Reviews of UNBendt Straight Malt Bottled-in-Bond and UNBendt Straight Wheat Bottled-in-Bond Whiskeys


Last year, I was stunned by a Texas whiskey, so much so that it took my 2023 Best American Rye Whiskey. It was a 100% grain-to-glass, Bottled-in-Bond out of Lewisville. The distillery? Bendt Distilling Company. For the record, their Bourbon was delightful, too.


Today, I’m exploring UNBendt Unblended Straight Malt Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey and UNBendt Unblended Straight Wheat Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey.    


If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Bottled-in-Bond (or Bonded) 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:

  • It must be a wholly-produced product of the United States.
  • It must be distilled in a single distilling season (January to June or July to December) at a single distillery by a single distiller.
  • It must age for at least four years in wood in a government-bonded warehouse.
  • 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 whiskey, 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.


Let’s do the #DrinkCurious thing. First, I must thank Bendt Distilling Company for providing me with these samples in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest reviews.


UNBendt Unfiltered Straight Malt Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey



Per the distillery, “UNBendt Straight Malt is crafted from the finest local grains and craft malted barley.” That tells me we’re not dealing with an American Single Malt; hence, it doesn’t suggest it on the label. In fact, it is 60% two-row malted barley and 40% soft red winter wheat.


It aged in oak for five-plus years in new, 3.5-level charred oak 53-gallon barrels. A 750ml package has a suggested price of $64.99.


Appearance: A neat pour into my Glencairn glass revealed a whiskey with a dark caramel color. A husky rim caused wide, crooked tears to fall.


Nose: The aroma included plums, stewed peaches, floral notes, and a hint of oak. When I inhaled through my lips, I found tangerines.


Palate: This whiskey possessed a thin, oily texture. The front of my palate tasted of tangerines, stewed peaches, and honey. Midway through, I discovered dark chocolate and caramel. The back featured charred oak, tobacco leaf, and clove.  


Finish: The medium-long finish consisted of caramel, tangerines, tobacco leaf, dark chocolate, and clove.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’ve been on a big American Single Malt kick lately and was initially excited over the prospect of a single malt Texas whiskey. When I found out that’s not what was in the bottle, I wasn’t disappointed, but the anticipation level indeed dropped. As it turns out, that was unfounded.


While the first sip was unimpressive, the more I explored this whiskey, the more enchanting it became. By the time I finished my pour, I was ready for a second.


This is the third whiskey I’ve tried from Bendt Distilling Company, and I’m becoming a fan. Spend the $60 or so on a Bottle of its Straight Malt Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey; you won’t regret it.




UNBendt Unfiltered Straight Malt Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey


Per the distillery, “UNBendt Straight Wheat Whiskey is crafted from local Soft Red Winter Wheat.” If you’re like me, you’d be left thinking this was a 100% wheat whiskey, which I’m typically not a fan of. However, per its website, its Straight Wheat Whiskey is distilled from a mash of wheat, yellow dent corn, and Maris Otter malted barley. The exact recipe is undisclosed.    


Wheat whiskeys must follow the same strict rules as Bourbon, the only difference being that wheat versus corn is the main component. UNBendt Unfiltered Straight Wheat Bottled-in-Bond Whiskey aged four-plus years in new, 3.5-level charred oak 53-gallon barrels. A 750ml bottle has a suggested price of $59.99.


Appearance: I poured this wheat whiskey into a Glencairn glass to sip neat. It looked like liquid copper and formed a thin rim with fast legs.


Nose: A bouquet of flowers, vanilla, oak, and apples rolled from the glass. Drawing the air into my mouth brought on even more apples.


Palate: A thin, oily mouthfeel revealed tastes of pastries, dates, and cherries on the front of my palate. Next came salted caramel. The back was comprised of oak tannins, nutmeg, and barrel char.


Finish: This wheat whiskey had a freight train finish that included plums, nutmeg, salted caramel, and barrel char.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Non-100% wheat whiskeys tend to be a bit dull for me; I find them more suitable for cocktails. They’re totally different animals from wheated Bourbons. Distilled wheat is flavorless; it enhances the flavors of other components, either from the mash itself or the barrels it rests in. That’s why 100% wheat whiskeys are spice bombs; the flavors are all leeched from the oak.


In the case of Bendt’s wheat whiskey, it is neither a spice bomb nor boring. Instead, there are unexpected flavors, especially the salted caramel that seemed so prevalent. I caught myself smiling after the confusion. This tasting experience was almost a mind game. That in itself is worthy of a Bottle rating. Toss in the affordability factor, and it is a no-brainer. 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.