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Thread: Bonded bourbons

  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

    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

    - Jeff

  4. #4
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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).

  5. #5
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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

  6. #6
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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.

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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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.

  8. #8
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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

  9. #9
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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 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
    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.

  10. #10
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    Re: Bonded bourbons

    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

 

 

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