Age: NAS (4 y/o)
Proof: 100 (50% ABV, all spirits labeled “Bottled in Bond” are 100 proof, among other requirements, see b3 here)
Color: Bright copper
Nose: caramel, a bit of spice, sour apple, alcohol
Palate: Sweet, creamy caramel apple on entry, then hot. With a splash of filtered water, sweet apple pie and sour apple Now-n-Laters come to the fore, with a surprising hit of wood at the end.
Finish: hot, dry, finishing up with a big, dry tingle. With the water, the heat abates. There is some wood carryover, but, as on the palate, the sweetness predominates, with sweet apple (gala or honeycrisp) lingering on the tongue for a long time.
Parting words: When it comes to American Apple Brandies, for me, Laird’s BiB (Bottled-in-Bond) is the benchmark. In addition to being delicious, it’s a classic American spirit. In Henry J. Crowgey’s Kentucky Bourbon: The Early Years of Whiskeymaking, almost half the pages in the book contain references to the distillation of fruit brandies, especially peach and apple. In a world filled with syrupy, fruity nonsense (and not just on the liquor shelves) or overpriced, overwrought “collector’s bottlings”, Laird’s bottled-in-bond is a charming sip of Americana. And really, really yummy too.