For a whiskey to be "bottled in bond" meant that the whiskey must be produced in the same distilling season by the same distiller at the same distillery.
Originally, it was seen a guarantee of quality. The idea was to create a set of criteria that only the most upstanding, highest-quality distillers could meet.
Few meet this requirement today, but that is not really much of an issue. There are few, if any, fly-by-night corner-cutting distillers out there, and the big boys on the block (that would be all of them) swap and trade barrels, or farm out distilling/aging operations among themselves without losing any of their quality controls.
Others distill in multiple locations, then bring the barrels to different sites for bottling/aging/co mingling.
"Single Barrel" means what it says: all the whiskey in this bottle came from the same single barrel, and fetch a premium price
In my hand is a bottle of Henry McKenna, Single Barrel, Bottled In Bond, aged 10 years, produced by Heaven Hill Distillery. The same people who also produced Fighting Cock from a couple months back.
Ten years is a long time to age, and you'd think I paid a premium for this, but I didn't. On sale with the BevMo card for about $25. On the label is listed the barrel number (#612) and barreling date (8/25/00). I have no idea if this is reliable, but it's an effective marketing gimmick.
Emanating a quick whiff of butterscotch the moment the cap released was a signal of a heavy corn character, but not so fast...
Pine, cedar and oak waft from the glass after it's poured, with an hint of fresh cut alfalfa. Fresh and earthy, it smells like Kentucky looks. A splash of water and some airing brings out the corn. The scent typical of a 100 proof bourbon stays hidden.
The dense, deep heat in the mouth is not at all discomforting. Strong rye spiciness accompanies a bit of cinnamon burn up front, with an oily balanced transitioning toward corn sweetness.
Vanilla and caramel smooths out the finish with another tickle of cinnamon, leaving soothing sweetness in it's wake.
Not bad at all, I like this one.
A few minutes, I'm feeling warm all over. It's not often that a couple ounces can make me sweat like this.
Excuse me while I step outside to cool off.