I think calling it a Rebel Yell is a little over stated. Rebel Indoor-Voice might be more appropriate. I really hate to bag on a brand so I’m gong to be as tactful as possible while expressing my disappointment in something whose name conjures vivid imagery and I had higher hopes for than it’s $9.99 price tag could hold up to.
Previously part of the Stitzel-Weller distillery, before it closed in the early 90’s, this brand was sold off along with some of it’s other well known kin like W.L.Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Cabin Still and the Van Winkle line. It’s supposedly made according to the original W.L. Weller wheated bourbon recipe. If that’s true… damn.
Rebel Yell Bourbon Review
Distiller: Heaven Hill (Bernhim Distillery)
Overly sweet bourbon spice and caramel dominate the aroma. Mixed in are some hints of dried mint, leather, pepper, harsh over ripe citrus and a strange dusty characteristic that envelops the whole nose.
Caramel and vanilla are the theme of the day with mild notes of cocoa and something strange that I can’t quite place. The best way I can explain the taste would be if you mixed straight corn whiskey with some bourbon flavoring and Splenda.
Caramel syrup fades to dried corn and raw alcohol on a short finish.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Rough. As previously stated this one has a lot of burn considering it’s only 80 proof.
This is a wheater (wheated bourbon) that seems to be missing much of the wheated character that’s shared by the likes of W.L.Weller, Pappy and Maker’s Mark. It was difficult to really detect that round wheat driven sweetness, which always reminds me a bit of cherries. In Rebel Yell the sweetness comes across much more like an artificial sweetener and leaves a raw grainy aftertaste. Honestly, I can’t say I care too much for this bourbon. It’s boring, overly sweet in all the wrong ways and there is so much burn in this bottle for an 80 proof it’s ridiculous. This is definitely a candidate for the mixing rack.
Rebel Yell: Empty Bottle Reflections (12-22-14 update)
I drank most of the bottle neat, but did try it on the rocks and also in a cocktail or two. No matter how I tried it there was no significant improvement in the taste or aroma as the bottle wore on. It did get a little sweeter by the end of the bottle, but it didn’t really get any better. In the end the score is going to stay where it’s at and except for use in a punch bowl, I won’t think I’ll be picking up another bottle anytime soon.