There have been Bottled-in-Bond spirits in the market for almost 125 years. They suffered a decline in popularity in the 1980s after deregulation of the industry during the Reagan era weakened the regulation by eliminating the tax stamp and most of the information found on the stamp. However, Bottled-in-Bond products are making a comeback in the 21st century.
The regulation is a good one for consumers, providing some minimum standards of quality and information. Bonded whiskey has to be from the same distillery, from the same season, aged at least four years and bottled at 100 proof with nothing but pure water to adjust the proof. Distillers are seeing the value of providing bonded products to consumers as they build reputations for their products. There are more and more distilleries putting bonded products into the marketplace and consumers are purchasing them. I have picked five bonded spirits that were all made by smaller artisan distilleries across the country. They are two Rye whiskeys, two Bourbon whiskeys and an Apple Brandy. Not many people realize that all aged spirits can be sold as Bottled-in-Bond products, and there are several bonded brandies for sale in the market.
Dad’s Hat Rye: This bonded Rye whiskey is made by Mountain Laurel Spirits in Bristol, Pennsylvania, DSP –Pa-15015. It has a nose that is rich in rye grassiness, vanilla and baking spices. The taste is a wonderful mixture of vanilla, baking spices and oak with a long dry finish of oak and spice.
Frey Ranch Rye: This bonded Rye whiskey is made by the Frey Ranch Distillery in Fallon Nevada, DSP-NV-15003. It has a nose that is very fruity with some citrus notes of grapefruit and lemons, rye grass and caramel. The taste is full of crème brule’ caramel, citrus fruit, baking spices and oak, with a long dry finish of oak and cinnamon spice with a hint of citrus.
McKenzie Bourbon: This bonded Bourbon is made by the Finger Lakes Distilling, LLC, DSP-NY-15020. Located in Burdett, New York. It is a wheated Bourbon with lots of vanilla and caramel with a hint of ripe apples on the nose. The taste is rich caramel, chocolate, a little pepper spice and oak with a finish that is long with oak and chocolate.
Old 55 Bourbon: This bonded Bourbon is made by the Old 55 Distillery in Newtown, Indiana, DSP-IN-21013. It has a simple nose of vanilla and corn with a hint of oak and cardamom. The taste is full of rich French vanilla, sweet apple and pear fruit, a little cardamom and nutmeg spice and oak. The finish is medium long with sweet vanilla balanced by the baking spice and oak.
Starlight Apple Brandy: The bonded Brandy is made at the Starlight Distillery in Borden, Indiana, DSP-IN-31. The Huber family owns the winery and orchard that grows the apples for this Brandy. The nose is ripe apples, vanilla and oak. The taste is ripe apples, baking spices – cinnamon and nutmeg, oak and a hint of caramel. The finish is long with apple fruit, oak and spice.
These five bonded spirits are all worth adding to your collection of spirits. They can be enjoyed neat, but could also make great cocktails. I am sure that in the future there will be even more bonded products released by the growing number of artisan distilleries. More of these distilleries have made it through the first four years of business and are beginning to have four-year-old or older products to release as bonded spirits. I look forward to seeing this happen and I will add to this list as they are released and I find them available in Kentucky.
Photos courtesy of Rosemary Miller