The Rebel Yell brand was originally created in the late 1940’s for the world-renowned Stitzel-Weller Distilling Co. to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Weller company. Initially distilled in very small batches and exclusively distributed in southern states (with Civil War-era confederate labelling to match), Rebel Yell was a private-label wheated bourbon that was bottled and given as gifts to friends and family of the Farnsleys who co-owned the company at the time. With the Civil War centennial in the 1960’s, the brand went public as a 5 y.o. 90 proof bourbon. The brand followed a colourful journey, remaining a Stitzel-Weller product from the 60’s to the 90’s, becoming a 6 y.o. bourbon  in the 70’s and 80’s and inspiring Billy Idol to write his song ‘Rebel Yell’ after he saw the Rolling Stones drinking it backstage at a concert. A year after the song was released, then-owners United Distillers dropped the proof down to 80 and started nationwide distribution of Rebel Yell. In 1992, after United Distillers moved their production to Bernheim from Stitzel-Weller, Rebel Yell began production alongside the other wheated bourbons in the United Distillery portfolio, however,  seven years later, United Distillers sold its Bernheim distillery to Heaven Hill and the various brands produced there to the highest bidders. Rebel Yell’s brand and assets were then sold to the David Sherman Corporation in St. Louis which is now Luxco.

In January 2018, Luxco started operations in their state-of-the-art Lux Row Distillers distillery. Located on a 90-acre site, the facility boasts a 18,000 square feet distillery building, 6 barrel warehouses, a tasting room, an event space, and will eventually have the capacity to produce over 7 million proof gallons a year and store 20,000 to 50,000 barrels on site. Under the watchful eye of Head Distiller John Rempe, it is envisioned that this facility will become the source for Luxco’s extensive brand portfolio as demand for their products continued to grow. Although still a sourced product from distilleries like Heaven Hill, Luxco currently produces seven Rebel Yell products including their classic Rebel Yell straight bourbon, Rebel Yell 100 proof straight bourbon, Rebel Yell 10 y.o. straight bourbon, Rebel Yell straight rye, Reel Yell straight bourbon finished in French Oak, Rebel Yell bourbon infused with ginger root, and Rebel yell bourbon infused with root beer flavourings.

First released in April 2019, Rebel Yell 100 introduced bourbon drinkers to their first 100 proof (50% abv) wheated bourbon released outside of Rebel Yell’s premium 10 y.o. single barrel offering. Using the same stocks as standard Rebel Yell, this bourbon features 20% wheat in the mashbill, with the Rebel Yell website describing it as “this wheated bourbon takes everything you love about our Kentucky Straight Bourbon and dials it up.”

Today I’ll be taking a look at Rebel Yell 100 which recently launched in the EU.

Vital Stats:

Name: Rebel Yell 100
Age: NAS
Proof: 100 Proof (50% ABV)
Type: Kentucky straight ‘wheated’ bourbon
Mashbill: 68% corn, 20% wheat & 12% malted barley
Producer: Lux Row Distillers
Website: https://rebelyellbourbon.com/whiskey/
Glassware: Glencairn

Review

Nose: The nose opens with soft wheat and corn notes, dried citrus peel, faint red fruit, cloves, and a touch of herbaceous barrel char. As you nose deeper, dark brown sugar notes also emerge alongside dried cherry notes.

Palate: The Palate opens with viscous brown sugar, thick vanilla, and tart red fruit, before oak spice and charred barrel notes wash across the palate. Once the spice fades notes of dark chocolate, barrels spices and faint molasses remain. 

Finish: The finish opens with lingering dark chocolate and charred oak notes with some dried red and black fruits before leading into an aftertaste of red fruit, and charred tannic oak.

Overall

This tastes great and balances classic wheated bourbon notes with bold, spicy barrel notes whilst delivering a viscous mouthfeel that carries flavours to every corner of your palate. With a few drops of water added it opened up even further, becoming sweeter and syrupy on the palate with the red fruit notes coming to the fore and the barrel notes fading into a touch of roasted nuts and maple syrup.

As someone who prefers their bourbon around the 100 proof mark for everyday sipping it’s a fantastic whiskey; the proof is perfect, the flavours are complex, and the overall drinking experience is a joy from start to finish.  On the back label it claims to be bottled at 100 proof for a rich, full flavour and I have to agree it has hit the mark. Drinking this I’m also getting the impression that Rebel Yell are really stepping up the quality of their offerings. This and previous releases such as the French Oak and a Cognac Cask finished bourbons have all been spot on and taste great with none of the pitfalls typically found in the standard 80 proof bourbon.

It’s great to see more offerings enter the EU market at higher than 80 proof because it allows bourbon fans of all levels experience their favourite whiskies in a way they maybe haven’t before. Personally, I prefer a higher proof with the option to add an ice cube or two if I want to bring the proof down. I’ve also found that higher proof also means that if you add it to a cocktail it won’t get watered down as fast and will retain its flavour better. Another fun fact about this whiskey is that like all Rebel Yell bourbon it’s sourced from a major KY distillery that produces some fantastic wheated bourbon (Just Google the mashbill). The fun part is that distillery doesn’t currently have a readily available 100 proof wheated bourbon so this gives you a chance to try the same stock at a slightly higher proof!

Try or Buy?

This release sells for around €35 on this side of the pond which is an absolute bargain for a readily-available 100 proof bourbon in Europe. For those who’d respond that a certain 101 proof bourbon is available for slightly cheaper, I tried them side by side and the wheat in the Rebel Yell made it worth the extra €5~7. Buy.

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Before you go…

Before you go…

Before you go…

Like you, I’m a whiskey enthusiast. I don’t earn any money from distilleries, their parent companies, or their subsidiaries for my reviews. If you like what you’ve read and want to support this page then why not buy me a dram?

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Your contribution is appreciated and will ensure I can keep this website impartial, operational, and stocked full of new content. Cheers!

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