UNBendt Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon and Rye Reviews & Tasting Notes


Founded in 2012 by Quentin Witherspoon, Ryan DeHart, Natasha DeHart, and Laurent Spamer, the Witherspoon Distillery opened in a Dallas, Texas, warehouse making rum. In only a year, a grain-to-glass malt whiskey project by intern Christy Cockre was a winner. It shifted the distillery’s focus, and Witherspoon Distillery quickly outgrew its home.


In 2015, the Witherspoon Distillery took on Sazerac as a minority-stake partner and moved operations to a former Piggly Wiggly in Lewisville, and in 2016, it brought in Lead Distiller Jacob Peraza. While the demand and business continued to grow, in 2018, Quentin exited the partnership. Simultaneously, the distillery added a “submarine still” that was creating newmake in 2019. And, despite the larger space, Witherspoon Distillery ran out of storage space. It took on an off-site aging warehouse. The remaining partners also changed the name from Witherspoon Distillery to BENDT Distilling.


When COVID hit, the distillery produced hand sanitizer like many others nationwide. In 2021, as things began to normalize, BENDT took on Karson Kasberg as an additional distiller.


I’m deep-diving into BENDT’s two Bottled-in-Bond whiskeys: a Bourbon and a Rye. Wait… what’s Bottled-in-Bond mean?


Bottled-in-Bond is one of those awesome consumer protection laws. Back in the times of yore, rectifiers and retailers were looking for ways to extend their whiskey supplies. They’d slowly add anything they could think of, including turpentine, tobacco spit, and other disgusting things.


The Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 was enacted to change that. It had strict rules that could not be deviated from. To start, it must be a wholly-produced product of the United States. Next, it must be distilled in a single distilling season (January to June or July to December) at a single distillery by a single distiller. Third, it must age for at least four years in wood in a government-bonded warehouse. Finally, it must be diluted only with pure water and must be bottled at 50% ABV (100°).


Does Bottled-in-Bond matter today? Yes. Absolutely. Most definitively. In American whiskeys it is my favorite niche category. There’s a sweet spot with Bottled-in-Bond offerings that cause me to seek them out. If I have the option of the same brand of Bourbon, with one bonded and the other not, I’ll go with the bonded one every time. Beyond the age statement and proof, I believe the single distilling season component heavily influences the finished product.


Before I get to my tasting notes, I must pause and thank BENDT Distilling for providing me with these samples in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest reviews. Let’s #DrinkCurious.


UNBendt Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon


Up first is the Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon. It is distilled from a mash of Denton County Yellow Dent corn, Texas Elbon rye, and 2-row malted barley. The Bourbon rested at least five years in new, #3 charred oak barrels, and you can expect to pay $59.99 for a 50% ABV (100°) package.


Appearance: I drank this Bourbon neat from my Glencairn glass. The deep, rich, orange amber formed a massive rim. Thick, widely spaced tears rolled down the wall.


Nose: The aroma of corn was unmistakable. It was joined by toasted oak, berries, brown sugar, and vanilla. Drawing the air into my mouth revealed corn and brown sugar.


Palate: As the liquid slid across my tongue, I found it medium-bodied and airy. I tasted corn, a massive amount of shredded tobacco, and coffee on the front of my palate. Midway through, there were vanilla, rye spice, and berries. The back offered black pepper, barrel char, and bold cinnamon.


Finish: UNBENDT’s Bourbon had an incredibly long, lingering finish highlighting the rye and cinnamon spices. Surprisingly, that tobacco punch from the front was nowhere to be found, whereas the corn and coffee remained.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The initial sip was slightly off-putting. However, as I delved deeper, this Bourbon grew on me. The heavy tobacco note may have distracted me from identifying other flavors past the corn. Once I got past the palate shock, that was no longer an issue.


While I enjoyed this sipping experience, I can see where some folks might get tied up after the first taste. My advice would be, like I say about everything, don’t give up after the first sniff or sip. You’ll do yourself a disservice. I believe this is worthy of a Bottle rating, and if you give it a chance, I’m positive you will, too.






UNBendt Bottled-in-Bond Rye



Next is the Bottled-in-Bond Rye. Its mashbill is Elbon rye, Triticale hybrid grain, Marris Otter malted barley, and Naked Streaker oats. Aged for at least 5.5 years in 53-gallon #3-chared new oak barrels, a 50% ABV (100°) 750ml bottle costs about $59.99.


Appearance: I sipped this Rye whiskey neat from my Glencairn glass. The liquid inside looked like dark caramel. It formed a medium rim that released thick, syrupy tears.


Nose: The aroma started with rye spice and mint. Oatmeal cookies, plums, and cherries followed. As I drew the vapor through my lips, I found doughy rye bread.


Palate: The mouthfeel was incredibly thick and creamy. That was unexpected but definitely not unwelcomed, likely coming from the triticale. I was so struck that I completely ignored the flavors blossoming in my mouth, so I had to take another gander.


The front of my palate featured plums, cherries, and caramel. I tasted rye bread and cinnamon spice in the middle, while the back offered clove, black pepper, and charred oak.


Finish: Long and silky, the finish consisted of rye bread, black pepper, plum, oatmeal, a touch of caramel, and cinnamon spice.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: UNBendt Bottled-in-Bond Rye is, simply put, lovely. The mouthfeel was enchanting and mesmerizing. Any whiskey that makes me forget the next step is attractive. I loved the flavors, and I enjoyed the finish. The price is very reasonable. UNBENDT Bottled-in-Bond Rye hits all the checkmarks for a Bottle rating. 


Final Thoughts: Texas whiskeys are polarizing. You either love them or you’re turned off. There’s no “that’s not bad” or “it's okay.” I’ve had both varieties and always approach the category not knowing what to expect.

If I had to choose between the two, the Rye was outstanding. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.