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Bottled-in-Bond vs Single Barrel Bourbons (2024 Best Edition)

Bottled-in-Bond vs Single Barrel

A type of American whiskey known as bourbon is made from at least 51% corn, then aged in charred oak barrels. 

But among the types of bourbon, how do bottled-in-bond and single-barrel bourbon differ from each other? How do you tell them apart? 

Are there requirements that need to be met in order to be called single barrel and bottled-in-bond? 

Let’s end the confusion here as we compare bottled-in-bond vs single barrel bourbons. 

Bottled-in-Bond vs Single Barrel Bourbons Compared 

whisky decanter and a glass

Bottled-in-bond (BiB) bourbons (or bonded bourbon) are crafted at a single distillery, while single-barrel bourbons can be made from different distilleries. 

When it comes to aging, bonded bourbons must be aged for a minimum of four years, while single barrel expressions are required to age for a minimum of two years. 

Another thing, bottled-in-bond must be bottled at 100-proof or 50% ABV, which is more high-proof than single barrel bourbons, which can be bottled at any proof so long as it follows the bourbon requirements.  

Let’s Take A Closer Look 

Production Process

distillery pot stills

The production process (distillation) of bonded bourbons took place at a single distillery, crafted by a single distiller. 

Using oak barrels, the spirit is aged in federally controlled facilities or warehouses for a minimum of four years. 

After aging, it must be bottled at 100-proof. All of these requirements are in line with the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897.

“Bottled-in-bond is a unique expression of location. It’s very terroir-oriented. It has a sense of place.”

— Maggie Campbell, President & Head distiller at Privateer Rum

In comparison, single-barrel bourbons are almost similar to any standard bourbons in production. 

These spirits are aged in one single barrel instead of a blended mixture of various bourbon barrels. 

The spirits from a single barrel are individually bottled–at any proof. But each bottle has its own unique barrel number and dates regarding the aging process. 

Price Point

Single-barrel bourbons are pricier than bottled-in-bond bourbons. 

Although bottled-in-bond is expensive to produce because of their strict requirements, it comes at a reasonable cost and is not the expensive type that most people assume.  

Compared to other types of bourbon, single-barrel bourbons are expensive due to the limited number of bottles that can be produced. 

For instance, a whiskey barrel can produce around 130 to 220 bottles, which is lower than the average for other types of bourbon. 

Mash Bill

3 glasses with whisky and grains

As we all know, every bourbon mash bill must contain rye, malted barley, and corn, which is the dominant of all the grains that make up the spirit. 

Single-barrel and bonded bourbons contain the same mash bill. What’s different is the percentage of the grains, which will depend on the spirit’s brand.  

But based on the bourbon law, any bourbon expression must contain at least 51% corn [1]. 

Flavor Profile

The flavor profiles of the single barrel and bonded bourbons have similarities: oak, vanilla, and spice notes. 

However, bottled-in-bond expressions taste grassy but sweet and spicy. In comparison, single-barrel expressions are more on the sweet side. 

Bottled-in-bond bourbons have a lingering warm and spicy finish, compared with single barrel spirits with a honey and spice hint on a medium-length finish.  


Single-barrel and bottled-in-bond bourbons are equally popular in the whiskey world. 

Bottled-in-bond spirits are popular and in demand for those fanatics looking for a budget option, while the single barrel is popular for those looking for something unique and rare–with a budget. 

Top Brands 

liquor shelves

Many companies are producing single barrel expressions, and some of the notable brands include:

On the other hand, bottled-in-bond bourbons are also a staple in other companies, including the following brands:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is harder to find, single-barrel or Bottled-in-Bond?

The availability of single-barrel and Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys can vary depending on several factors, including the distillery’s production practices, distribution networks, and consumer demand.

Generally, both single-barrel and Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys can sometimes be limited releases or exclusive offerings from distilleries, making them relatively harder to find compared to standard expressions. However, the rarity of each type may vary depending on the specific brand, region, and market.

Some enthusiasts may find single-barrel whiskeys more elusive due to their limited production and unique characteristics, while others may encounter challenges in sourcing Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys due to their adherence to specific regulations and certification requirements.

Which is a better sipper, single-barrel or Bottled-in-Bond?

The preference between single-barrel and Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys as sippers ultimately comes down to individual taste preferences and desired drinking experiences. Both types of whiskey can offer exceptional quality and complexity, but they may appeal to different palates and occasions.

