Rebel Yell Review (New Perspectives)

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This Rebel Yell review will compare the Kentucky Straight Bourbon to whiskey at large.  But we’ll also review it within the specific category of wheated whiskey. And that’d be with a special focus on a sub-category of whiskey that’s gaining momentum: the wheated bourbon. As with any spirit, personal preference is the most important aspect to consider. So, our Rebel Yell review is just a place to start.

While corn is the grain that counts during fermentation (all bourbon must be at least 51 percent corn), the secondary grain adds just as much flavor to the final product. Most distillers turn to rye for cost-effectiveness. Back when distillers were developing these long-standing bourbon recipes, wheat was prohibitively expensive as a secondary grain.

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to recognize some commonplace wheated whiskeys, like Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark and Jefferson’s. They all represent the trademarks of a high-wheat build: sweeter, fruitier and smoother than traditional bourbon.

The Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon drinks more like a traditional rye-built bourbon, however, due to the ethanol heat many drinkers will notice. At the price point, this is a broad-shouldered bourbon that will shine in cocktails and open up in an Old Fashioned. It’s well suited to a Bourbon Manhattan, as it has some spicy rye-esque tasting notes!

The Rebel Yell Back Story and Ownership

Rebel Yell now distills their own grain alcohol, at their distillery on the Bourbon Trail. In the past 150+ years of the Rebel Yell story, ownership changed a lot. The brand began in 1849 when William Larue Weller pioneered the use of wheat instead of rye in bourbon. The Rebel Yell mash bill comes from the originator of the style of whiskey, which is pretty cool.

These days, Rebel Yell is part of Luxco, who distills four whiskeys from their facility including Ezra Brooks, Blood Oath and David Nicholson–but this is a Rebel Yell review. Interestingly, these whiskeys sit apart from the existing conglomerates of bourbon distilling: Sazerac, Beam, Brown-Forman, Heaven Hill, etc. So what does this translate to in the glass? Rebel Yell’s heritage is with Weller, but today its recipe is unique from other (wheated) bourbons out there.

The Rebel Yell Review Summary

Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon comes without an age statement on the label, and practiced bourbon drinkers may want to try the 10 Year Single Barrel instead. It comes in at about three times the price, but due to being single-barrel, it offers more nuance and drinks like a traditional wheated bourbon. The 10 Year is also 100 proof and only benefits from spending time in a glass before you enjoy it.

Quick Reviews From Instagram

Rebel Yell has another wheated offering midway between their entry-level Straight Bourbon and the 10 Year. The 100 Proof has a more modest price point but comes with an age statement of 4+ years on the label.

On Instagram, bourbon drinkers pile on the praise for the single barrel offering.

A Thought From @thewhiskeyhero

Review by @thewhiskeyhero
Rebel Yell Review by @thewhiskeyhero | Image credit: @TheWhiskeyHero

“A respectable whiskey. Tastes of raisins, burnt oak, and maple syrup finish with a nice mellow burn and syrupy texture. Rating 4 out 5.” – @thewhiskeyhero

@bourbon_obsessed says let it decant for a day

Review by @bourbon_obsessed
Rebel Yell Review by @bourbon_obsessed | Image credit: @Bourbon_Obsessed

“I really enjoyed the second tasting and had to have yet a little more. It keeps growing on me more and more. This bourbon is easy to drink, even at 100 proof. Maybe that it is because of the wheat. I also appreciate…it at a reasonable price.” – @bourbon_obsessed

Is Rebel Yell good whiskey?

Before Rebel Yell shuffled ownership throughout the second half of the century, it was aged six years. There’s no getting around the fact that brown spirits only benefit from time spent in the barrel. It tames some of the rowdiness and adds character and nuance. 

Rebel Yell does have some serious flash appeal. Billy Idol told VH1 during an interview that watching the Rolling Stones take pulls from a bottle of Rebel Yell inspired his song of the same name. It’s an affordable addition to a home bar for Rolling Stone fans looking to represent.

Luxco seems dedicated to rehabilitating the historic brand. And with the release of the 10 Year and 100 Proof, maybe we can hope for a return to the 6 Year in the future. Rebel Yell is bold and nontraditional for a wheated whiskey, so it drinks more like a traditional bourbon. The 100 Proof and 10 Year are worth the hype and are only bettered by time spent in one of our decanters to open and reveal their nuance. 

Rebel Yell Straight Kentucky Bourbon is an affordable bourbon for the home cocktail bar. For sipping, reach for the 100 proof or the Single Barrel, nuanced wheated expressions well worth the price. Have you tried wheated bourbon before? Do you prefer rye or wheat as a secondary grain? Let’s learn from each other in the comments.  Until next time, the Prestige community!

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