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Thread: Bonded bourbons

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  1. #1
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    Bonded bourbons

    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

  2. #2
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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

  3. #3
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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).

  4. #4
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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

  5. #5
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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.

  6. #6
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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.

  7. #7
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  8. #8
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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.

  9. #9
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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?

    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.

    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.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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.

 

 

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