Monday, July 15, 2019
Rebel Yell 100 Wheated Bourbon Review & Tasting notes
Interestingly enough, sometimes the marketing team gets things wrong when they're trying to sell a whiskey. In their attempt to make something sound enticing, or different, when you try it yourself you're left wondering if you've got the same thing they are talking about. "Sometimes" happens more than you'd guess.
Recently, Lux Row Distillers provided me with a sample of Rebel Yell 100 in exchange for a no-holds-barred, unbiased review. Rebel Yell is a label that always leaves me in a very #DrinkCurious mood whenever it is offered. I have been impressed with various releases of Rebel Yell 10, yet have been underwhelmed with their standard, 80° offerings.
Rebel Yell 100 is a wheated Bourbon, meaning that instead of using rye as the second major ingredient, they use wheat. Wheat does two things that rye does not. First, wheat has no flavor. What it typically does is allow the sweetness from the corn to shine. Second, the wheat provides a "softer" palate than rye, which oftentimes adds spice and/or sharpness to the palate.
The complete mash bill is corn, wheat, and malted barley. It carries no age statement, but as it is marketed as a Straight Bourbon, it must be at least two years old, and since it carries no age statement at all, it must be at least four. Lux Row indicates it is "Distilled and Aged in Kentucky." It is bottled at 100° but is not designated as Bottled in Bond. The suggested retail is $19.99, making it very affordable.
Price is nice but taste is king, and as such, it is time for the tasting notes.
In my Glencairn glass, the appearance was clear and brassy. It created a very thin rim and slow, wispy legs that crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
Typical of a wheater, aromas of sweet corn and light oak greeted me up front. But, behind that was a mix of mint and honey. When I inhaled through my mouth, everything changed to very creamy caramel.
The palate was interesting but not overly complex. Up front, there was a combination of berry fruit and creme brulee. Then, there was an interesting blend of toasted oak and pine woods. I want to stress this was wood, not juniper. On the back of my palate was cinnamon.
A long, rolling finish of vanilla and cinnamon kept the flavors going for several minutes after the swallow.
Before I offer my recommendation, I'd like to touch on what the marketers got wrong. Maybe wrong is unfair. The website suggests Rebel Yell 100 is "hot on the tongue" and to me, that's something that can be a turn-off for many drinkers. Sure, there was obvious cinnamon, but there is a definite difference of opinion as to what qualifies as "hot on the tongue."
Bottle, Bar or Bust: Let me get down to business here. Unlike the 80° incarnation, which is, in my opinion, a mixer, this one stands on its own and needs nothing added to it. Rebel Yell 100 is an enjoyable daily sipper and, when you take price into account, this is a definite Bottle recommendation. Moreover, it earns my coveted #RespectTheBottomShelf designation.