Review: Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon

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.


Jim Beam Bonded Bourbon




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. John S. Steidler on January 28, 2015 at 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 on January 29, 2015 at 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?

  3. Chris on January 30, 2015 at 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 on March 8, 2015 at 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 on May 19, 2015 at 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.

    • Dan on February 11, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      You’re a moron.

  6. Vhitey on April 15, 2016 at 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. on August 5, 2016 at 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.

  8. abrianb on November 13, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I like Beam whiskey and this one is a real good value. Nice and drinkable, lots of flavor and very little of the alcohol “pepper” often found in young whiskeys. My only real negative is hard for me to put into words. I find the taste to be fuzzy? Usually when I taste a familiar whiskey, key elements of the taste pop up and are distinctive. In this one, they are there and there is good volume of them. They are just not distinct as I find them in other Beam whiskies. They don’t step out on their own.

  9. Cangey on February 16, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    One of my favorite reviews. Not that I notice you missing the nail head very often but you really got this one.

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