Kirkland Bottled in Bond Bourbon​ Review [In Depth]

Kirkland Signature Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Alex author
Founder, writer
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Kirkland Bottled in Bond Details

Distillery: Barton 1792

Type & Region: Kentucky, Bourbon

Alcohol: 50%

Composition: 74% corn, 18% rye, 8% barley 

Aged: At least 4 years

Color: 1.2/2.0 on the color scale (chestnut, oloroso sherry)

Price: Around $25

From the back label:

“Kirkland Signature Bottled in Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is wonderfully balanced. Its subtle notes of candied fruit and honey give way to a pleasant spice, bringing out the true character of the rye. IT is rounded out with an oaky, lasting finish that is reminiscent of the aroma of the Kentucky barrel warehouses from which it came”.

Kirkland Bottled in Bond overview

In 2021, Costco, the mega bulk membership buy-everything warehouse store, released their Kirkland Signature line of Kentucky Bourbons sourced from Barton 1792. It looks like they brought it back for 2022 as well. This is not to be mistaken with the 7 Year old Tennessee Bourbon (Dickel FYI) they’ve already been selling for years.
This collaboration of sorts mostly mirrors Barton’s current year-round lineup: small batch, bottled in bond, and full proof single barrel. Well…single barrel and full proof were combined, but close enough. I am surprised that Costco didn’t go with an age-stated release, but Barton themselves do it so rarely (just the 12 year) that I guess they didn’t want Costco doing it either.
While all these bottles were initially released in the US in 2021, Costcos in Japan didn’t get them until early 2022. Unfortunately, the full proof single barrel didn’t make it across the Pacific Ocean, but the Small Batch and Bottled in Bond did. Surprise! Costco does in fact exist in Japan and yes you can use your American membership to enter the store.
There is a curious detail that is worth mentioning – Costco clearly states that the bourbon came from 1792 Barton. That seems totally normal, but nearly every other company that sources from them, including Bardstown Bourbon Company, Cream of Kentucky, Sam Houston, and Calumet Farms, either can’t or choose not to explicitly mention the distillery.
But, the 74% corn / 18% rye / 8% barley mashbill occasionally mentioned on the label gives away that fact, so it’s not entirely a secret. Costco may have bought so much bourbon that Barton allowed Costco to mention their name.
It’s also interesting to see that Costco was able to mimic the lineup, offer 1 L bottles, AND charge less, although who’s to say that these come from younger (and therefore cheaper) barrels. Then again, Kirkland Signature is known for awesome value and quality, which is why I’ve been a huge fan and shopping there for decades (and am an Executive member).
Here’s the price comparison of the Costco and Barton releases. 1792 Bottled in Bond is around $40 MSRP for a 750mL, but is allocated. The $25 I paid (38% less) for a 1L (33% more) is insane.
Let’s find out whether Costco brings the value and quality in this Costco Kirkland Bottled in Bond bourbon review.
kirkland bottled in bond review back label
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Kirkland Bottled in Bond smell

Kirkland Bottled in Bond Bourbon packs a hearty amount of roasted caramel, caramel nougat, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove, followed by dried apple and orange, dried ginger, caraway seed, and a little licorice and pineapple.
It’s quite spicy and roasty, and added with the slightly stronger than expected alcohol feels a bit more intense than I expected. But you know what, since I did this review right after the small batch, I can tell that the caramel sweetness is stronger, and it’s less grassy and nutty. It’s a major improvement for sure.
Swirling and rest make Kirkland Signature Bottled in Bond more earthy and spicy – caramel, vanilla, roasted oak, caraway seed, cinnamon, dried ginger, red apple, and orange, clove, dried pineapple, cocoa powder, and smoke.
While it’s a roasty and spicy-forward bourbon with everything else behind it, everything else has some development to it so it smells more complete and not so one-dimensional. I wouldn’t say that it is particularly rich, complex, or outstanding, but I like it.
kirkland bottled in bond front label review

Kirkland Bottled in Bond taste and aftertaste

The first sip has roasted caramel, vanilla, a lot of cinnamon, roasted oak, dried nuts, dried apple, orange, and ginger, caraway seed, a little coffee ground, chocolate, and cherry. The sweetness and spiciness go back and forth as being the strongest trait, with secondary earthiness and fruitiness.
No kidding, Kirkland Bottled in Bond tastes pretty good and already feels like an upgrade from the small batch with more caramel and no detectable youthful graininess. It’s still straightforward and not unique, but it tastes good, better than the scents. So yes, I’ll take it.
After “chewing” Costco Kirkland Bottled in Bond has roasted caramel, cinnamon, roasted oak, vanilla, dried apricot and apple, earthy caraway seed, dark chocolate, dried pineapple, and a hint of dry nuttiness.
It’s interesting because it’s still spice and oak-forward, but the dried fruit seems to be drawn out more as well, which I applaud. The viscosity is slightly above average, the ABV isn’t a problem, and the lack of bitter graininess all add to the experience that tastes generally well put together. This is truly a compliment: nothing feels off, bad, or particularly young.

On the flip side, it’s not unique or that interesting, but I recognize that there’s some developed sweetness and fruitiness there (in my opinion harder to do right than the oak and spice) that makes it good to drink. And you know what, I enjoy drinking it.

The finish leaves roasty caramel, oak, cinnamon, dried ginger, and apple skins. As expected it’s quite roasty and spicy, but not overdone.
Roasted caramel, cinnamon, oak, dried apricot, apple, ginger, and dried grass come after “chewing”, and the longer lasting ginger, cinnamon, and oak makes it a spicy and oaky bourbon from beginning to end.

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Kirkland Bottled in Bond Rating

Mid shelf+
Costco and Barton did a great job with the Kirkland Signature Bottled in Bond bourbon, and the price makes it even better. For $26 or so for 1L (scaled down to $20 for 750mL), I think it’s a surprisingly good bourbon at an insanely amazing value.
Price isn’t a factor in the rating, but I can still appreciate it, because you usually do have to spend money to get bourbon. It’s safe to say it’s one of the best bourbons under $50…if it were more available. Unfortunately, it seems to sporadically reappear every year or so.
Just from memory (did the reviews back to back), Kirkland Signature Bottled in Bond has noticeably denser caramel that better balances the stronger oak and spice than the small batch. The slightly more developed dried apple, apricot, orange, and pineapple also makes a big difference in making the bottled in bond version more enjoyable and developed, especially if you’re going to drink it neat. And yet another bonus – the youthful graininess and bitterness is gone.
The downside, although there are very few considering the absurd value, is that it’s straightforward. It’s as simple as that.
I do wish that Costco would give us an indication of the age. Although bottled in bond means at least 4 years old, I’d guess this is closer to 5-6 years, although I have no evidence except how it drinks. If only Costco followed in New Riff’s footsteps and at least mentioned the distilling season and year.
As of this review, I haven’t had 1792 Bottled in Bond yet, so I can’t say whether Kirkland Bottled in Bond bourbon is better or worse. But given this experience, I’m optimistic that I’ll like it a lot, although it’s probably $15-20 more expensive for 25% less bourbon. It can’t be as good a value.
If you happen to be wondering if you should pick the small batch or bottled in bond (assuming you can actually choose), I recommend that you pay a few dollars more for the much better bottled in bond. It’s worth it. But if you buy both, you’re still a winner.
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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