I thought a separate thread is in order. This is a subject we have discussed many times, yet I am not sure I understand all the nuances.
E.g., I have not (I think) seen the written rules or laws that establish what we know are still the criteria for bonded whiskey, i.e., that it is must be at least 4 years old, 100 proof, made in one distilling season, by one distiller, etc.
Where is all this written down?
Second, based on some of the recent discussions about bonded whiskeys that refer on their labels to distilleries that one would think might not have distilled these products (due to the apparent age of the whiskeys in relation to when the distillery last operated), I am now wondering if the explanation lies in the fact that a bonded whiskey can be distilled elsewhere than the production (not bottling) distillery stated on the label.
For example, a recent bottle of Heaven Hill bonded bourbon states that it is "distilled in Kentucky, bottled by Heaven Hill Distilleries [Ltd. or Inc. is stated too, I don't have the bottle before me] at D.S.P. 31.". Can this mean that the whiskey was distilled elsewhere than at D.S.P 31 but tanked there and entered in barrels and aged all its life and (in this case also) bottled at D.S.P 31? Or does it have to mean the whiskey was literally distilled at DSP 31?
Take another example: say bourbon is tanked to D.S.P 16 (the former Stitzel-Weller distillery) and entered in barrels and aged there 4 years minimum and bottled at 100 proof. Bourbon is still being aged there I understand, presumably the owner (Diageo) is leasing part of the premises for this purpose. Can the label of such whiskey state it is produced or even distilled there (and whether bottled there or elsewhere - I understand that if bottled elsewhere than where distilled/produced the label has to state that)?