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Why Every Drinker Should Know What Bottled-in-Bond Means

Why Every Drinker Should Know What Bottled-in-Bond Means
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  • Why Every Drinker Should Know What Bottled-in-Bond Means

    Post #1 - April 29th, 2018, 10:31 am
    Post #1 - April 29th, 2018, 10:31 am Post #1 - April 29th, 2018, 10:31 am
    Spirits maven Wayne Curtis, author of the fantastic, And A Bottle of Rum . . ., has a really informative piece at Daily Beast's website . . .

    at, Wayne Curtis wrote:These criteria included a lot of asterisks of scant interest to the general consumer—the spirit had to made by a single distiller during a single distilling season, it had to be aged in wood for at least four years, and it had to be bottled at exactly 100-proof. But what was of interest to the consumer was that the bottle contained what the label promised: an unadulterated spirit.

    Why Every Drinker Should Know What Bottled-in-Bond Means

    In this cash-grab era of disappearing age statements, it's nice to know that when buying bonded bourbon, you're getting at least 4 years of aging in the barrel, as opposed to the minimum 2 years required for the distillate to actually be labeled as bourbon.

    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - April 29th, 2018, 3:49 pm
    Post #2 - April 29th, 2018, 3:49 pm Post #2 - April 29th, 2018, 3:49 pm
    One more reason I really respect Heaven Hill and their line of products. Far more are bottled in bond than any distillery I'm aware of. Hell...Mellow Corn is bottled in bond!

    We can debate how much of a quality signifier it is, but it absolutely guarantees a certain amount of aging and I also think that it speaks to a distillery's appreciation of history and doing things a certain way, even when they might not be necessary anymore. I like that in almost every industry in which I am a consumer, but particularly whiskey which seems to be rapidly evolving and moving further and further away from its roots in a lot of ways (some good, some not so good).
  • Post #3 - Today, 9:12 am
    Post #3 - Today, 9:12 am Post #3 - Today, 9:12 am
    Ronnie, you are the first to be cordially invited to my inaugural Col. E.H. Taylor Birthday Party, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2019. We'll be celebrating with BiB pours and I've already stashed away some bottles from the Taylor line for the date. Thank god the Col. fought for the Bottled in Bond act, because it didn't just give our grandparents assurance of quality, it gives us a bit of clarity now, over 100 years later, in a market flooded with product being passed off as "craft."

    Sometimes reading a label on a bottle of bourbon can be as confusing as reading a German wine label. Lots of times this is because the brand makes it confusing. Angel's Envy's "Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished In Port Wine Barrels" is not bourbon, full stop. Port barrels = not "bourbon". We can't find marketing from AE that doesn't add the "...finished in..." because they can't simply call it "KY Straight Bourbon." At the bottom of their website, under "Our Whiskey" we can click on "Port Finish" or "Rum Finish" (their rye aged in rum barrels) but we can't click on "Bourbon" or "Rye" and they can't, by labeling laws, tell the lie that the products are "Bourbon" or "Rye." But who do we know who refers to Angel's Envy as "Bourbon finished in port casks" and not "bourbon"? It's a good little twist they've got going, considering they sell that bottle of manipulating the truth for $50, which is $15 more than a bottle of Russell's Reserve 10 Year.

    This isn't as egregious as the Templeton lie. It's not as strange as the idea that Charles Goodnight Bourbon--labelled "Kentucky Straight Bourbon", named for a Texas Ranger, and per its label bottled in California--is anything other than a massive distillery selling juice to a California company with gimmicky marketing. The Angel's Envy thing is a small one, a dance around what the product is to charge a premium to cover start-up costs for the first 10-15 years until you have something truly "craft" and worth the premium....maybe, we'll see how it turns out.

    On a more innocent level, for years Willett has been releasing bottles with generic DBAs on the back of them. There is no "Johnny Drum Distilling Company." But they used that on those bottles because for a long time they didn't want any perception of their non-Willett labels to impact the image of the Willett name. That will change in the very near future as they are reaching the point where they've made enough juice not to source, and bottles will start to have the DSP-KY-78 stamp and be labelled as coming from Willett. They're selling Old Bardstown Bonded, only in KY, with their DSP and stating that it's from Willett. It's quite good.

    On a very generic level, most things that say they are "Distilled and bottled in Kentucky" have a wide range of possibilities and it's very easy for a customer to be confused. The same juice is probably in Luxco's Ezra Brooks 90 ("Distilled and Aged in Kentucky, Bottled in St. Louis" on the label), Heaven Hill 6 Year 90 proof ("Distilled in Kentucky" on the label), and Heaven Hill 6 Year Bonded ("Bottled in Bond. Distilled and Bottled by Heaven Hill, Distilleries, Inc.; Louisville KY DSP-KY-1; Bardstown, KY DSP-KY-31.")

    The Ezra, the label could mean the distillate comes from anywhere in KY, and 99.9% of the drinking population doesn't know that the Heaven Hill 90 proof and the Ezra are likely the same thing--it's widely believed that HH is the distillery from whom Ezra sources their distillate. That bottle of Ezra is probably a two-year younger brother to the HH 6 Year 90 proof, and most folks would never know that. How would they? How do they know better than to not spend a couple more bucks on the Ezra, which is the same juice but younger?

    But the BiB act gives us the clarity we have for the third item in the paragraph two up from here. To call it that, it must pass a certain handful of checks, and state certain things on the label, and as a result the label gives us all the information we need about the product. Without the BiB Act, and Col. Taylor fighting like hell for it, we might have even worse clarity on what's in our bottles today, which would be awful in this sea of misleading marketing.