Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Budget Booze: Rebel Yell

For those of you who think I spend too much time on snooty, high end booze and hard to find dusty bottles, this one's for you: Rebel Yell. And I'm doing it in tandem with two of my most excellent whiskey blogging colleagues, Jason Pyle from Sour Mash Manifesto and Tim Read from Scotch & Ice Cream, so check out their blogs. I should note that when we discussed this joint blogging venture, I advocated that we refrain from Billy Idol references as part of our reviews. Tim and Jason, however, clearly being suckers for the obvious punchline, declined, but in this post, at least, you can be assured that you will see no references to Mr. Idol (well maybe a few).

Formerly a Stitzel-Weller brand, Rebel Yell is now bottled by Luxco out of St. Louis using bourbon from an undisclosed distillery. It's a wheated bourbon so that narrows the field down to three distilleries: Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill and Maker's Mark. Of the three, Heaven Hill is the one most known for selling bulk whiskeys to independent bottlers, so it's a pretty good bet that this is Heaven Hill's wheated bourbon.

Rebel Yell, 40% abv ($10.99)

The nose on this is strong with peanut M&Ms, then lemon. The palate is generically sweet but watery with a bit of the peanut M&M note that was on the nose and a bit of navel orange juice, then it dissipates into a flavorless alcohol, really more like water with something chemical mixed into it. This note goes on to dominate the finish. The palate on this flat and dull with very little substance.

It saddens me that they've turned this Stitzel-Weller brand into a vaguely sweet alcoholic water. Even for the price, there are much better bourbons to be had.

Kiss Me Deadly Rebel Yell, and Luxco, one day we fans of Stitzel-Weller will get our Sweet Revenge. As for me, well, that's the last $11 I'll blow on Rebel Yell.


sam k said...

Well, we’ve heard a lot about “collaboration” beers, but this collaborative post is a great idea. Perhaps you do it a few times a year? And, as I commented at the Manifesto in response to Jason’s previous S-W post a while back:

“In 1979 I discovered Rebel Yell. It was a watershed moment in my whiskey drinking voyage. We couldn’t get it in PA, as it was only distributed south of the Mason-Dixon Line, so anytime anyone we knew went south, they were asked to import some. (My go-to at the time was Michter’s…REAL Michter’s)

“It wasn’t until years later that I finally understood why that whiskey was so great. It was a 90 proofer then, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to taste the current 80 proof version. I know damn well I’d be disappointed.”

I strand by my almost psychic (psycho?) ability to predict the future! I agree with Bmac about the Rebel Reserve, too. I’ve had it, and that 90 proof version convinced me never to buy a Rebel Yell. A sad legacy for a once-legendary whiskey.

Greg said...

Steve - better you than me. You must be into self-punishment to venture into that bottle. Stick with snooty....

Anonymous said...

What's weird is that Luxco's Ezra Brooks is a decent bottom-shelfer. Barely more than $20 a handle right now in PA.

Lazer said...

First runner up in the Rebel Yell post competition goes to Sku of Recent Eats. That peanut M&M note had you in the running for first but in the end Jason edged you out with overall presentation. His style suits my tastes a little more, but you still had a strong showing. Good work Sku!

Tim Read said...

Last $11 you'll blow? Last $5.50. I need to figure out how to unload the remainder of what I've got because even though the word is that it mixes well, I've got good whiskey to drink. ;)

Thanks for the EB tip, anon. Will check it out in the future.


Ryan said...

Tim, it ought to do well disinfecting your kitchen sink. ;-)

Jason Pyle said...

That was fun Steve. I enjoyed it....the collaboration, not the whiskey.


Tim Read said...

@Ryan I rent, so I don't want to be charged for the damage to the sink.