Whiskey Review: Jack Daniel’s Bottled-in-Bond Tennessee Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Jack Daniel’s Bottled-in-Bond Tennessee Whiskey

Anyone browsing the American whiskey section at a duty-free, airport liquor shop this past month may have noticed a Jack Daniel’s new expression on the racks: Bottled-in-Bond.

Sold in a liter-size bottle, this new expression is a throwback to a different federal regulation, one that marked a major historical turning point for the Lynchburg, Tennessee distillery on its way to becoming one of the most well-known brands in the country.

While the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 is arguably irrelevant today, the regulations it imposed were responding to a serious public health issue at the time as store owners learned that they could increase profits by buying cheap, neutral alcohol and mixing things into to emulate a particular spirit. Those extra ingredients could range from innocuous things such as beets to less savory things like burned animal bones and oak bark – as well as more dangerous chemicals like turpentine and ammonia.

Distillers eventually began acting on their own to guarantee the authenticity and safety of their products to now suspicious customers, and, in 1895, the Jack Daniel’s approach was adopting the easily identifiable and now iconic square-shaped bottle.

The Bottled-in-Bond Act two years later took a different approach: the “bonded” certification distillers could place on their bottles if they met certain requirements. Those requirements include that the product be made in one distilling season (either the first or second half of the year) by one distiller at one distillery, aged and bottled at a government-supervised warehouse for at least four years, bottled at 100-proof with nothing but water added to bring down the proof, and, finally, that the label indicate where the spirit was both distilled and bottled.

We thus come to Jack Daniel’s Bottled in Bond, a liter expression meeting said requirements that is now hitting travel retail.

Jack Daniel’s Bottled-in-Bond

Jack Daniel’s Bottled-in-Bond (image via Aaron Knapp/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Jack Daniel’s Bottled-in-Bond Tennessee Whiskey

Vital stats: Bottled in Bond, meaning that it was aged at least four years, bottled at 100-proof, and both distilled and bottled on site. Sold in 1-liter bottles at duty-free airport shops, as of Aug. 1, for a suggested retail price of $38.

Appearance: Packaged in Jack Daniel’s signature, rectangular bottle – except this is a liter in volume instead of the usual 750mL – with some gold in the label design to make it a bit more eye-catching than Old No. 7. The whiskey itself looks like a dark copper in the bottle, but brightens up a bit in the glass.

Nose: The whiskey’s initial scent is exceptionally sweet and decadent, entering the nasal passages with a light and sugary caramel, a bit of tangerine adding tartness, and notes of wheat and hay. After a moment, the aroma mellows into a richer, more mature caramel with a floral undertone reminiscent of lilac, a strong note of oak, and a vague, herbal spiciness evening out the bouquet.

Palate: Entering even sweeter than the nose, the first sip is more like a bright but rich vanilla, though mostly nondescript apart from a vaguely floral note. Over the next few moments on the tongue, the whiskey begins to take on a mild oak flavor with a bit of smokiness. The slightly above average proof shows itself if in the form of a clove-like burn that develops only when the sip sits on the tongue long enough, 10 seconds or so. Swallowing leads to a rush of that clove – mostly flavor while easy on the burn – that lingers for a moment and starts to give way to a creamy, smoky caramel, which also gradually fades away.

The Takeaway

Jack Daniel’s Bottled-in-Bond is... fine. It’s sweet, easygoing and unobjectionable, but also lacks any distinguishing attributes that would make it an interesting dram to sip. By no means is it a bad whiskey – and it’s certainly a step up from Old No. 7 – but it’s also not very engaging on its own. This is great whiskey to pick up at the airport, and use it to guiltlessly make a mix drink to get you through your jet lag.

User Rating 3.75 (4 votes)


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