Early Times Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review

Ask any bourbon enthusiast from the state of Kentucky what to buy in the bluegrass state on a budget. You’re likely to be given a list of bottom shelf bottles lacking in sophisticated labels. However, while these offerings tend to lack in branding, they often make up in age, proof, and price. This is of course if they contain the words bottled in bond printed on the label. 


Thanks to Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor Jr, the late bourbon mastermind, banker, and politician, American whiskey producers have the ability to follow the regulations set by the 1897 bottles in bond act. Throughout history and in the modern era, these regulations have ensured bottles of American whiskey have been produced by one distillery in one distillation season, aged for a minimal of four years under government supervision, and a litany of other regulations. In turn, you have a product bottled at 50 percent alcohol by volume that hasn’t been under maturated. Now, Brown-Forman has a throwback offering utilizing their historic brand Early Times. 


Early Times, a brand name descriptive to its own story as the brand dates back to 1860 a time when, whiskey was still being sold directly from barrels. Early Times didn’t start gaining market traction until 1920 and was purchased by Brown-Forman in 1923. In the 1940’s Early Times Bottled in Bond first hit the market and in ten years time the expression was one of the best selling offerings domestically and internationally. 


Brown-Forman recently released an Early Times offering as a bottled in bond bourbon in liter only format. With a retail price of $22.99-$29.99 it gives other entry level bonded bourbons a run for the money. 




Nose 3/5


Nose is light initially with a slight harshness new leather with time a touch of baking spices. There’s a fair amount of corn on the nose. The ethanol lightens up after time and a light vanilla note replaces it. 


Palate 3.5/5


the texture is insanely silky and light with heavy sweetness on the front of the palate. The harshness from the nose is completely gone with a remote oak note on the back followed by gingerbread, a slight aromatic bitter, and very tertiary citrus peel. 


Finish 4/5


With an honest pull there’s a full finish notes of gingerbread with light oak tannins and a fall or Christmas spice. 


Price 4/5


At $22.99-$29.99 Early Times Bottled in Bond is a solid buy. Brown-Forman uses the highest quality grain that money can buy and have cultivated their own yeast strain for Early Times. They’re also very proud to tell you how they spend zero dollars on artificial enzymes. Additionally, the product is four years old and bottled at 100 proof, and it’s a homage to a best selling offering from 75 years ago. 


Total 14.5/20


Matthew Leonard


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