Where do you fall on the chill filtered vs. non-chill filtered debate? I haven't had a chance to test it until now. People seemed to be losing their minds recently when it was announced that the Glendronach 12 was moving to chill filtratation with future bottlings, snapping up all the current non-chill filtered version as quickly as they could, and I couldn't help thinking, does it make that big of a difference? George Dickel Rye even flaunts it on their bottle with a big ol' Chill Filtered descriptor across the side of its label. And then, if you read up on it, reviewers seem surprised, "Wow, it's chill filtered, but it's still pretty good!?" Did you expect chill filtration to make it bad? The whole thing, I suppose, is that the chill filtration process removes flavor? But does it?
I've made no secret in my tasting of Old Tub, that I love Old Tub. Whenever Beam releases a new product, it tends to go for $16.99 in Pennsylvania. I'm not sure why, whether it's the liquor control board in our state just buys in bulk and passes the savings on to us or whatever else it could be. But God bless that $16.99 price tag. For as middling as the result of Jim Beam Double Oak might be, it was still a decent bourbon at $16.99. Jim Beam Bonded was also $16.99 and I bought something like 10 bottles, and now, Old Tub is $16.99 and I'm snapping that up periodically because...well, why wouldn't you at that price? To have a drinkable bottled-in-bond bourbon around for that price, you might as well. You can drink it straight, drop an ice cube in, mix with it. Hell, I even use it for cooking and baking, and for that price, I don't really give a damn. It's versatile. Hell, I even just tried mixing it with other bourbons to see what might happen, dropping a half shot of Maker's Mark Cask Strength in to blend my own bourbon, never mind that I don't know jack about blending (and given that Maker's Mark Cask Strength is now $40, I can mess around with those bottles too). I was just curious to see what would happen, and while it wasn't necessarily anything to write home about....the experiment was interesting.
Anyway, back to my main point, when I reviewed Old Tub, I pointed out that I've had Old Tub side-by-side with Jim Beam Bonded, and I wasn't sure if they were the same product or not. A few commenters pointed out that the difference might be chill filtration and sure enough, while Old Tub points out that it's non-chill filtered, Bonded says nothing about whether it is or it isn't on the bottle, which I'm assuming means that it is, though honestly, wouldn't we like some honesty, wouldn't it be better if they pulled that baller move that Dickel does with their rye and just announced it and were like, "Yeah, we're chill filtered, but we're good anyway."
With all that out of the way, I haven't opened a bottle of Jim Beam Bonded since I joined this platform, so I haven't reviewed it. I'm down to two unopened bottles of it, since I opened this one (I have three of Old Tub), and I'm going to say that if this vs. Old Tub is indicative of the debate between chill filtration and non-chill filtration, my opinion is that it doesn't make a lick of difference. It's likely one of those things that's either all in your mine or such a fine distinction that only 1-2% of the population has the refinement in their sense of taste to tell the difference. Honestly, they don't taste any different to me.
If you're looking for tasting notes then, I'll reiterate my Old Tub review: you get oak and nuttiness, vanilla and caramel. I waxed poetic on Old Tub about how it reminded me of being young and going to the fair or a carnival. This is the same. It's not super complex, but it's still really enjoyable and tasty and robust, and even if this were $24.99, which I believe is the SRP in most states, I think it punches its weight against other bourbons that cost that much. But hey, I'm getting it for $16.99, so I'm not really thinking about Larceny or Maker's Mark or even Knob 9, which when it's on sale is $29.99 and is probably a lot better than this. Anyway, I don't see why you wouldn't buy this if you're living in PA. And I don't think if you're living outside the state you should really balk either. It's just a good budget bourbon. I have to give it the same rating I gave Old Tub. The major difference between the two is I kind of like the bottle design of Bonded better.