Rebel Reserve Bourbon – Review

Rebel Reserve BourbonRebel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

90.6 Proof

Price Point: $20 – $30 for 750 ML

Distiller: Rebel Yell Distillery



All whiskey reviewers (or reviewers in general) have their own personal preferences.  Some prefer peated Scotches, other prefer ryes, and some settle for the light taste of a Canadian.  I can say in all sincerity that my tastes run across the board, but there is something about a wheated bourbon that really speaks to me.

For those of you that missed my brief introduction, bourbon is whiskey produced from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn.  The other 49 percent is often a mix of rye, malted barley, etc.  But sometimes a higher percentage of wheat is used to produce a different flavor profile.  Rebel Reserve is one of those whiskeys, using a recipe (and an accompanying label) to highlight its wheated properties.



Unfortunately, Rebel Reserve misses the mark when it comes to its nose.  It’s a little too intense on the alcohol side, most likely from its youthful age.  This makes it difficult to pinpoint its unique aromas and describe them to you here.

Fortunately, the flavor comes through on the first sip.  You can absolutely taste the wheat, which is exactly what I was hoping for.  But that’s about it.  Nothing too complex about this stuff, which I guess could be a welcomed change if you’re looking to relax rather than study the whiskey.

The finish is just about as underwhelming as the nose and taste.


Rating & Recommendations

Rebel Reserve is an okay wheated bourbon, earning itself a rating of 74 out of 100.

Go ahead and drink this one on the rocks while watching a movie or out on the porch.  No need to analyze this one.

Do yourself a favor and invest that same money (or maybe even less) into a bottle of Maker’s MarkMaker’s is another wheated bourbon with much more character and complexity, and should satisfy others like me who like their bourbons wheated.




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  1. Thanks, Ryan. I tried regular Rebel Yell a couple of times but was bored with it. I saw “Rebel Reserve” at the liquor store recently and wondered if they had upped their game with this one. Your review helps me conclude that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

    There’s a place for easy drinking bourbon. The name “Rebel Yell” doesn’t convey that character. They should have called it ‘Rebel’s Rest” with a respectful memorial theme on the label. The the extent that over a quarter million southern soldiers gave their life in a cause whose spirit is exemplified by their characteristic wild whooping yell a bourbon of that name should be fierce and strong with a steely resolve and serious tactical chops.

    Personally, when I’m looking for a sweet and easy bourbon I reach for Evan Williams or Jim Beam (both in the black label versions). Truth be told, however, I’m seldom in the mood for sweet and easy. I want intensity and challenge – so I seldom drink either of those either. My favorite inexpensive bourbon is Elijah Craig 12 and I readily spend into the forties to get WT Kentucky Spirit, EC18, etc.. Despite not liking Maker’s Mark (a bit flat for my tastes) I’m interested in wheaters. I’m considering going long green for Parker’s Heritage and am on the lookout for Sitzer-Weller dusties and any of the newer Wellers too.

    1. I haven’t had Rebel Yell, mostly because the bottle and package don’t appeal to me whatsoever. Other than your comments here, I haven’t heard a thing about it, which usually means there’s nothing to desire in that particular whiskey.

      I agree on Evan Williams. It’s a mainstay in my household primarily because I can be frugal and not want to drink expensive whiskey every night (or after one or two drinks). I’m not a Jim Beam fan at all, but hey, to each their own. The other inexpensive whiskey I go for is Benchmark. I’ve noticed it less and less lately so it might have been phased out by Sazerac, its producer.

      I like Maker’s Mark, but I can tell you that I have never bought myself a bottle. I’ll order it at the bar when I don’t feel like looking through their whiskey selection. I do really like Bernheim Original, which is a wheat whiskey, not a bourbon. There’s a little more to it than Rebel Reserve, but you definitely won’t get the intensity and complexity you described above.

      Thanks for the comment!


    • Barlee on February 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm
    • Reply

    I picked up a bottle of Rebel Yell a while back and was pleasantly surprised. Certainly not great, but for about $12.00 it was well worth it. Like EW, it’s a good one to keep around. I like some wheaters-MM, Wellers, for example. Haven’t seen Rebel Reserve yet, but I’d grab one for sure.

    • JCP on October 11, 2014 at 1:27 pm
    • Reply

    The Rebel Reserve is not the same as the Rebel Yell….it has a higher alcohol content and while many say it is not complex…..that is exactly why I do like it. While a wheated bourbon, the recipe does it just right!
    It is not sweet, but to my taste it is full of flavor and I would easily rank it with almost any single barrel brew. I find the aroma is great, the drinking smooth and is best at room temperature….no ice.

    • Tim on December 22, 2014 at 8:19 pm
    • Reply

    Rebel Reserve was a bargain at $18 when I found this bourbon a about 2 years ago. I had friends bring a case when they came to visit since I could not find it in Tennessee once I moved. I just found out the price has almost doubled to $34 in my old home town in Indiana. This bourbon is not a $30+ bourbon. For that price point you can get many high quality bourbons like Ridgemont 1792. I hope they did not price themselves out of business. I for one will not be drinking this any longer until the price point comes back down. If this price point comes back down to the $20 mark, Rebel will make it back on my list. Until then I will sip something else.

  2. The worst bourbon, the worst whiskey, and the worst mixed drink I’ve ever had all recently came from a $17 bottle of Rebel Reserve. Thought it might be akin to a poor-man’s Maker’s Mark, but it was awful. Started out strongly nutty, then finished with a charred, burnt, greasy-breakfast finish and aftertaste. Imagine grandma badly burning the breakfast eggs, pork sausage, toast and then blending all that burnt flavor into your booze. Awfully awful even when mixed with ginger ale.

    I dumped 7/8 of the bottle down the drain after making extra chocolately bourbon balls with it. Rebel Reserve–oh, never again.


    • Don on March 15, 2015 at 2:10 am
    • Reply

    I love this stuff! It’s not quite as good as a Makers Mark. But, I personally think it’s a pretty good wheated bourbon.

    • Bowen Broock on May 12, 2015 at 6:28 pm
    • Reply

    Rebel Reserve is not (?) intended to compete with all Bourbons. Nevertheless, it’s a WHEATED Bourbon
    and, as such, ought to be referenced against other wheaters.

    I’ll differ with Tony: It’s not a “poor man’s Makers Mark”. Rather, it’s a different, youngish brew with it’s
    own character.
    After “airing” and shaved ice, I found a floral component and less of the early (and objectionable) sharp,
    alcoholic over-call that accompanies a straight-up taste.

    Let’s consider this: Taste is a VERY PERSONAL thing. So are opinions.
    Thank goodness there are Bourbon Aficionados that care enough to share their PERSONAL thoughts
    so that those of us who give a damn might benefit from these opinions and extend
    their fund of reference.

    Wheated Bourbon Forever !


    • wes dodson on June 6, 2015 at 7:57 pm
    • Reply

    Jack black is my personal standard, but I reserve the the place closest to my heart for Old Whiskey River.

    The first impression I get from a snort of Rebel Reserve is a brief resemblance to the sweetness of Wild Turkey.

    I completely agree with what the fellow said previously about the alcohol content, as the taste almost immediately falls off and is replaced by the buzz.

    I personally enjoy the sweet taste of a cola chaser behind a shot Jack. Whatever the reason, I do not experience that pleasure chasing a shot of Rebel Reserve.

    Rebel Reserve packs everything you need to pick up fat chicks at an area watering hole, while potentially treating you to a weekend in county… if that’s your thing.

    Personally, I would suggest cashing in those Bud Light cans and spending and additional $5 on a bottle of Old Whiskey River.

    Hockley, Texas

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