Rieger’s Bottled in Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review

Drink Reviews whiskey
Rieger’s Bottled in Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey Review

It’s a fascinating experience to sample spirits from a young distillery that is still getting its feet under it, and then return quite a few years later and see how far they’ve come since. Kansas City’s J. Rieger & Co. represents one of those scenarios for me, as I’m not sure I’ve tasted a single thing from the distillery since first sampling their flagship Kansas City Whiskey way back in 2016. That product was (and remains) something of an oddity on the market: A blend of sourced straight bourbon, straight rye and light whiskey, likely from MGP, combined with a small inclusion of 15-year-old Oloroso sherry directly into the blend. Suffice to say, it implies a young company concocting a product to let them compete with older distillate on the shelves, but J. Rieger & Co has now been producing their own whiskey long enough to have some truly mature stocks on hand. And that’s how we get Rieger’s Bottled in Bond, a straight bourbon whiskey with a more than respectable 6 year age statement, currently in its second release.

Like any American whiskey carrying the designation of bottled in bond, Rieger’s straight bourbon is at least four years of age, and 50% ABV (100 proof). In this case, this brand was aged for six years in newly charred American oak, from a high-rye mash bill that also contains a relatively high amount of malted barley: 56% corn, 30% rye, 14% barley. It carries a reasonable $60 MSRP (especially from a smaller producer at this age statement), but is available in limited quantities. So with that said, let’s get to tasting and see how the Kansas City producer is faring with their more mature distillate.

On the nose, Rieger’s BIB is initially reminiscent of caramel corn–buttery and sweet, with flourishes of clove and freshly sawn lumber. I’m also getting a little maple sweetness, and a maltiness evocative of black tea. It’s a tad grain forward on the nose as well, with just a hint of darker cherry fruit. All in all, a pretty pleasant nose.

On the palate, this release initially turns in the direction of brighter citrus and vanilla, along with the caramel corn on the nose, before seguing into maltiness and assertive roast. There’s hints of cherry, but again the graininess asserts itself, making it feel a bit youthful despite its six years of aging–as does the ethanol, which seems rather on the hot side for the proof point. I’m reminded of honey tea that has perhaps been oversteeped, with the roast and maltiness both evoking an astringency on the tongue that builds from sip to sip, drying out the palate.

All in all, I find myself liking the nose of this bottled in bond bourbon, but the astringency of the palate hurts my appreciation somewhat. That combination of drying effect and bitterness throws the balance here somewhat out of whack, although it’s possible my perception here is an outlier. Either way, it’s impressive that J. Rieger & Co. has managed the difficult task of bringing their own 6-year bourbon to maturation over the last decade, a point that many small distilleries never reach.

Distillery: J. Rieger & Co.
City: Kansas City, MO
Style: Straight bourbon whiskey
ABV: 50% (100 proof)
Availability: Limited, 750 ml bottles, $60 MSRP

Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident beer and liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin