The term Bottled-in-Bond comes from the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. In simple terms the Bottled-in-Bond Act states the following: a spirit must be made at one American distillery, from spirit produced within the same calendar year, aged in wood for a minimum of four years, aged in locked – government supervised warehouses, and bottled at no less than 100 proof (50% abv).
All of these requirements may seem simple today but in the late 19th century fraudulent and sometimes dangerous Whiskey was frequently sold. Bonded Whiskey was a guarantee to the consumer that the spirit would be free of additions, aged, and less diluted than the typical Whiskey of the time.
As the popularity of Whiskey waned in the USA in the middle 20th century these old-school brands being sold as Bottled-in-Bond Whiskies frequently occupied the bottom shelf and could be obtained at bargain prices. Serious Whiskey lovers knew about these great Whiskies but the average spirits buyer was unaware.
Today, firmly in the twenty-first century, Bottled-in-Bond spirits are becoming mainstream and coveted. Longtime Whiskey lovers may be getting a bit grumpy as demand and prices are on the rise but distillers are keenly aware of the renewed interest in Bottled-in-Bond spirits and they are delivering.
Bottled-in-Bond is not just a Whiskey subcategory. In 2016, Heaven Hill, a great American spirits company, launched their first Bottled-in-Bond Brandy under their Christian Brothers label. It’s a beautiful Brandy and like many old-school Bottled-in-Bond Whiskies, it’s a terrific bargain as well. Early this year (2023) Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee, WI became the first distillery to offer a Bottled-in-Bond Gin. Their Rehorst Bottled-in-Bond Gin strictly follows the rules being from one distillery, in one season, aged for four years in cask, and bottled at 100 proof.
At TAG Global Spirits Awards, we love Bottled-in-Bond spirits both old and new. Here are our Top Ten Bottled-in-Bond spirits from our 2023 competition (presented alphabetically).
Bardstown Origin Series Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon — Platinum Medal
Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon — Gold Medal
FEW Spirits Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey — Gold Medal
FEW Spirits Bottled-in-Bond Straight Rye Whiskey — Double Gold Medal
Heaven Hill Bottled-In-Bond 7 Years Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon — Double Gold Medal
Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon Whiskey — Platinum Medal
Jack Daniel’s Bottled-in-Bond Tennessee Whiskey — Double Gold Medal
Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond Fall 2022 Kentucky Straight Bourbon — Double Gold Medal
Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond 4 Years Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey — Double Gold Medal
Smoke Wagon Bottled-in-Bond Straight Rye Whiskey — Double Gold Medal
Who will be our top Bottled-in-Bond spirits in the TAG Global Spirits Awards in 2024? If you have a brand that deserves to become famous, enter your products here.
Entries are open for 2024.
The TAG Awards competition includes various public and industry events.
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