Single-barrel whiskeys are prized for their uniqueness, as each bottle is drawn from a single barrel, resulting in variations in flavor profile between barrels. These whiskeys often showcase distinct characteristics, with nuances of oak, spice, and sweetness that can vary from barrel to barrel. They are often sought after by enthusiasts looking for a more exclusive and personalized drinking experience, making them ideal for savoring and appreciating the complexities of whiskey.

Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys, on the other hand, are known for their consistency and reliability, as they must meet strict production standards and undergo rigorous testing and certification. Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys offer a reliable and high-quality drinking experience, with a consistent flavor profile that adheres to the standards set forth in the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897. They are often appreciated for their craftsmanship and adherence to tradition, making them suitable for those seeking a classic and dependable whiskey to enjoy neat or on the rocks.

Ultimately, whether single-barrel or Bottled-in-Bond whiskey is a better sipper depends on individual preferences and the desired drinking experience. Both types of whiskey have their unique merits and can provide enjoyable sipping experiences for whiskey enthusiasts.

How do Bottled-in-Bond and single barrel whiskeys differ?

Bottled-in-Bond and single barrel whiskeys differ in several key aspects, including their production processes, aging requirements, and labeling regulations.
Bottled-in-Bond whiskey:

Must be distilled by one distiller at one distillery during one distillation season.
Must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years.
Must be bottled at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume).
Must bear the Bottled-in-Bond label, which certifies that the whiskey meets all the requirements of the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897.
Single barrel whiskey:

Is bottled from a single barrel, meaning each bottle comes from a specific barrel, rather than being blended with whiskey from multiple barrels.

May vary in flavor profile between barrels, as each barrel imparts its own unique characteristics to the whiskey.

Does not have specific aging or proof requirements mandated by law, although many single barrel whiskeys are aged for several years and bottled at varying proofs depending on the distiller’s preference.

May be labeled as “single barrel” or “single cask” to denote its production method.

While both types of whiskey offer high-quality drinking experiences, Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys are subject to stricter regulations and certification requirements, ensuring a level of quality and authenticity that is guaranteed by law. Single barrel whiskeys, on the other hand, offer greater variability and uniqueness between barrels, allowing for a more diverse range of flavor profiles and drinking experiences.

What are the regulations for bottled-in-bond whiskey?

Bottled-in-Bond whiskey is governed by specific regulations outlined in the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, which was enacted to ensure the quality and authenticity of American whiskey. The key regulations for Bottled-in-Bond whiskey include:

Must be distilled by one distiller at one distillery.
Must be distilled in the same distillation season (January to June or July to December).
Must be aged in a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision for at least four years.
Must be bottled at 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume).
Must bear the Bottled-in-Bond label on the bottle, indicating that the whiskey meets all the requirements of the Bottled-in-Bond Act.

These regulations are designed to ensure the quality, authenticity, and consistency of Bottled-in-Bond whiskey, providing consumers with a reliable and high-quality drinking experience. Bottled-in-Bond whiskey is widely regarded as a mark of craftsmanship and tradition, reflecting the rich history and heritage of American whiskey production.

Are there specific regulations for single barrel whiskey?

No, there are no specific regulations for single barrel whiskey. The term typically indicates that the whiskey comes from a single barrel, but the aging and proof may vary.

How does the flavor of bottled-in-bond whiskey compare to single barrel whiskey?

Bottled-in-Bond whiskey may offer consistent flavor profiles due to its adherence to strict regulations, while single barrel whiskey may vary in flavor from barrel to barrel, offering unique tasting experiences.

Which one is better, bottled-in-bond or single barrel whiskey?

It ultimately depends on personal preference. Bottled-in-Bond whiskey offers assurance of quality and consistency, while single barrel whiskey offers uniqueness and variation.

Key Takeaways

Single-barrel and bottled-in-bond bourbons have similarities in flavor profile, mash bill, and popularity. 

But what makes them distinct is how they’re crafted, the requirements, aging, and price point. 

In this battle, there’s no better than the other. Both cater to different taste buds and preferences of whiskey drinkers. 

If you’re into spicy and warm expression at a price you can afford– opt for bottled-in-bond bourbons.

But, if you’re into the sweeter side and a straight sipper, then opt for single-barrel bourbons. 


  1. 5 rules that make it bourbon
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