February 24, 2009

Economical Bourbon Reviews, Part VI: Rebel Yell

And we come to Rebel Yell. It's name would suggest a nod to the Civil War South, and before the whiskey was acquired by an International distiller, its label read, "Especially for the Deep South." I wonder if sales increased when that slogan was edited from the label?

Rebel Yell is a Kentucky straight bourbon, is a pale, straw color, and is 80 proof. It is a wheated bourbon, meaning that wheat and not rye is used as the grain. Wheated bourbons are supposed to be softer and smoother than others, and I think that is generally true. It's made per its original W.L. Weller recipe.

Neat: The nose is very soft, dry, and a little citrusy, suggesting that the taste is light. Mouthfeel is watery and thin. As for taste, Rebel Yell has a sugary sweetness that quickly dissapates into a licorice and herbal spice. Simple, subtle, and docile. The finish was oaky, dry, and left a calm, lingering burn on the roof of the mouth. It is mellow and unassertive.

Whiskey Sour: Rebel Yell is a good fit in a whiskey sour. Since there wasn't any real complexity in its flavor when drank neat, there isn't much lost when mixed in a cocktail. The lemon and the sugar become the predominant flavors, but the finish is still dry and wooden. It's above average, but not memorable.

Rebel Yell has been the most mellow and soft of the whiskies thus far. For that, I give it credit as it has differentiated itself from the others. Being of the mind that you should chose a bourbon that fits your mood, I think Rebel Yell would be a good choice for a calm and lazy afternoon drink. I liked it more than Ancient Age, but not as much as Old Grand Dad or Early Times. It's in the middle of the pack, and stands out in that crowd because of its softness. When I think of a rebel yell, I think of fury, aggression, and relentlessness. In that regard, Rebel Yell is incorrectly named.

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