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J.T.S. Brown Bottled in Bond

Posted on by Eric Burke

So there I am. I’m in Bardstown for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival and I get a the idea to go bourbon shopping. 

I know, shocker! Right?

Anyway I tend to like Heaven Hill Bonded products. Evan Williams Bonded might be one of my top 3 favorite inexpensive (sub $20) bourbons. JW Dant won the Bottom-Shelf Brackets a few years back and I remembered liking both Old Fitzgerald and Heaven Hill Gold Label (when it was still a thing). So I thought it might be fun to see what else they were putting out that I hadn’t seen up in the great white north. 

I was at Keystone Liquors in Bardstown when I got my eye on a 750 of JTS Brown. Knowing it met the above criteria, I grabbed it and made my way to the checkout counter. 

“Oooh really going for the good stuff there, huh?” the young man behind the counter asked me as I paid the bill. All of a sudden I had a bad feeling about this. But compared to most of the things I brought back from Kentucky, the price was right for experimentation.

Today JTS Brown is a bourbon put out by Heaven Hill. But like so many items that live on the bottom shelf these days, JTS Brown is an old name. It is named after John Thompson Street Brown (the older half-brother of George Garvin Brown of Brown-Forman fame) who created the brand sometime in the latter half of the 19th century.

JTS Brown Bottled in Bond

Purchase Info: I lost the receipt but seem to recall it being in the lower teens for a 750 mL bottle at Keystone Liquors, Bardstown, KY.

Details: 50% ABV. Distilled at D.S.P-KY-1, Louisville, KY. Bottle at D.S.P-KY-31, Bardstown, KY.

Nose: Delicate fruitiness, dried corn and hints of mint.

Mouth: Caramel, dried corn and mint.

Finish: Quickly transforms to a bitter mess upon swallowing with dried corn, mint and cloves.

frowny face because I dislike this one

Thoughts: This bourbon starts out quite nice. I like the nose. The mouth is pleasant, though uninspiring. But I’m having a hard time getting over the dusty bitter grain finish. This is where it falls apart for me. Let’s just say that, unlike most of the Heaven Hill bonded bourbons I’ve had, this bourbon lives solidly in the “you get what you pay for” camp. And it isn’t one that will be returning home with me again.


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