I'm a fan of inexpensive bourbon (hell, I'm a fan of inexpensive booze – who isn't?), and I constantly try to review well priced and easily accessible products on the Bourbon Intelligencer to show that one does not need to spend big bucks to be a true and well educated spirit consumer. Bourbon, specifically, is one of the best market priced spirits out there at the moment (though times are changing), and everyone should know that there are real legitimate options without breaking the bank. However, there are some products that, due to their price point, can be so tempting we are lured into buying something that we end up regretting – spending that measly $10-12 on something we could have used for a few good cups of coffee. Or better yet, you could have saved it for a more expensive, but time tested bourbon you love, right? I know how it is. You're running through Trader Joe's, trying to get in and get out, and then all of a sudden you come to the spirit rack. You already know you are spending way more on these pre-diced, pre-packed vegetables then you really should, and so you don't dare look at eye level, where all the “better-ish” stuff will be (after all – it is Trader Joe's). But look... that Rebel Yell is sooo cheap! And so it goes into the cart, back home onto the bar, and into the glass, where you realize you have made a huge mistake.
A wheated bourbon, Rebel Yell is a former Stitzel-Weller brand, now distilled by Heaven Hill's Bernheim Distillery and bottled by Luxco. And though Rebel Yell wishes to associate itself with those of the Buffalo Trace lineup, a Weller it is not. No age statement means that immediately we know it is bottled from at least four years.
Rebel Yell Bourbon Whiskey Review:
Price: From $10-$13 for a 750ml bottle.
Packaging/Labeling: Mass produced. Vague legends of whatever.
Alcoholic Content: 40% abv, 80 proof.
Nose: Phenolic and solvent-y. Corn feed and corn oils. Babe Ruth candy bar and lemons. Slight pepper.
Palate: Sweet sugar. Sour corn meal. Some faint dried fruit and woodiness. The four years is an exact four years – not one second more. This whiskey tastes very young – and watered down.
Conclusion: As confirmed by some other reviewers, there is a young new-make scotch character to this, but ultimately what you are left with is almost a tasteless wheat spirit. Rebel Yell, the famed bourbon known more for it's cameo in Billy Idol's song and album of the same name, ranked 79th best hard rock song by VH1, is nothing like what you would expect when hearing about the Rebel Yell drinking party with the Rolling Stones where Billy supposedly came up with the album name. In this instance, the “little dancer” won't cry “more, more, more.” Your money can be spent better on other things.