What does “bottled in bond” mean?
The Bottled-in-Bond Act is a US federal law passed in 1897 to protect both the spirits industry and consumers from adulterated distilled beverages. It technically applies to all spirits, but most bottled-in-bond distillates are whiskey. The law states that the whiskey must be the product of one distillery and one distillation season, and it has to have been aged for at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse under US government oversight. Finally, it has to be bottled at 50% abv (100 proof), and list its distillery on the label along with the the bottling plant, if this differs from the distillery. Not all bourbons are—or need to be—bottled-in-bond.
I’ve heard of ‘high-rye’ and ‘wheated’ bourbons. What are those?
As mentioned, the law states that bourbon’s mash bill must contain at least 51% corn. The remainder of the mash is usually composed of barley and rye, in varying percentages. A high-rye bourbon is simply one that cranks up the rye in the mash bill, resulting in a spicier, more peppery flavor profile than a traditional bourbon. Bulleit Bourbon and Old Grand Dad are examples of high-rye bourbons. Wheated bourbons are ones that drop rye altogether in favor of non-traditional wheat, imparting a softer flavor profile with boosted caramel and vanilla accents. Examples include the Van Winkle and Weller bourbons.