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The Best Bottled-In-Bond Whiskey To Chase Down Right Now

Bottled in bond — or bonded — whiskey is a fascinating product for any lover of the brown stuff. To qualify as a bonded whiskey, the product has to come from a single distillation season, from a single distillery, and be aged for at least four years in charred oak. The juice cannot be cut with anything except pure water and must be bottled at 100 proof. All of this is regulated by the federal government for quality-control.

Originally, the idea behind bottled in bond whiskey was all about ensuring the quality of the whiskey was top-notch and un-cut. These days, it’s become something of a craft product for distilleries — assuring a great dram for you to sip on. A high-quality booze that’s worth the extra effort to track down and sample.

The ten bottles below offer a smattering of the best bottled in bond whiskeys around America — from subtle bourbons to spicy ryes to classic Tennessee expressions. Let’s dive in!

WILDERNESS TRAIL BOTTLED IN BOND SMALL BATCH BOURBON

The Story:

Wilderness Trail is a boutique craft distillery in Danville, Kentucky. The juice is distilled from a mash bill (recipe) of 64 percent corn, 24 percent rye, and 12 percent malted barley from local farms a stone’s throw from the distillery. Each bottle is small batched from ten to 12 barrels from the rickhouse without any filtration. This is a new expression (it was released this past April) that’s sure to wow.

Tasting Notes:

There’s a subtle note of tart apples next to clear butterscotch. Hints of citrus sit next to wildflowers, oaky char, vanilla, and deft rye spiciness. That peppery spice leads towards a bold finish as warmth builds around the grassiness of the sip.

COLONEL E.H. TAYLOR, JR. SMALL BATCH BOTTLED IN BOND BOURBON

The Story:

Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr.’s Small Batch bourbon is a quality expression. The whiskey is hand-selected from the best bonded barrels from a single warehouse that was actually built by the Colonel back in the 1880s. There’s a history at play that shines through in every glass of this marvelous bourbon.

Tasting Notes:

Roasted corn, toffee, and dark, almost sour chocolate open this one up. Rye spice sits next to oaky vanilla and echoes of pipe tobacco smoke. That dark chocolate comes back into play alongside the big black pepper spice, ensuring a long, lingering finish that builds warmth through your body.

RITTENHOUSE RYE BOTTLED IN BOND

The Story:

Heaven Hill’s Rittenhouse Rye is a standard-bearer of what great, inexpensive rye can be. The spicy treat is an award-winning expression that should be on your shelf right now. This bottle is also a favorite amongst bartenders for mixing up killer Manhattans.

Tasting Notes:

Dried stone fruits greet you with clear hints of s’mores with a slight campfire char. Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cracker, and citrus playfully bounce through the sip. The throughline of sweetness leans towards rich maple syrup that’s been spiked with vanilla beans and peppercorns. This is a big sip that ends with a whisper of rye heat, tying everything back to a campfire crackling away.

NEW RIFF KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON BOTTLED IN BOND

The Story:

New Riff Distilling is the new kid on the block. They started distilling and aging in 2014 and, now, they’re releasing their bottled in bond expression. The juice is rendered from locally-sourced non-GMO grains, 65 percent corn, 30 percent rye, and five percent malted barley, in specific. That high-rye component gives this sip a great body that brings you in and leaves you wanting more.

Tasting Notes:

Classic notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak open this one. There’s a slight edge of old library leather with a wisp of smoke. The rye kicks in with clear spicy sharpness alongside a botanical medicinal quality. The caramel and spice draw the end of the dram out to a clear finish with serious warmth — the Kentucky Hug dialed up a notch.

OLD FITZGERALD BOTTLED IN BOND 9 YEAR

The Story:

Old Fitzgerald, also from Heaven Hills, is a masterpiece whiskey. The expression is aged for nine years. In this case, the juice went in the barrels back in 2008 and was bottled in 2018. You’ll find these bottles with both black and green labels. The green labels indicate that the expression was bottled in the spring and the black labels denote a fall bottling.

Tasting Notes:

This opens with a classic note of bold vanilla and a hint of charred smoke. There’s a clear citrus note alongside dark and bitter chocolate with brown butter, creamy edge. There’s an umami leatheriness that’s chewy on the palate. Hints of spice build off the end of the sip as the finish perks up your senses.

GEORGE DICKEL BOTTLED IN BOND TENNESSEE WHISKY

The Story:

George Dickel’s Tennessee whiskey is aged for 13 long years after going through the Lincoln County Process of mellowing maple wood filtration. This whiskey is made from a high-corn mash bill with 84 percent corn, eight percent rye, and eight percent malted barley. The expression is well-aged and fresh. This bottle just hit the shelves this past May.

Tasting Notes:

Ripe stone fruit soaked in brandy and buttered fresh bread sit alongside vanilla and oakiness. Whispers of rye spice linger in the background as more subtle Christmas baking spices play around the palate. Caramel sweetness, vanilla oak, and black pepper combine to create a bold and slightly floral finish.

KINGS COUNTY BOTTLED IN BOND BOURBON

The Story:

Brooklyn’s Kings County Distilling masterfully creates a grain-to-glass experience with their whiskey. The mash bill is comprised of 80 percent New York State-grown organic corn along with 20 percent English malt. That corn shines through in the distillation as the hot juice mellows in newly charred American oak for four years.

Tasting Notes:

Fresh honey with burnt cream and sugars sit next to classic notes of vanilla and caramel. Butterscotch arrives with fresh cornbread hint. Toffee and five spices mix with a hit of dark chocolate and more corn. Finally, the sip ties back into the oaky vanilla and rich toffee to come to a bold and satisfying end.

WOODFORD RESERVE BOTTLED IN BOND

The Story:

Woodford Reserve got into the bottled in bond game last year with this release. The whiskey is hand-selected from a small batch of barrels by master distiller Chris Morris who keeps a keen eye on the magic that makes this whiskey so damn good.

Tasting Notes:

Notes of ripe cherries greet you with a nice balance of rich caramel and vanilla. Hints of chocolate balance with the cherry and corn. A wisp of old leather and smoke linger in the backend, along with buttery caramel. The sip finishes strong with a dry edge that hints at spiciness.

EVAN WILLIAMS BOTTLED IN BOND BOURBON

The Story:

Evan Williams is the oldest, continually operating distillery in the United States. Started in 1783, this whiskey knows its place and is seriously affordable. You can usually snag a bottle for around 15 bucks! The bonded whiskey is a classic bourbon with a mash bill of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and ten percent rye.

Tasting Notes:

Classic notes of vanilla and corn-forward caramel open this sip up. There’s a whisper of citrus that cuts through the hefty caramel edge. Barley crackers and black pepper spice mingle in the sip and lead towards a subtle finish that fades right at the end.

JIM BEAM BONDED BOURBON

The Story:

Jim Beam’s Bonded Bourbon is a classic whiskey that hits standard bourbon notes, making this bottle the perfect gateway bonded whiskey. There’s a subtleness here that doesn’t tax your senses too heavily while still being high quality enough to draw you into the style.

Tasting Notes:

The classic bourbon trio of vanilla, caramel, and oak greet you on the first sip. There’s a mild spiciness at play that feels like freshly cracked peppercorns. The caramel and corn are present yet subdued. There’s a clear line of spice that leads to a buttery caramel finish with a light touch of oaky char.

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