Brother's Bond Cask Strength Bourbon Review [In Depth]

Brother's Bond Cask Strength Bourbon 2006

Alex author
Founder, writer
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Brother's Bond Cask Strength Bourbon Details

Distillery: Brother’s Bond (sourced from Ross and Squibb / MGP)

Type & Region: Bourbon, Indiana, USA

Alcohol: 57.9%

Composition: 65% corn, 22% rye, wheat and barley making up the rest

Aged: At least 4 years

Color: 1.3/2.0 on the color scale (russet, muscat)

Price: $75-85

From the company website:

Elegant and exceptionally rich, complex & balanced taste with a touch of sweetness & spice. A four-grain, high-rye straight bourbon whiskey with a mash bill of 65% corn, 22% rye, wheat and barley making up the rest. The copper column and copper pot-doubler distillation method creates a spirit full of flavor and texture. Then the spirit is aged for a minimum of 4 years in virgin American oak barrels with a deep char #4 on the staves and # 2 char on the barrel heads.

Brother's Bond Cask Strength Bourbon overview

Brother’s Bond Bourbon was created to celebrate the brotherhood and friendship between Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley, the two main actors who played [vampire] brothers in The Vampire Diaries, and of all types of brothers (blood or not). I personally have never watched the show, but I do have a younger brother.
While they started out with the 40% ABV Brother’s Bond Bourbon, they soon expanded to a cask strength version of that bourbon plus a rye whiskey. That all makes sense – a 40% ABV version attracts some people and a cask strength version attracts an additional group of people who want the extra proof (like me).
There are a few details to cover so you know what this is. This is sourced from Ross and Squibb (aka MGP) in Indiana, which is a massive name in bourbon. They produce whiskeys for tons of well known brands, including Redemption andPenelope…although MGP owns Penelope now.
The other important detail is that this is a four grain bourbon, although it’s not clear if all the grains were mashed and distilled together, or rye’d and wheated bourbons were aged separately and then blended together after aging. It’s probably the second one. I’m indifferent either way, but I’m still curious about the details.
And on top of that, each batch has a different ABV. That’s actually a nice touch because it reaffirms that each batch is truly small batch and unique. To that point, this is batch 10.
Let’s find out if this bonds with my senses in this Brother’s Bond Cask Strength Bourbon review.
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As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for everything (they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass Set of 6, Set of 4Set of 2, or just one. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

Brother's Bond Cask Strength Bourbon smell

The scents start with caramel, vanilla, apricot, roasted oak, bubblegum, licorice, cinnamon, orange peel, and a little bit of toasted grain. Even at nearly 58% ABV, the scents are not as full and rich as I’d like them to be. They’re there and have some body, but they don’t have much expressiveness.
Brother’s Bond Cask Strength Bourbon smells good, but it’s harder to go any further than that because nothing stands out.
After swirling and rest, there’s honey, vanilla custard, apricot, lemon peel, roasted oak, fennel, cinnamon, and clove. It smells a bit better now, but what can I really write…Brother’s Bond Cask Strength Bourbon smells fine. It smells good enough and doesn’t have anything “wrong” or “off about it”, but it doesn’t have layers, pop, or anything else to let it stand out.
It feels…generic but not bland. Generic doesn’t mean bad, it just means that it smells like bourbon and it’s really hard to say that anything feels unique or different.
Maybe that’s the wrong word to use, but that’s what’s coming from my brain to my hands, and then into your ey you read.
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Brother's Bond Cask Strength Bourbon taste and aftertaste

