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Reservoir's Bottled in Bond Wheat: History in the Making

June 10, 2021

Last week we introduced you to our Grey Ghost Bottled in Bond Bourbon, and I gave you the bare basics on what qualifications a whiskey must possess to be labeled as “Bottled in Bond” according to the stiff guidelines within US legislation.

Today, as we announce the release of our Grey Ghost Bottled in Bond Wheat on September 16th, it might be nice if I fleshed out the primer on the history of BIB spirits. Think of it like being schooled in the past, while sipping on it as well.

Reservoir Distillery Wheat Whiskey Barrell marked 4/21/15

Well over one hundred years ago, the Federal Government spotted a giant pothole in the area of Consumer Protectionism. Least worrisome, people were being swindled, most worrisome, folks were kicking the bucket.

During these unregulated times, a battle arose between distillers who made legitimate whiskey and “non-distilling producers,” or rectifiers, who bought whiskey (or neutral grain spirit) and tinkered with it.

The problem stemmed from the specific rectifiers who did not simply blend their purchased whiskies to create a unique flavor profile for their customers, but who tampered with the legitimacy of the spirit altogether.

These rectifiers fluffed up their purchased spirits with products that at best could be deemed deceitful, but in many cases were poisonous. Ingredients such as artificial coloring and flavorings, prune juice, glycerin, gasoline, and formaldehyde were added to stretch the spirit out. As whiskey was sold in barrels, it was much easier to adulterate the contents than whiskey already bottled.

Now as any great government would see as something of supreme importance, protecting its people was paramount.

Enter the Bottled in Bond Act of 1897.

These new strict guidelines created a secure mark of authenticity and provenance for the consumer where they now could enjoy the highest level of confidence with their newly purchased bottle of whiskey as it had passed the benchmarks that stated it was made by one distiller at only one distillery and during one season, then bottled at 100 proof (unadulterated with anything other than pure water for dilution), and aged in a bonded warehouse for at least 4 years.

If a whiskey met these standards, the government adorned that bottle with a lovely green stamp of approval rather than the awful green stamp of a Mr. Yuck face.

Reservoir’s Bottled in Bond Wheat has not only met those rigorous government requirements, but this spirit has surpassed our own meticulous and uncompromising levels of excellence. With a mash bill of 100% wheat, aged for nearly 5 1/2 years in our one-of-a-kind alligator char 10-gallon casks, this heavenly whiskey invites you to sample and savor a bit of the past. We may not be able to transport your whole body to a less turbulent time, but we can certainly make that magically happen to your taste buds.

~Shelley Sackier, Director of Distillery Education