Bourbon Industry

Heaven Hill is bringing back its bottled-in-bond bourbon, but there’s a catch.

Bottled-in-bond bourbons are big and nobody knows this more than Heaven Hill, the 84-year-old family-owned distillery in Bardstown. Fans were not happy when the distillery announced last fall that it was going to stop selling a bargain favorite, the Heaven Hill 6-year-old bottled-in-bond.

It was known as a great buy, like Heaven Hill’s Henry McKenna: A whiskey geek’s house bourbon.

The 6-year-old version, referred to by insiders as HHBIB or HHBIB6, was a favorite because it was a great cheap bourbon, typically available well under $20.

Well, now they are bringing it back. But price-conscious fans aren’t necessarily going to be happy about that either.

On Monday, Heaven Hill announced it will launch Heaven Hill 7-year-Old Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, with a suggested retail price of about $40.

It’s coming out in October, first in California, Texas, New York, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina and Colorado. No word on it will be available in Kentucky.

The new version is “made from Heaven Hill Distillery’s traditional bourbon mashbill, mingled in small batches, and bottled at 100 proof,” and comes with a new label that features blue instead of green lettering.

“This historic offering of the company’s namesake Bourbon exemplifies the craftsmanship, patience and perseverance that are hallmarks of Heaven Hill’s whiskey-making tradition,” according to the news release. The label includes the history of the namesake brand, according to the release, which makes it clear that Heaven Hill is committed to the delivering bottled-in-bond bourbons.

The designation was created by the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 to give drinkers a guarantee of quality and transparency in an era known for adulterated spirits. To qualify, whiskey must be the product of “one distilling season from one distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years and bottled at 100 proof,” according to the release.

Heaven Hill produces more bottled-in-bond whiskeys than any other distillery today, according to the release, “and prides itself on having a vast enough inventory to ensure that each of these bottlings meet the exacting standards of a bottled-in-bond.”

Fans of bottled-in-bond bourbons rely on the designation to know where and when the bourbon was made, something that isn’t always as apparent on other whiskey labels.