Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Tasting: Rebel Yell. Single Barrel 10 Year



Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10 Year
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Proof: 100
Mash bill: 68% corn, 20% wheat, 12% malted barley
Barrel #: 5043515
Barreled 5/2016
Distillery: Luxco
Availability: Limited release
Price: $50 USD

88/100 points

Sample provided by Luxco



Originally created around the mid 1940’s by then Louisville mayor, Charles Farnsley, Rebel Yell was produced as a private label for gift purposes. It wasn’t until the early 1960’s that the famous Stitzel-Weller distillery officially started producing the whiskey, distributing it only to the Southern United States. In its early days, Rebel Yell was a 6-year old, 90-proof bourbon.

After the breakup of Stitzel-Weller in 1972, United Distillers (Diageo) took over the brand. Fast forward a bit to the 1980’s; the proof was lowered to 80, the age statement was dropped from 6 years down to a NAS 4 years and the brand was now being distributing throughout the U.S. In other words, it was striped down a bit. However, it continued to be produced at Stitzel-Weller. So it had that much still going for it. That is until United Distillers moved production to its new Bernheim distillery in 1992 after closing Stitzel-Weller.

In 1999, Diageo sold the brand to David Sherman Corporation, which would later become Luxco. The bourbon continues to be produced at the Bernheim distillery to this day by Heaven Hill. I imagine it will continue to be produced here until Luxco’s distillery, Lux Row, is up and running.

In 2016, Luxco introduced Rebel Yell Single Barrel 10 year old bourbon, producing around 2000 cases. This year, they’ve released approximately twice that amount. As of this post, it is beginning to hit shelves around the United States. Okay, okay. It might not be hitting literal shelves, but it’s at least hitting stores.

Now that we’ve gotten the history lesson out of the way, let’s dive into this limited release.

Nose:

Nutmeg, red pepper, cinnamon, oak, caramel, fine leather and hints of dill. The nose got a little more complex after my first sip, providing some light citrus aromas.

Palate:

This bourbon has a really good mouthfeel. It has a nice oiliness to it while packing a good bit of spice, sipping like the 100 proof that it is. Lots of cinnamon and red hot candies. It really hits the top of my tongue. The thick, caramel and sugar flavors help soften it a little.

Finish:

The finish is long. The spice from the palate really kicks the finish off, helping to draw it out a little longer. That leads to tobacco and then into some very light leather. I get hints of peppermint candy here, too. Caramel and dark chocolate flavors close out this bourbon.

While I’ve never had any Stitzel-Weller produced Rebel Yell, I can only image at the higher proof, this 10-year old single barrel probably inches a little closer to it’s original 1960’s state. Am I comparing this whiskey to the 90-proof SW product? No. I’m saying that it definitely pacts more flavor than its younger 80-proof brother. Thus, getting somewhat back to its roots. It is a very enjoyable pour. And for a $50 limited release, what’s not to love?

If you see a bottle of this, it’s most definitely worth picking up.

Speaking of bottles, I’d like to thank Luxco for sending me this sample. It arrived in what is possibly the coolest and cutest little glass sample bottle I’ve ever seen!

Cheers!


Photo & Review By: Seth Brown