Review: Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon

JB750_84Here’s a new release that really came out of the blue. Bonded whiskey was a big deal before Prohibition — when heavy tampering with spirits was a major problem — but it is rarely seen these days because of the cost involved and, surely, limited demand. (Rittenhouse 100 is one good example that’s still around.)

Bonded whiskey must be produced in accordance with strict Federal law and under official Federal oversight, so consumers could be sure of what they were getting: Bonded whiskey has to be 100 proof, spend at least four years in barrel, and be produced from a single season at a single distillery. Bonded, or “bottled-in-bond,” whiskey has to be stored at a Federally monitored warehouse, where it is essentially kept under lock and key for those four-plus years. For a bonded whiskey to be a bonded bourbon, it also has to meet all the standard requirements for bourbon, too (at least 51% corn, barreled in newly charred oak, and so on).

And so we get to Beam’s new Bonded Bourbon. The company has a bonded product, but it seems to be sold only in a few duty-free markets. This is a new, four-year-old expression destined for the U.S. this February. (This expression also has no age statement.)

On first whiff, it’s just like the whiskey dad used to drink. Sharp and woody, it’s austere, with a frontier-style nose. As the body unfolds, intense butterscotch and deep vanilla notes emerge, on top of notes of charry burnt marshmallow and thick wood oils. The finish coaxes out some bitterness in the form of rich pipe tobacco, possibly even cigars. Sweet and almost syrupy at the start, the hefty level of alcohol makes for an interesting juxtaposition on the back end.

Fun, old-timey stuff.

100 proof.

A- / $23 / jimbeam.com  [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

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8 Responses

  1. John S. Steidler January 28, 2015 / 7:06 am

    Jim Beam Bourbon is one of my favorite alcohols along with Jack Daniels whiskey and all of the Cinnamon flavored whiskeys. This bourbon has a sharp taste but has some good flavors added.

  2. daniel January 29, 2015 / 7:34 am

    I find the pricing of this one strange.
    23 for a bonded 4-year old bourbon, but 21 for the jb black which is 6-8 (NAS)?
    doesn’t seem really any reason for the upcharge on the bonded at all.
    EW prices their bib very aggressively, why not suntory/beam?
    -dan

  3. Chris January 30, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    $2 is not a significant difference, they are essentially the same price. I would imagine that the very minor difference is due to the higher proof.

  4. Donnie March 8, 2015 / 11:03 am

    Beam made an expression called Old Tub for a very long time. It was discontinued and then a few years ago they began making it again and only selling 375 ml bottles at the distillery gift store. I’m pretty sure it is a 4 yr. bottled in bond version of the white label… It Fred Noe told me it was Booker’s favorite expression before they discontinued it… Is this the same thing essentially?

  5. TAO May 19, 2015 / 1:43 am

    Burnt Marshmallow? Pipe tobacco? Juxtaposition? Frontier style?

    I think you just enjoy hearing yourself write such worthless words.

    Come on…be real. Your palate isn’t a Rembrandt and neither is your silly review.

    JB Bonded is a decent whiskey with flavors that are usual to most.

    Please don’t try to artfully infuse flavors into the spirit that simply aren’t there.

    You know where the sweetness is sourced..not from marshmallows or tobacco or anything else you dream of.

    Be real. Be honest. And please cease with the b.s.

  6. Vhitey April 15, 2016 / 1:37 am

    I think the review is spot on with those words. As with reviewing audio equipment sometimes a seemingly abstract word is the only one that fits a complex explanation of subjective experience.

  7. LarryC. August 5, 2016 / 9:10 pm

    Beam bonded (100 proof) can be had for as little as $19.99 in my area, though I paid $22.99 at my local grocery. It’s basically Beam white label, but bottled at 100 proof. The higher proof infuses this otherwise pedestrian Bourbon with more Vanilla and enhanced richness. I prefer it to black label, which costs roughly $2 more at a lower proof. At 100 proof, it’s also a better mixer.

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