I’m not a huge fan of buying Total Wine Spirits Direct whiskey, especially when the store and employees push it in your face so much. I understand why they do it, I understand that they have some pretty good options, I just don’t like it, and I don’t fully trust it. But, I decided to give Bondstone Double Oak Bourbon a try based on a STRONG recommendation from a Total Wine employee.
I’ve previously tried Wolcott, Shieldaig, Glen Fohdry, First Call, and a couple other spirits direct offerings, and they’ve been mostly okay. I’m hoping Bondstone Double Oak Bourbon turns out a little better, though.
Bondstone Double Oak Bourbon Overview
- Spirit: Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Double Oaked
- Owned By: IJW Whiskey Co.
- Distilled By: Sourced from various Kentucky distilleries
- Aged: Minimum 4 years
- ABV: 45%, 90 proof
- Mashbill: High-rye mashbill
- Price: $50. Only available at Total Wine.
The history behind Bondstone is essentially that of IJW Whiskey Co., a spirits producer that began laying barrels in 2016 and popped up with state of the art facilities in 2021.
IJW essentially sources whiskeys from distilleries such as Bardstown, and some others, as the ex-master blender of Brown-Forman blends whiskey together to sell. A lot of their whiskey is contracted through Total Wine and their Spirits Direct program.
We don’t know the exact distillery or mashbill used to create Bondstone Double Oak Bourbon, but the bottle does claim that it’s a high-rye bourbon.
They key piece here is that this is a double oaked bourbon. Once the whiskey is aged, it is then sent into a second new-charred oak barrel.
Secondary aging usually means that a bourbon can’t be designated as “straight”; however, when the second barrel is also a new-charred oak barrel, the “straight” label is okay.
If, for instance, a bourbon is secondary aged in a ex-sherry cask, it can no longer be referred to as a straight bourbon. That’s why many double oaked bourbons, like Bondstone, retain the straight label.
Lastly, Bondstone is not a NAS whiskey, but it does don a 4 year age statement.
Bondstone Double Oak Bourbon Tasting Notes
I’ve stated that I don’t love Spirits Direct whiskey, and I know a lot of other people out there don’t like it either. At the end of the day, though, if you make good whiskey, then I can get over it. So, let’s pour ourselves a dram and find out.
Nose: The first thing coming out of the glass is baking spice. Cinnamon, brown sugar, apple pie. There’s oak and leather but not overly so. A light floral undertone to it as well. The nose is very nice.
Palate: Moderate mouthfeel. Cinnamon spice, oak, vanilla, a touch of honey.
Finish: The whiskey thins out a lot on the back of the palate and into the finish. A dusty floral note turns to dried oak for a dry finish.
I’m going to start by saying this is pretty good. The downside to Bondstone Double Oak Bourbon is that the nose is delightful, the palate and taste is solid, but the finish is certainly lacking a bit. If every part of this bourbon were on par with the nose, it would be fantastic. Unfortunately, it’s hyped up to underperform.
Like I said, this is by no means a bad whiskey, and it’s actually pretty good. It just peaks at the wrong part.
The nose was full of those awesome baking spices that I love. A sugary sweet brown sugar and cinnamon with plenty of oak and leather. The palate wasn’t as rich with the sugar. It was definitely more cinnamon, vanilla, and honey. The oak was a little dry and the mouthfeel was decent. The finish had a dusty note and the whiskey thinned out. I was left with dry and dusty where I wanted a more rich and creamy finish.
I will still very much enjoy finishing my bottle of Bondstone Double Oak Bourbon… I just may always think about what it could’ve been.
Bondstone Double Oak Review Summary
I get annoyed with the TW Spirits Direct whiskeys as much as everyone. Partly because how hard it’s pushed, by employees and the signage around the store, partly because I like small craft distillers.
When a TW employee recommends one of their spirits, take it with a grain of salt. However, I understand that some of the stuff they push is probably going to be good.
Is Bondstone Double Oak as good as OF 1910 or Woodford Double Oak? I’m not sure. It’s close enough, though, for me to say that I’m not disappointed with my purchase and that I wouldn’t be opposed to buying it again. When it comes to TW Spirits Direct whiskey, that sounds like a win in my book.