Brother’s Bond Cask Strength Bourbon starts with honey, vanilla, orange peel, roasted oak, licorice, bubblegum, cinnamon, clove, roasted grain, earthy caraway seed, and a little bit of candied pineapple. More oak and spice come in towards the middle and back with some manageable alcohol kick.
This has a rye-forward personality with more herbal fennel and bubblegum flavors. It’s also quite woody and spicy, which in and of itself is fine, but the sweetness hasn’t developed quite enough yet to fully balance it. I’m not saying that this is unbalanced, but it’s more woody and spicy than I think it should be…or it’s woody and spicy in a way that makes me think that it isn’t mature enough yet.
This definitely tastes better than it smells, with fuller and more open flavors. That said, the first thing that comes to mind is “this tastes pretty good”, followed by “this tastes pretty generic”. There’s no way I would ever be able to pick this out of a crowd…I can get this profile (or better) from a lot of other places.
It doesn’t taste young, but I wouldn’t say that it tastes mature either. It’s aged out all the youthful grain and earthiness, but it hasn’t really developed enough fruitiness or sweetness either. It exists in an awkward place.
With “chewing” I taste caramel, vanilla, lemon peel, roasted oak, clove, cinnamon, candied pineapple, and a little dried grass and pumpernickel. Brother’s Bond Cask Strength Bourbon tastes much better and open ups this lemony sweetness that pops and redeems this bourbon.
The flavors have better fullness and richness, which are really good. Nonetheless, it’s still more woody and spicy than I’d like…and honestly just a little unbalanced. A bourbon being very woody and spicy isn’t necessarily bad (look at my reviews of Hardin’s Creek Frankfort or Clermont, which are both 17 years old), but the sweetness hasn’t fully caught up yet to complete the experience. There are brief moments where the sweetness shines, but for the most part the oak and spice control the experience.
The finish starts with caramel, orange peel, vanilla, oak, and clove with lingering toasted oak, fennel, and candied pineapple. After “chewing” it leaves caramel, roasted oak, cinnamon, clove, dried lemon, and licorice with lingering oils, toasted oak, clove, and dried grass.
But overall, I can sort of see what the team may have been going for. Brother’s Bond Cask Strength Bourbon offers an enjoyable, but far from spectacular or noteworthy experience.
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I’ve unfortunately lost some Glencairn’s while in transit, and that made me very sad. So, I wised up and bought this Glencairn Travel Case that comes also comes with 2 glasses so I don’t need to worry so much about them breaking. I think it’s great, and I think you’ll love it too. Seriously, if you already have glasses, protect them.

Brother's Bond Cask Strength Bourbon Rating

Mid shelf+
Brother’s Bond Cask Strength Bourbon is a generally fragrant and moreso a pretty flavorful bourbon, but I struggle to really get anything deeper than that because it usually feels like it doesn’t offer anything more than that. You don’t see the number score, but I still think that this is closer to “Top Shelf” than “Mid Shelf”, so I do believe that this is still a solidly made and enjoyable bourbon.
If you already have a bottle, then I think that you’ll enjoy it enough. But if you’re staring at the $80 price tag at the store, you can pass with no reservations. Seriously, there are so many incredible “Top Shelf” bourbons out there for $50-80 already that buying this bottle only really makes sense if you’re fans of the two actors. If that’s the case, go for it because the bourbon is solid. If you’re more a fan of bourbon than anything else, then you already have a lot of other amazing options.
It just feels like you’re paying extra for the branding and their involvement in the project than you are for the quality of the bourbon in the bottle. I’d honestly have a different tone if this were like…$40-50 (price doesn’t impact my rating but it can affect my tone), because this drinks more like a $40 bourbon sold by the producer then wrapped up in an extra $30-40 of marketing.
You could even cut out the middleman and buy MGP’s own Remus Bourbon or their cask strength single barrels for around $50-60. Speaking of MGP and companies owned by MGP, Penelope Four Grain Cask Strength Bourbon (for around $60) is another option too.
Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley are supposed to be the x-factors that differentiate this MGP-sourced bourbon from the many others out there, but I don’t think that’s enough for most bourbon drinkers. This is catered to a specific group of whiskey drinkers (or potential whiskey drinkers), and I’m not one of those people. I think you’ll know if this is for you.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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BrüMate NOS’R, Double-Wall Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass – 7oz (Matte Black)