No doubt those of you who follow the bourbon industry have already heard of Heaven Hill’s official announcement to discontinue the cult favorite, Heaven Hill Botted-in-Bond bourbon.
Heaven Hill BIB has become widely admired in the bourbon world in the sense that it’s seen as one of the best, if not the best, great-value bourbons ($12), alongside Buffalo Trace and McKenna. However, although you could always call it ‘affordable’ I wouldn’t say that really ever meant it was ‘accessible’ as it was only available for purchase in the state of Kentucky. That being that case, it was usually customary for individuals who are part of the generous whiskey community to pick up extra bottles of HHBIB for other out-of-state bourbon enthusiasts whenever they found themselves in Kentucky. Which reminds me there were several bottles from my last trip to Kentucky that I have yet to ship to a few whiskey friends. Be patient with me guys!
Rumors had been circulating for years about the possibility of Heaven Hill BIB being discontinued and the product has been known to lose its age statement from time to time, starting in the early 2000s. Despite its popularity with consumers, Heaven Hill was never known to highlight the product. In fact, Josh Peters at TheWhiskeyJug noted in his 2017 review of the bourbon that Heaven Hill doesn’t even bother to give it a product description or mention on their website. Lew Bryson shares similar sentiments while highlighting Heaven Hill and Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond products in his book Tasting Whiskey when he says the lack of love they receive from their company’s marketing department puzzles him.
In his book Lew also makes another observation about these bottled in bonds, this time on the unusually low prices they fetch:
A lot of the brands are older labels that maybe at some point were exclusively bonds, Heaven Hill’s long-time communications director Larry Kass explains. You’ll have small brands that are bonds, but not big brands. They never had marketing support, so there’s not that cost.
While the official statement from Heaven Hill wasn’t very illuminating as to why they have decided to discontinue Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond, it has been rumored that the product was not profitable (not surprising at that price point) and that a branding overhaul of their other bottom shelf liquors will soon be taking place. It is possible that HHBIB will be coming back eventually but likely with a higher price and new ‘classed-up’ label. Until then you can amuse yourself by watching its price increase on the secondary market (it’s currently fetching between $35 – $45).
Heaven Hill will continue to produce several other Bottled-in-Bond bourbons like Evan Williams, which has the same mashbill as HHBIB, and Old Fitzgerald.
Now onto the review itself. Being that it is a Bottled-in-Bond bourbon we know this whiskey was produced in one distillery, distilled during just one distillation season, aged for at least four years (in this case six) in a federally bonded warehouse, and bottled at 100 Proof. This bottled-in-bond bourbon is a bit unique in that it is charcoal-filtered. No, not in quite the same manner as Jack Daniels. The mash bill consists of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% malted barley.
Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond 6 Year Old Bourbon – Review
Color: Chestnut. A coppery red-brown.
On the nose: Caramel, corn, oak, and a pricking of acetone come to the forefront with leather, toffee, and cocoa in the background. Granny smith apple peel, a tinge of citrus, and walnut make their presence known as well.
In the mouth: The palate has less complexity than on the nose. Butterscotch, a little rye spice, roasted peanut, and brown sugar. Some mint and dry oak on the finish.
A truly impressive bourbon experience for the price. Is it a stunner, no? But it’s lusher than I would have expected. If you find any left on the shelves in Kentucky at MSRP I would encourage you to try it; however, don’t be getting a case of FOMO or pay secondary prices for a bottle.