• Distillery Dudes Rating 81% 81%

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Early Times Facts 

Distillery: Brown-Forman Distillery
Type & Region: Bourbon, Kentucky
Proof: 100 Proof
Mash Bill: 79% Corn, 11% Rye, 10% Barley
Aged: 4 Years
Price: $20-25

I am always on the lookout for affordable and delicious bourbons to try, thats why Early Times Bottled-In-Bond, a bourbon from Sazerac/Early Times Distilling Co. really stands out. Listen, I know some of you might think 81% is a crazy rating for this bourbon, but given the price point and how incridible this whiskey is I might be underselling it. In this review, I will go over my experience with this bourbon and share my thoughts on what makes Early Times unique and why it deserves the 81% ranking. 

About Early Times

Early Times is a brand with a long and storied history, dating back to 1860 when it was founded by Jack Beam in Kentucky. In 1933, Early Times was one of only a handful of distilleries that were granted permission to produce whiskey during Prohibition for medicinal purposes. Today, Early Times is owned by Sazerac and produces a range of bourbons and other spirits.


Upon pouring a glass of Early Times Bottled-In-Bond, I noticed a deep amber color, with hints of gold and copper. It’s a beautiful color that speaks to the quality of the bourbon.

The nose on this expression is an absolute delight. It opens up with a rich and welcoming aroma of crème brûlée, burnt brown sugar, vanilla cake, caramel corn, and toffee. The baking spices and nutmeg notes add a sense of warmth, while a light amount of oak provides some dimension. The distant walnut note gives it just the slightest bit of dusty funk, and there’s a bit of candied cherry and orange as well. The overall effect is a nice fullness to the nose, and it reminds me of certain Maker’s Mark Cask Strength batches I’ve had in the past.


The palate is where this bourbon really shines. At first sip, there’s a caramel and cola note up front with a bit of vanilla and cherry. The notes are joined by a punchy, peppery spice that intensifies when you chew the bourbon. Later tastings revealed notes very similar to what was found on the nose, including brown sugar, vanilla, caramel/toffee, nutmeg, and cinnamon. It also seemed to have a maple cookie note happening, and a bit of toasted almond nuttiness. Oak and pipe tobacco came through more at this stage than they did on the nose, and the same peppery spice from the first tasting arrived on the back palate. The mouthfeel is silky with medium viscosity.


The finish has a semi-dry, medium-long finish anchored by a slightly building black pepper kick. It reaches a decent heat level and becomes nicely balanced by some residual brown sugar/caramel notes, along with a satisfactory amount of oak. It’s a combination of flavors that again brought Dr. Pepper to mind during my initial tasting, although I didn’t get quite the same mental picture when tasting this days/weeks later.

“It’s a combination of flavors that again brought Dr. Pepper to mind during my initial tasting”


As a budget-friendly bourbon, the Early Times Bottled-In-Bond doesn’t need to be the most complex whiskey out there, but it delivers an excellent value. For around $25 or less, you can get a 1L bottle of 4+ year-old delicious, easy-sipping/excellent-mixing bourbon. It’s not hard to see why this is one of if not the, best values in the bourbon world today.

What Early Times Unique

Early Times Bottled-In-Bond is unique for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s a bottled-in-bond whiskey, which means it’s made under strict regulations that ensure the quality and authenticity of the product. Secondly, it’s a budget-friendly bourbon that delivers a surprising amount of complexity and depth of flavor for its price point. Thirdly, it’s a product of the Early Times Distillery, which is now owned by Sazerac, one of the biggest players in the bourbon industry.

Similar Whiskey To Try

Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond

Like Early Times, Evan Williams is a budget-friendly bourbon with a similar mash bill and aging process. Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond is also 100 proof and aged for a minimum of four years in new, charred oak barrels. On the nose, it offers notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak, with a palate that delivers flavors of brown sugar, toffee, and spice. Its finish is long and warm, with a kick of black pepper. Overall, Evan Williams Bottled-In-Bond is a great value for a bourbon that is both easy-sipping and mixable, making it a great addition to any home bar.

Wild Turkey 101

With a similar price point, Wild Turkey 101 is a great alternative to Early Times. On the nose, you’ll find notes of vanilla, caramel, and a bit of oak, with a slightly spicier palate that features hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. The finish is long and warm, with a pleasant burn that lingers on the tongue. Overall, Wild Turkey 101 is a solid choice for those looking for a bold, flavorful bourbon that won’t break the bank.

Conclusion & Final Thoughts

The Early Times Bottled-In-Bond is an excellent bourbon that delivers great value for money. It may not be the most complex or sophisticated whiskey out there, but it’s easy-sipping and great for mixing, making it a versatile addition to any liquor cabinet. Its rich and welcoming aroma, combined with a smooth and balanced palate, make this a great entry-level bourbon for newcomers to the category, while also providing enough complexity and depth of flavor to satisfy seasoned whiskey drinkers. At its price point, it’s hard to find a better value in the bourbon world today, and I highly recommend giving it a try.


What does "bottled-in-bond" mean?

“Bottled-in-bond” is a designation that was established by the U.S. government in 1897 to ensure the quality and authenticity of American whiskeys. To be labeled as bottled-in-bond, a whiskey must meet several requirements, including being produced by one distiller in one distilling season, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV). Bottled-in-bond whiskeys are also required to include a statement on the label indicating the distillery where it was made and the distilling season.

Is Early Times Bottled-In-Bond only available in certain states?

Yes, Early Times Bottled-In-Bond is currently only available in select states within the United States. This is due to distribution limitations and state-specific liquor laws. However, it may become more widely available in the future.

How does the price of Early Times Bottled-In-Bond compare to other bourbons?

Compared to other bourbons, Early Times Bottled-In-Bond is considered to be a great value. At a price point of around $24 for a 1L bottle, it offers a high-quality, aged bourbon at an affordable price. Many other bourbons of similar age and quality can cost much more.

Can Early Times Bottled-In-Bond be used in cocktails, or is it best enjoyed neat?

Early Times Bottled-In-Bond is versatile and can be used in a variety of cocktails, as well as enjoyed neat or on the rocks. Its smooth, easy-drinking profile and 100 proof strength make it a great choice for mixing in classic bourbon cocktails like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan. However, it also has enough depth and complexity to be enjoyed on its own.