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Mar 10

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

 

Background

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.

 

Review

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.

 

-Ryan

3 comments

2 pings

  1. Josh Feldman

    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. Ryan

      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!

      -Ryan

  2. Barlee

    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.

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