On Sept 24th I took part in another Tweet Tasting organised by Steve Rush... this time with the Rebel Yell distillery. I'm not much of an American whiskey connoisseur to be honest, historically I've tended to reach for something else when making a purchase. That being said, I do enjoy a good bourbon, and in more recent times I've started to consider liquid Americana when it's on offer! So this was a good opportunity for me to expand my whisk(e)y horizons a little more!
As the title of this blog would suggest, Rebel Yell were particularly generous with the samples they sent us. When a large, relatively heavy box turned up at our door, my wife sternly questioned whether I'd been buying yet more whisky! "No" I responded, "honest love!". I was curious though... and was very pleasantly surprised to find three full sized bottles from Rebel Yell inside the box! The temptation to crack one open prior to the tasting was great, but I resisted the urge and waited till the evening. My notes, and selected info provided by Steve, follows:
"Aged for at least 4 years, Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon, is made using a mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat and 12% malted barley. The original Rebel Yell recipe was invented in 1849, at the Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Kentucky. Rebel Yell is now produced at the new Lux Row Distillery in Bardstown - Kentucky, which officially opened in April."
Nose: Sweet dried banana chips & mellow honey battle it out with vanilla and toasted almond. The longer it sits in the glass, the nuttier it gets. It's quite a delicate nose really, not overly powerful.
Palate: Sweet yet dry… more banana chips, bbq'd corn on the cob & butter but with deff oaky notes from the barrel.
Finish: Short dry finish with some cherry menthol notes right at the end.
"Rebel Yell Small Batch Reserve, is a non-age stated (older than the Small Batch Reserve) bourbon, made in smaller batches, is made using a mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat and 12% malted barley. Rebel Yell take its name from the Confederate war cry, used during the American Civil War. Rebel Yell has been favoured by the like of Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) & Billy Idol"
Nose: It has good legs, but again quite a delicate nose. Lemon peel evident, a slight nuttiness and toffee sweetness. Opens up with time to give more vanilla notes. Someone said marmalade which I kind of get.
Palate: A yummy mix of marzpan, cherry and a swift kick of fresh red chilli.
Finish: Longer finish, where toasted oak, caramel and cereal nutty notes become evident.
"Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye is made using a mash bill of 51% rye, 45% corn and 4% malted barley."
Nose: Touch of clear varnish initially, softening to orange oil, eventually gives way to creamy vanilla rice pudding and a little damson jam.
Palate: Bit different this… quite peppery initially, then rice pudding again, but with some more tart fruitiness.
Finish: Longest finish of the three with a good mouthfeel and warming orangy finish.
The Small Batch Reserve was my favourite of the evening... the Rye was quite different and would be a good bottle to reach for if you fancy a bit of a change from the norm. The Bourbon was easily drinkable, and would make a great base for a cocktail. I'd heartily recommend Rebel Yell as a great value, drinkable introduction to American whiskeys if you're interested in trying something are!