The 12 Best Bottled in Bond Bourbons To Drink Right Now

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We love whisk(e)y. It’s obvious by how often we write about it. Rye, Scotch, Japanese whisky, Canadian whisky, Irish whiskey, bourbon, we love it all. Single malts, blended, small-batch, whatever. We especially enjoy the aforementioned corn-centric bourbon. Often referred to as “America’s native spirit,” the corn-based spirit is sweet, sippable, and perfect neat, on the rocks, or in our favorite cocktails.

We enjoy every version of bourbon. We can sip on a wheated, high-rye, and high-corn expressions. But, while we’ll gladly gulp down a glass of 80 proof whiskey, we really enjoy bonded bourbons. When it comes to the perfect combination of mixability and sipping, it’s hard to beat these high-proof behemoths.

For those new to bourbon, to be referred to as a bonded (or bottled in bond) bourbon, the whiskey needs to fall under a few guidelines. Based on the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897, to receive this label these whiskeys must be a product of only one distillation season, distilled by one distiller at a single distillery, aged in a federally bonded barrelhouse for a minimum of four years, and perhaps the most important rule for ardent fans is the fact that all bonded whiskeys are bottled at 100 proof. On top of all of these rules, to be considered a bottled-in-bond whiskey, it must be distilled in the US.

If that seems like a lot to take in, don’t worry. Since you won’t be distilling it, all you need to know is that bottled-in-bond whiskeys (and bourbons in particular) are 100 proof. This means they’re 50 percent alcohol. If you purchase a well-made, high-quality bottled in bond bourbon, it should be highly mixable and stand up in your favorite cocktail. It should also be a mellow, reliable sipper. Below you’ll find twelve best bottled in bond bourbons that we believe fit both these criteria.

Old Forester 1897 Bourbon

Old Forester 1897 Bourbon

Old Forester is one of the most iconic bourbon brands in history. On top of many innovations, it was the first distillery to ever bottle bourbon. It carries on the traditions of the brand with its 1897 Bourbon. This award-winning whiskey gets its name from the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. First released in 2015, it has a mash bill of 72 percent corn, 18 percent rye, 10 percent malted barley. Like all bonded whiskeys, it’s aged in a federally bonded warehouse for a minimum of four years. The result is a rich, flavorful juice with notes of toasted vanilla beans, dried fruits, charred wood, and buttery caramel.

Wilderness Trail Small Batch Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Wilderness Trail Small Batch Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Wilderness Trail might not have the name recognition of some of the brands on this list, but that doesn’t mean it should be an afterthought. Its bottled-in-bond expression consists of a mash bill of 64 percent corn, 24 percent wheat, and 12 percent malted barley. The addition of wheat instead of rye gives the whiskey, although high proof, a softer, mellower flavor. It’s aged between four and six years in new, charred American oak barrels. This gives it a nice flavor profile consisting of fresh leather, vanilla beans, caramelized sugar, and just a hint of woody oak.

Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon

Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon

Even if you have very little knowledge of bourbon, you’ve heard of Jim Beam. In fact, there might not be a bigger name in the bourbon world. While you can’t go wrong with a bottle of its bargain-priced, classic white-labeled bourbon, if you want to ramp up your summer whiskey game, you’ll grab a bottle of Jim Beam Bonded. Aged for four years in bonded warehouses, this bold bourbon expression is loaded with flavors like sweet honey, wood char, caramel, pipe tobacco, and just enough spice to make you realize it’s 100 proof.

Early Times Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Early Times Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Another brand without a lot of name recognition, Early Times makes a handful of flavorful, high-quality whiskeys. One of its best is its bottled-in-bond expression. Paying tribute to the brand’s genesis in 1860 and the style of whiskey produced back in the 1940s by the brand, this 100-proof, bonded bourbon was once the most popular whiskey in America. It returned in 2017 and is filled with notes of caramel corn, pipe tobacco, butterscotch, buttery vanilla, and just a hint of peppery rye. The flavors are just as well suited for mixing into an old fashioned as for sipping neat.

