Rebel Yell Bourbon Review

Rebel Yell Bourbon Review
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

ABV: 40%
Price: $10
Distiller: Heaven Hill (Bernhim Distillery)

EYE
Apple juice

NOSE
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.

PALATE
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.

FINISH
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.

OVERALL
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.

SCORE: 72/100

 

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Rebel Yell: Empty Bottle Reflections (12-22-14 update)
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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.

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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23 Responses to Rebel Yell Bourbon Review

  1. Well, you can’t expect perfection for this price. I too find it a little raw and grainy compared to some finer bourbons — but I like it for mixing with ginger ale for the visiting ladies, and while it’s not great sipping whiskey it doesn’t offend.

    • True, for the price it’s a good value if you’re looking for something to mix with. Which is all I ever buy it and Old Crow for. When I’m having “non-whiskey” folks over who just want something to mix with their sodas or highly flavored mixers. I still can’t use it though in a good cocktail, it just doesn’t hold up well and gets completely lost in a nice Manhattan or Sazerac.

      Thanks for the input, cheers!

  2. IT’S ALWAYS FUNNY LISTENING TO SOMEONE DESCRIBE BOURBON WHO IS NOT FROM KENTUCKY. I LOVE IT. I LOVE THAT YOU KNOW WHAT A BOURBON IS SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE. IT’S REALLY CUTE. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A CHEAP BOURBON IS AMAZING. HOLY CRAP IF YOU THINK THAT THIS IS HOT. YOU HAVEN’T TRIED A LOT!!! I LOVE THE HIPSTER DESCRIPTIONS BUT YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. UNLESS YOU ARE SUPER WEALTHY THIS BOURBON IS ON POINT. For $10 dollars what kind of investment is that….nothing. Try it its good! I also drink Cabin Still & live in KY but what do I know.

    • So just because you were born in one part of the country automatically imbues you with some magical knowledge and tasting prowess that other humans not born in your same geographical region lack? Thanks for that magnificent insight, I had no idea that was how the human body worked. Here I thought that our brain’s relation to tastes and aromas was a complex process involving our olfactory system that, when combined with the aggregate of our life experiences, gave us the ability to describe the things we taste and smell in a manner that others could relate to. If I had known all I needed to do was be born in some other part of the country I would have done that instead of consciously building mental maps of the things I taste and smell. You could have saved me a lot of time if you’d told my parents this before I was born.

      You obviously know more than me, after all I’ve only tasted about 800 different whiskies so what do I know. Guess I’ll close my hipster site right now and pack up my opinions because you said so. Thank you for putting this all into perspective for me and letting me know that biology has nothing to do with enjoying or not enjoying whiskey – it’s all about Geography. I’m so glad you took the time to yell a comment my way, it really enhanced the discourse on my site.

      Cheers!

  3. We used to drink Rebel Yell in high school in the eighties giving away my age here. We drank it because it was cheap and that used to come in a nice drawstring bag like Crown Royal except it was white it’s about all I can remember about it that and The Hangover.. LOL maybe I’ll try it again sometime

    • I think you’ll be let down… or based on your experiences maybe you won’t 🙂 It’s a different distillery now (Heaven Hill vs Stitzel-Weller). I’d be really interested to know what you thought of the new stuff. Cheers man!

  4. Rebel Yell isnt what it used to be but for cheap hooch it is not bad, I think you were a tad harsh. Also, when it was Keith Richards drink of choice it should get 10 points for that.

  5. Rebel Yell…you get what you pay for. I am 61-yrs-old, been drinking bourbon for 41-yrs. Rebel, is, in fact a good cheap bourbon. It is lighter as many wheated bourbons are yet I find it pleasurable. Is it top shelf? Absolutely not, yet I find it delicious to drink neat. It certainly does have a very sweet finish, which I enjoy. At the same time the finish is a bit short. This might be a good bourbon for those that are new to bourbon pleasures as it is not overwhelming in it’s taste. Taste is always subjective. What one likes another may disdain. Sort of like the way we dress. As the president of a MC, I think your tats would go better with a leather vest rather than a funny, feminine looking shirt and tie. I’m sorry, that was disrespectful…kinda like you were to Jenna. Jenna’s opinion, being from Kentucky, should be taken into consideration. But then what do I know? I’m just a dumb Biker….with a masters degree.

    • Everyone is definitely welcome to their opinions and there’s nothing feminine about looking sharp. Also respect has to be earned not given; Jenna fired the first shot. If she had said “I’d like to disagree, I”ve always enjoyed this whiskey and think it’s a great whiskey for it’s price…” it would have been a 100% different reply. Would you allow someone to come into your house and talk to you like that? No, you’d tell them to shut up and kick them out. My blog is no different. Give respect, get respect.

      Cheers!

  6. I enjoy trying bottom shelf bourbons. Must be straight bourbon whiskey. I also verify age is not stated anywhere on the label. If aged less than 4 years, it must be stated somewhere on the bottle. Currently drinking a bottle of Rebel Yell. I have not found a cheep bourbon I like better than Evan Williams. What are your thoughts on EW?

  7. Did anyone else think this smelled like dish soap? Maybe they liked that back in 1849…you know, back before they had dish soap. I’d take a pass on this one.

  8. Man I don’t care for rebel yell but damn Jenna and her biker boyfriend there couldn’t be bigger losers. Josh is always a good guy to everyone. Everyone’s taste are different no matter where you’re from. Hell I’m from Appalachian mountains sippin shine daily does that make me more man than the outlaw? Nope sure don’t, it’s crazy jack is so popular since you gotta be from tennessee to enjoy it according to Jenna

  9. I bought rebel yell for the first time yesterday out of curiosity. As long as its qualified with “for the price” it’s OK. I usually have EW for an every day or in-laws visit pour but tried this just for giggles. I’ve had worse and if my in-laws dump it in soda and spill it all over my deck I won’t be mentally calculating the cost of that loss. I’ll buy it again if its on sale again. It is a little bland and I do find the bite bigger than expected but, for the price… Not bad on the rocks after ten hours in a stinky old machine shop.

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