Whiskey Review: Rebel Yell Single Barrel 2018 Bourbon

Many of us are familiar with Rebel Yell as a bottom shelf dweller. If you’re a sipper, not a shot taker, then maybe you have never tried it at all. That was me, until I was handed a sample of the Rebel Yell Single Barrel and told to keep an open mind.

Luxco is the parent company for Rebel Yell. Originally it was distilled at Stitzel-Weller with the same mash bill as W.L. Weller. More recently it has been distilled at Heaven Hill distillery. But this NDP just opened a new distillery to make it themselves.

On April 12th, 2018, Luxco opened the doors to a brand spanking new distillery in the heart of bourbon country. Lux Row Distillery is located on a 90 acre property in Bardstown, Kentucky. It’s the newest stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Other brands in Luxco’s portfolio include Ezra Brooks and Blood Oath.

Rebel Yell Single Barrel hit the market in 2016, about the same time they broke ground on the new distillery.  In the last few years the Rebel Yell brand had a marketing, label, and bottle makeover. At first I just thought it was lipstick on a pig, but they are proving otherwise. For a brand with over 80 years of history,The Rebel Yell brand has been making a lot of changes, and it shows.

On to my tasting experience…

The night after receiving the sample I had a quick taste. Dark musty warehouses, Billy Idol, and biker bars immediately came to mind. Apparently, I wasn’t able to shake my preconceptions of the brand so quickly. So I put the bottle back on the shelf and headed off on a little vacation.

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Returning with a clean mind and palate, I sat down for a real tasting. It definitely smelled good, a promising sign. With history and preconceived ideas aside I discovered much flavor. It was a pleasant surprise.

The fun thing about a single barrel is that you don’t have to match a particular flavor profile. It’s one barrel. You get what you get. Once. This review is for the 2018 release, barrel #5083254, which has been aged since September 2006.

Rebel Yell Single Barrel 2018 Bourbon

Rebel Yell Single Barrel 2018 Bourbon (image via Rebel Yell)

Tasting Notes: Rebel Yell Single Barrel 2018 Bourbon

Vital Stats: 50% ABV, aged 10 years minimum, Single barrel, $60, Made of wheat, corn, malt

Aroma: There is a classic charred oak aroma with hints of vanilla and orange spice. The smell of sawdust and wood comes through heavily.

Taste: The first tastes are smooth and sweet, characteristic of a typical wheated bourbon. Pecan pie and pie crust tastes shine through.

Palate: As you continue to drink, the bourbon morphs with bolder flavor. It has a long warm spicy finish with pepper and cinnamon flavors.

The Takeaway

With Luxco's focus on growth and changing annual releases, I'm definitely going to keep my eyes on these folks. I'm refreshing my view of Rebel Yell as they are evolving.

This is a great classic wheated bourbon with evolvolving flavors. However, there are a lot of other tasty wheated whiskies out there for lower prices. Personally, I think the price is a bit high for what it is. There is something about that $50 line with bourbon where I expect more. For the wheated bourbon fans it’s worth checking out.

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User Rating 3.07 (15 votes)