a space for it on the liquor shelf of my heart, but I am grateful that the market is such that whiskey that approaches the quality of BIB is readily available...that it's not a world of 80 proof whiskey taking over out there, which is what it really seemed to be (to me at least)back in the 80s, when I was laughed at for drinking "WW II Veterans' Whiskey" instead of lighter blends - some of which I thought tasted more like lighter fuel. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Michael Shoshani
Chicago

Gillman
01-09-2005, 06:39
This discussion reminds me of a statement which whisky and beer expert Michael Jackson once made in relation to beer. He said each time a traditional process is altered, something is taken away from the drink. The change may be subtle, but a series of changes taken together means a drink becomes something different than it was and often, lesser. He had in mind changes such as moving to cylindro-conical fermenters from open vat fermenters, increasing the use of refrigeration (especially again in relation to ale production), use of hop extracts instead of full flowers, use of grain adjunct to substitute for barley malt, and so on. One can apply this perspective usefully to bottled-in-bond. While legal in origin the concept (as for later bourbon regulation) was to ensure, albeit for certain purposes, the integrity of the product. Originally, whiskey was sent in barrel to the customer or the vendors. I doubt mingling was practiced, not methodically anyway. Customers, certainly those who paid for the best product, got whiskey uncut and tasting pure and distinctive of its season and source and probably around 100 proof if not higher. Later, bottling in bond ensured fidelity to this original practice for bottled whiskey and quality was maintained. The practice subsequently (which existed before) to dilute, mingle and blend pure, aged whiskey has continued to this day, but those who want the product in its purest form were drawn to bottling-in-bond and BIB still offers a guarantee of quality. Today, some higher proof regular expressions and many small batch products are either effectively bottled in bond or close enough to ensure high quality. So the consumer has a choice: those who prefer the (relatively) lower price and house character of, say, Old Grandad 86 proof can buy that; Jim Beam Black Label is another example. Those drinks are very valid too because they exhibit a complex, house character and are certainly bourbon! Some people prefer them to the bonds whereas I see each as having its own merits. Even blends had their merits, I speak in the past tense because so few blends today exhibit real character; this was not so (always) in the past.

Bottled in bond and similar offerings offer the best example in bourbon of what might be called a varietal character. American Chardonnay does not taste like bonded bourbon but each drink shows the essential features of its type, is authentic. Often, this will ensure a fine drink but not always; many winemakers prefer blends of varietal wines, for example (the great Bordeaux red wine style is a combination, usually, of cabernet sauvignon and merlot). The point is not to lose the original type of any of these drinks and that has not happened. Americans in particular have an enviable choice of authentic products in wine, bourbon and rye and beer, more so than ever, I think. Where local production has fallen off or disappeared, modern distribution and transport ensures a good range is brought near (enough) to one's town to allow a decent if not, well, fulsome choice. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Gary

boone
01-10-2005, 13:05
It's been a few years since I ran the label machine...

How many 100 proof bourbon, BIB's I can remember? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Heaven Hill
Old Heaven Hill
Old Heaven Hill 10 yr.
J.T.S. Brown.
J.W. Dant
John Hamilton
T.W. Samuels
Henry McKenna (SB)
Dowling
Heaven Hill Old Style WHITE
Evan Williams WHITE
Old Evan Williams GREEN
Old Fitzgerald
Olde Bourbon
Old 1889 Brand

It's been about four years since I "actually" kept up with the labels.

Chuck, you are right about the changes. Nothing drastic (on the HH gold), the face, back and wrap stay the same with the exception of the collar. Lots and lots of collar changes when I ran the machine. One of the many mistakes for a label machine operator was accidentally mixing up the B-G with the D-4's', D-3's...next on the list of screw ups http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif---upside down labels---

It's been so long, I hope I have not gotten any mixed up...I probably left out one or two.

We do various sizes in bottlings...It's not unusual to look across the lines at HH and see the "same label" running on several lines...It kinda follows each other. One line will run it in a flask 200, A-line...B-line, produces a round 750. C-line a round LTR. D-line a handle and the new square 1.75...the next...square, 750 and ltr. and plastic,carry pack, etc. etc. etc...


Bettye Jo

Gillman
01-10-2005, 13:34
Bettye Jo, your hands-on knowledge is current enough and adds a lot to our understanding of what products receive BIB labelling and how the packaging process works.

Speaking of packaging, in the current All About Beer magazine, I noticed a small story (really just a note in the industry developments section) about a brewery, I believe in Pittsburgh, which recently introduced a beer in a metal bottle. It is said the bottle is not breakable, is light and will chill faster than glass. A photo of the bottle is shown, it is silvery gray, and quite attractive. Is this the thin edge of the wedge that will displace the remaining use of glass containers for beer and its near- exclusive use for spirits? Of course, some people will wonder about the effect of metal on beverage alcohol. However, I understand such containers, including current aluminum beer cans, are lined to preclude off-flavors. I don't mind canned beer; as long as it is good, fresh and properly packaged, it should be fine.

Yet, part of the idea of spirits is to see (save for vodka, and even then) the color. There are one or two vodkas sold in a metal bottle, my sense is such containers have not taken off as yet. But if metal will be used extensively to replace glass in beer packaging, not just in the States, where cans are already a big part of the beer market, but elsewhere, where they are not (e.g., Canada) one wonders if this will have a, um, spill-over effect in the spirits industry. Blanton's in a henceforth silver, gold, etc. metal bottle..? Seems hard to picture, but maybe the day will come. I think it will if, (i) metal bottles cost overall less than glass, factoring in that is shipment weight and breakage factors, and (ii) the environmental implications can be worked out.

Gary

cowdery
01-10-2005, 17:24
Isn't a "metal bottle" just a bottle-shaped can? I suppose it has a bottle-style closure but otherwise, so what?

Now a clear or translucent metal bottle, that would be something.

Gillman
01-10-2005, 18:11
Ah, but if consumers accept the bottle-can in replacement of the glass bottle - sipping Corona from a metal bottle, for example, why not introduce it for bourbon and other spirits? If it costs less to package beer and whiskey in metal and people accept metal bottles (especially in bars and heretofore glass-dominated contexts), what bodes for glass and whiskey..? The first cans in the 1930's looked (somewhat) like bottles (the famous cone-tops). That type of can did not last; this time it may be different.

I should add: the bottle in question is resealable. The beer is Iron City by the way (Pittsburgh Brewing), and Allcoa makes the bottle - kind of a neat symmetry (more or less) in the brand name and image and new packaging.

Gary

cowdery
01-11-2005, 10:21
My point in observing that a metal bottle is just a bottle-shaped can is that what IC has introduced is a novelty and not a sea change. The prices of metal and glass beverage containers are already comparable, especially when you make the metal container resealable, a necessity for spirits products. In the case of whiskey, if not other spirits, the ability to see the product will continue to give glass an edge. I believe the only inherent advantage of metal is weight.

Gillman
01-11-2005, 11:37
And lack of breakability. Just the other day I was buying bourbon at the LCBO and behind me someone sent a bottle of Scotch flying. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

A novelty, probably, yes, but sometimes these things take off.

Gary