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J.T.S. Brown Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review

Coming in hot from the same mash bill as Heaven Hill Heritage Collection 17 year, this bottom shelf beauty is the object of much discussion when folks in the whiskey world talk about value. This isn't something I often talk about on my site, as everyone's buying power is different - so I stick to the whiskey experience mostly. I do talk about value occasionally on my Instagram, chatting with other enthusiasts about more generalities, but ultimately the experience everyone really wants to know about is how enjoyable the whiskey is. Knowing that allows you, the venerable reader, to make your own choice on worth or value.

Sometimes a brand just shows so much inherent value that they begin to form a bit of a cult following (looking at you Wild Turkey 101). But don't take my word for it... Here are some of the responses I got on Instagram when I asked my followers what they thought of J.T.S. Brown bourbon:

@loveofdramsanddrinks says, "It’s hard to find anything better for the price."
@moonstavern glady announces, "That's my jam!"
@jerryiniraq posits, "Hands down my favorite thrifty bourbon. And my go to cold/flu Hot Toddy elixir… hot tea, honey, lemon, and JTS Brown… Sweet relief!!"
@egilbert09 venerates, "I had this last night and was just thinking about how great it is for the price!"
And the astute @m_goldsberry describes the pour saying, "Brown sugar budget and caramel goodness"

Quite a few people hadn't tried it, which is a valuable proposition for the needfulness of today's review. Without knowing this is one of the cheapest bourbons out there, would you enjoy a glass? Let's find out.


Company on Label: J.T.S. Brown's Son Company (Distilled by Heaven Hill)

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 78% Corn, 10% Rye, 12% Malted Barley

Proof: 100°

Age: NAS, but a minimum of 4 years are required for the Bottled in Bond statement

Further identification: This is a bottle I purchased from my last trip to Louisville, KY in late 2021; it can be found in both KY and IN as far as I am aware


Nose: Brown sugar and caramel jump out of the glass first. Deep vanilla barrel char, a hallmark of Heaven Hill bourbon, is woven deeply into the fabric of the glass. The nose is bright, potent and incredibly sweet with confectioners sugar and almond extract. A tinge of barrel funk suggests the whiskey spent plenty of time pushing in and out of the barrel staves. Just a hint of nuttiness can be perceived on the back end of a deep inhale. Black pepper, elderflower and cranberry aromas give subtle complexity here. Time for a sip.

Returning from a sip I continue to find lovely, classic bourbon barrel aromas. The aromas embodied above are a fine example of approachable whiskey that a beginner enthusiast could have a good time picking apart. The empty glass smells of roasted almonds, oily cashews and savory tomato paste.

Palate: On first tasting this I am surprised at how low-volume the flavors are compared to the nose. Where the aromas were bursting from the glass, the liquid passes over the tongue with a wink and slight nod. Walnut and vanilla are the simplest flavors that can be gleaned from two sips. Slight hints of peanut shells and dried cherry skins can be attested if not by a figment of imagined flavors in the vacuum of space that sits before me. In an effort to build more flavor, I take a larger sip. Soft vanilla, a hint of peanut brittle and a cushioned landing in a bed of toffee is wholly unremarkable outside of a slight flash of cinnamon that swoops in briefly at the end. Again contrasting to the nose - I find no hallmarks of exceptional aging present outside of the much lighter gradient of brown sugar that the nose divulged. My last sip is enjoyably more complex with citrus tea, banana bread and plenty of caramel to go around. The linger is short and thin, but not displeasing.


Rating: 3/5

This is just solid. I don't think it's some crazy exceptional sipper that is an absolute steal on the shelf by any means. Ultimately it leans out of the level of quality that excites me that I would find myself reaching for regularly, so ultimately this will probably be the only bottle I ever enjoy personally. Hope this review helps! Cheers!

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