By Richard Thomas
Bond & Lillard is the other whiskey in the initial Whiskey Barons release from Campari. Like its sibling Old Ripy, Bond & Lillard is a name from the Anderson County distilling industry of old. Since Campari owns Wild Turkey, and Wild Turkey is found on the outskirts of Anderson County’s seat of Lawrenceburg, the choice of reviving Bond & Lillard for a special edition is historical and very local choice.
Like Old Ripy, Bond & Lillard was made at Wild Turkey, but is not part of the regular Wild Turkey line up. Indeed, the folks at Campari pressed upon me that Bond & Lillard and Old Ripy were not part of the House of Russell, and if we assume the Russells weren’t involved in blending it that claim isn’t unreasonable. Wild Turkey might have made it, but blending the batch is as important as any other step in the production process, perhaps more so.
Bottled at 100 proof and aged for at least seven years, Bond & Lillard has a surprisingly light appearance in the glass, with a light copper coloring. In fact, it’s almost golden in appearance, but there is just a bit too much orange in the palette for that to be the case. That is probably because the whiskey is charcoal filtered after being dumped, similar to Jim Beam Green Label. A swish and coat steams thick legs down the glass.
Sniffing the liquor opens up with a lovely, creamy vanilla. The scent is fresh and crisp, like Granny Smith apples tossed with a few sprigs of mint and a lump of brown sugar, ready for baking. That is before baking, mind you, so it’s not at all candied. The aroma is too crisp for that.
That crispness carries over as lightness on the palate, and, once again, that is a surprise given the 100 proof. The flavor is a bit like a minty apple pie, what with the brown sugar, Granny Smith apples, apple mint and vanilla all stirred together. The flavor runs a touch oaky on the backside. From there, the finish runs light and sweet, with lingering warmth.
The one downside to the Whiskey Barons releases, Bond & Lillard included, is the price: $49.99 for a half-sized, 375 ml bottle.