I’ve been bitching and moaning about this for a while now. Check out my post at The Civil Gripe . There is. however some light at the end of that tunnel, so here’s where I’m at nowadays.
I went to five different liquor stores around my neighborhood, and I ended up with a Straight Kentucky Bourbon – they all carry them. This one is from Evan Williams. Not bad, but a bit too sweet for me. The sixth store, Queens Wines and Liquors on Myrtle Avenue was when I finally found what I was really looking for: bottled-in-bond whisky. They actually have a nice selection, but for my first taste I settled on a cheapo. Rittenhouse 100 proof Straight Rye Whisky. It was a bit under $30 (with tax). It looked a little bit too dark and I was worried that it might have caramel coloring added to it. At home I poured myself a couple of fingers into a pony glass and I poured the same amount of Bourbon in another. The colors looked very much the same. I took a sip of Bourbon, waited a few minutes and took a sip of Rye – Incredible. The rye is not as sweet as the bourbon and a lot smoother. I can still taste some sweetness, because obviously, rye also includes some corn mash. Still, bottled-in-bond means aging for at least four years, while straight whisky only has to be aged for two years. So, while I still have to find a Christian Brothers Sacred Bond brandy in New York, I see a lot of lot of b-I-b (bottled-in-bond) rye whisky in my future – later for the fraudulent Scotch and Irish whisky. I will miss my Armagnac and Calvados and I might break my rule once in a while, but I don’t see why I should help those crooks.
Be careful! You might pay $3,000 for an amazingly marketed cognac or single malt. Let’s do some simple math: it seems that the law allows up to 2.5% caramel color in an alcoholic beverage. That is a US law, in Europe and the UK this might be higher. Let us stay with these figures. 2.5% of $3,000 comes out to $75. Your bottle has a capacity of 750 milliliters. 2.5% of 750 equal 18.75. I happen to live in the US so my google shows me American measures. I looked for some caramel coloring and found a 32 oz. bottle for $4.98. 32 oz. is 946.353 milliliter. So one milliliter would cost $0.005 and some little change – I feel generous so let’s round it up to $0.006. Multiply that by 18.75. You get a whopping $0.01. That is a US dime, meaning 10 cents. Now I know that you couldn’t give a shit – $3,000 for you is chump change. But you did not become rich because you’re an idiot. So how do you feel, now that you have paid $75 for something that you could buy for 10 cents? Let me rub this in a bit more: I can buy that caramel coloring, or even easier I could actually make my own caramel coloring which might be even cheaper. I would then get some cheap shit whisky, add my caramel coloring to it, drink it and feel like the king of the world. Heck, I might add 5% caramel coloring and feel like I’m getting the same bargain that you would for a $6,000 bottle of fraudulent shit.
Just realized that my review is actually kind of two pronged. What can I say, it is so annoying that I had to spend days and days to actually find some information about this topic. The truth is that it is still incomplete. I only found one brandy in the entire world that is guaranteed by law to have no additives other than water. It is because it is bottlec-in-bond according to United State law. Anywhere else in the world they may disclose on the label that they have or do not have additives, but they can change that form one day to the next. Christian Brothers Sacred Bond Brandy must comply to this law. One distiller, one crop, one harvest, aged in new charred oak barrels for at least 4 years, with some water added before bottling proof of at least 100 (50% ABV) and no other additives whatsoever.
Heads up Haven Hill Distillery. The link does not seem to work, so here it is again:
So, though I still need to taste that Sacred Brandy, I’d be willing to be your New York ambassador and spokes person, though I would still need to taste it – I have very high hopes.
Me again. The latest development: Copper & Kings. This is a relatively new distillery located in Louisville Kentucky that specializes in brandy. They make an American Craft Brandy that is excellent and it says on the bottle that they do not add caramel color, boise, or sugar. They also make a delicious apple brandy. I also found that Laird makes a great bottled-in-bond apple brandy, but I have not tasted that one yet.