IW Harper Bottled-In-Bond (1936-1942) Review

This is an IW Harper BIB expression that was distilled in 1936 and bottled in 1942 at 50% ABV.

Nose: Heavy, chocolaty oak full of very rich caramel and butterscotch notes. Dark nose overall but very full at the same time – sometimes these oak heavy noses become too closed off for me.

Palate: Oak heavy up front with loads of burnt tobacco and cocoa powder. Peppery with more butterscotch and bold vanilla.

Finish: Oak drying out turning slightly hot and buttery.

Rating: 93/100 – A very bold expression – normally I’m not a fan of oak heavy bourbons, but this one is done so well that it doesn’t come off bitter or tannic.

Value for the money: Not really sure what these go for on the secondary since it’s very specific year wise and not seen too often. I would guess several hundred dollars or more, and I would not buy a bottle at that kind of price.

Vintage 17 Review

This is a discontinued expression that was bottled by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers and likely distilled by Bernheim. It’s a 17 year wheated bourbon bottled at 47% ABV. The wheated part is somewhat controversial as some of these Vintage 17s used a rye bourbon mashbill instead. A rumor that still persists is that you can tell by the font on the back of the label (block vs italics) but this was debunked a couple years ago. I’m fairly confident the one I had is wheated based on the palate/nose.

Nose: Oak, big wheat notes, orange marmalade, black pepper, dark chocolate, and maraschino cherries.

Palate: Wheat dominant with plenty of sweetness from the grain. Oak not as strong as you’d expect in a 17 year bourbon. A bit of citrus creeps in towards the end.

Finish: Very nice – oak and bitter chocolate lingers with some floral notes.

Rating: 93/100 – One of my favorite wheated expressions I’ve had.

Value for the money: I don’t see these too often anymore, but I’d venture to guess they are $400+ on the secondary. Not worth that price, but I’d pay up to $150 or so if it were available at retail.