McKenzie Bottled in Bond Bourbon

McKenzie Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Another bourbon that dispels the rumor that higher proof equals harshness, McKenzie Bottled in Bond from Finger Lakes Distilling is made from a mash bill of 70 percent corn, 20 percent red winter wheat, and  10 percent malted barley. It meets the requirements of a bottled-in-bond whiskey, is 100 proof, and was aged for four years, but the addition of wheat gives it a smooth, easy-drinking flavor filled with sweet caramel, chocolate fudge, dried cherries, almond cookies, and just a tiny bit of spice at the very end. All in all, a highly sippable, mellow bourbon.

Heaven Hill 7-Year-Old Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Heaven Hill 7-Year-Old Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Heaven Hill is a big name in the bourbon world. Makers of Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, Old Fitzgerald, Henry McKenna, Larceny, and more, the brand cranks out nothing but winners. Its Heaven Hill 7-Year-Old Bottled in Bond Bourbon is no exception. Made using a mash bill of 78 percent corn, 12 percent malted barley, and 10 percent rye, it’s aged to perfection for seven years before being bottled at 100 proof. The result is a highly drinkable, equally memorable whiskey with notes of pipe tobacco, aged leather, buttery caramel, sweet vanilla, and sweet, spicy cinnamon sugar.

Kings County Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Kings County Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Kings County has made quite a name for itself in the craft distilling world in the past few years, proving that great bourbon can come from far away from Kentucky. While its peated bourbon isn’t to be missed, if you’re looking for a great bottled-in-bond expression, it’s hard to beat Kings County with its 80 percent corn and 20 percent malted barley mash bill. This rich, robust whiskey is highlighted with hints of brown sugar, milk chocolate, sweet toasted vanilla beans, clover honey, and a nice finish of wood char and subtle spices.

1792 Bottled in Bond Bourbon

1792 Bottled in Bond Bourbon

1792 pays homage to the Bottle-In-Bond Act of 1897 with its own expression that fits all the regulations. Although it carries no age statement, regulations mean that it’s at least four years old and it tastes even older with memorable notes of vanilla beans, caramel apples, fresh-brewed coffee, butterscotch, sweet cream, and just a flourish of cinnamon. There are so many nuanced, exciting flavors dancing around this whiskey, you’ll need to give it a few samplings before you discover them all.

Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon

Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon

Perhaps the most well-known bottled-in-bond whiskey, no list is complete without Old Grand-Dad. A Jim Beam produced brand (one of “The Olds,” along with Old Overholt, produced by the distillery), Old Grand-Dad is known as much for its taste as its surprising value. One of the best value-to-price bottles on the market, Old Grand-Dad Bonded is known for its high-rye mash bills and bold, rich flavor that’s littered with the likes of caramel corn, candied orange peels, vanilla beans, sweet treacle, and a healthy dose of spicy cinnamon.

Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon

Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon

A few years ago, there was no bigger bourbon in the world than Henry McKenna Single Barrel. It won the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition’s Best in Show Whiskey in 2019. While the obsession with this whiskey has slowly died down since then, it doesn’t change the fact that this ten-year-old bottled-in-bond bourbon is one of the best available on the market. With a palate of woody oak, buttery caramel corn, toasted vanilla beans, dried orange peels, clover honey, and a nice mix of sweetness and heat at the very end make this one of the most mixable and sippable bottled-in-bond whiskeys in the world and worthy of even more acclaim.

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Evan Williams Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Evan Williams regularly makes lists of best bargain bourbons for myriad reasons. It’s crazy cheap and surprisingly well made. Its bottled-in-bond expression just might be its best. This robust, rich, bold bourbon fits all of the strict bottle-in-bond rules and is swirling with flavors like sweet barley, caramel corn, citrus zest, toasted vanilla beans, wood char, and a nice kick of cracked black pepper. The finish is dry, long, and filled with warming heat. There are so many flavors that this bourbon deserves to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks, regardless of its low price.

Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon Bonded Bourbon

Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon Bonded Bourbon

If you’re only going to try one bottled-in-bond bourbon on this list, make it Laws Four Grain Straight Bourbon Bonded Bourbon. Made with a mash bill featuring (you guessed it) four grains, this whiskey gets its rich, sweet flavor from the addition of 60 percent corn, 20 percent heirloom wheat, 10 percent heirloom rye, and 10 percent heirloom malted barley before being matured for a minimum of six years in new, charred American oak barrels. The result is a highly memorable whiskey with flavors of sweet honey, butterscotch, candied orange peels, spicy cinnamon, caramelized sugar, and a nice, gentle herbal backbone.

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