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Rebel Yell Single Barrel, 10-Year-Old Bourbon

Posted on by Eric Burke

I state in my Statement of Ethics that if I accept a review sample, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Please consider it disclosed. I’d like to thank Common Ground PR for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. 

I am sorry about last week; freelance work has been crazy busy. Which is a great problem to have. Let me tell you I am not complaining. But it did leave me with little time to taste and write about bourbon. However, the extra passage of time did allow something to happen that makes this article just a little more fun.

At the beginning of May, I received a press release announcing the release of the 2017 batch of Rebel Yell Single Barrel, 10-Year-Old Bourbon. Though I had tasted it at an event, I never reviewed last year's batch (and never saw it at retail), so I checked on the availability of samples. Unfortunately, they said that there weren't going to be any review samples this year. Not a problem, I just determined to keep my eyes open for a bottle at the store. 

A little while later, a friend of mine texted me from the liquor store that he was picking up a bottle of Rebel Yell Single Barrel. So I asked him to grab me a bottle too. He did, and so I knew I'd have one to review. Except that since we are both busy people, we didn't catch up with each other until this past weekend. 

Which is what makes this one fun. See in between my friend grabbing a bottle for me and me getting it; I received a sample of this bourbon as well. And what this allowed me to do was compare barrels of this single-barrel product just to see how big of a difference there is between barrels. I will be comparing barrel number 5043515, provided by Common Ground PR with barrel number 5043517 that I purchased locally.

Rebel Yell Single Barrel, 10-Year-Old Bourbon

Purchase Info: Barrel# 5043517: $45.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Total Wine. 
Barrel# 5043515: 50 mL sample generously provided by Common Ground PR.

Details: 50% ABV. Age stated 10-years old. Aged since May 2006.

Nose: Barrel# 5043517: Caramel, cherry, mint, and oak.
Barrel# 5043515: Less cherry and more oak.

Mouth: Barrel# 5043517: Sweet with notes of rich leather, caramel, baking spice, and oak. 
Barrel# 5043515: Much spicier with a drier oak feel.

Finish: Barrel# 5043517: Long and warm with lingering sweetness and spice.
Barrel# 5043515: Long and spicy. 

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Thoughts: Both of these are fantastic bourbons. They are similar, as you might expect, though the sample was noticeably spicier and not as sweet. 

I like comparing single barrel bourbons. It's fun to experience the variations on a theme. Sometimes, there's little difference. They are so similar that you wonder just how single that barrel was. Rebel Yell Single Barrel does not have that issue. Both are distinct and delicious in their own way. I am really impressed. And even at $50, I think this is worth the money should you have it to spare. For me, this is on the line between really, really like and love. But because I think the price point is just about perfect, I'll just go with I love it.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Tincup American Whiskey

Posted on by Eric Burke

Shout out to Patreon Ken Ray for reminding me that the subject of tonight's review exists during an email conversation we had. Ken is the host of Mac OS Ken a daily technology podcast focusing on Apple news and news related to Apple news. Check it out. And if you would also like to suggest a topic for an upcoming post, feel free to reach out via any of the contact mechanisms in the site navigation.

I have a bad habit. If something isn't continually shoved in my face, I don't think about it. And if that goes on for long enough, I forget it exists. And this applies to everything from NFL football to extended family. And this goes on until one day I'll be reminded of whatever-it-is, and feel bad for having neglected it (or in the case of NFL football, feel relieved that it is no longer such a big part of my life).

This recently happened with the subject of tonight's post, Tincup American Whiskey. I remember when Tincup was released. I remember thinking "huh, another MGP whiskey." Then I didn't think about it again. I'd see it every once in a while, until one day I didn't. It wasn't gone, I was just looking past it toward whatever had recently caught my attention. My mother refers to this as my "Shiny Object Syndrome." I've always had an eye open for whatever is new and have looked past whatever is still there. 

And so, this blend of MGPi Bourbon and Stranahan's Malt Whiskey escaped my notice until mentioned in an email from a Patreon supporter. The next time I went to the liquor store, I saw it and decided it was time to stop overlooking it. So, how does it taste? Should I have continued to pass it over?

Tincup American Whiskey

Purchase Info: $24.99 for a 750mL bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN.

Details: 42% ABV. Bourbon distilled in Indiana mixed with a "small amount of Colorado single malt whiskey." "Cut with Rocky Mountain Water"

Nose: Sweet with citrus, mint, and almond. 

Mouth: Sweet with a nice spice. Almond, ginger, and a hint of oak.

Finish: Warm and spicy with lingering citrus, mint, and ginger. 

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Thoughts: This a good value at $25. It isn't an amazing whiskey, but it is a good one. At $25, I like this very much. If it were priced higher, I'd probably be much more critical. In any case, I like this and might even buy another bottle someday since I am finding the citrus/mint combo very tasty and interesting. 


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

My Wandering Eye: Appleton Estate Rare Blend, Aged 12 Years

Posted on by Eric Burke

My wandering eye is a series reacting to the crazy rising prices in the bourbon world. We’ve reached a place where even average products have hit the range where they compete price-wise with other types of aged spirits. If I’m going be asked to drop $40 to $70 on a mid-range bourbon, I might as well see what else I can get for that money. See if another spirits category offers something that is downright tasty in that price range. The goal isn’t to find cheap spirits, but to maximize the quality, I’m getting at a particular price point.

Inspired by my review of Fred Minnick's Rum Curious, I decided to let my eye wander through the liquor store again. This time though, I went armed with the knowledge provided in Fred's book. I had an idea as to what I was looking for and what I might be able to find. Since I am a whiskey drinker, I thought I'd try one of the non-sugared rum styles. After reading in Rum Curious that Jamaica and Barbadoes do not allow sugar in their rums, I went looking for that. I cross referenced that with Fred's thoughts on the various whiskeys. I made a list and then I headed to the store. 

The first one that I saw from the list, well the first one in my price range, was the 12-year-old expression of Appleton Estate. I'd had other, less expensive, expressions from Appleton Estate and enjoyed them so that is the one I walked out with.

Appleton Estate Rare Blend, Aged 12 Years

Purchase Info: $31.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Viking Liquor Barrel, Prior Lake, MN

Details: 12 years old. 43% ABV

Nose: Very rich and sweet with a nice thick mouthfeel. Strong molasses, caramel custard, banana, ginger spice and old wood. 

Mouth: Sweet with a hint of the spice to come. Banana, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, and oak.

Finish: This is where the spice really kicks in. Lingering ginger and molasses with banana bread and cinnamon coming in after. 

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Thoughts: Oh, remember the good old days when you could get a 12-year-old bourbon for around $30? Or an 18-year-old for $45? Well, that ship has sailed and it ain't coming back anytime soon. In the meantime, let's hop on a different ship and sail on out to find some rum. A 12-year-old for $32? And it's good? Sign me up. I like this one quite a bit.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

My whiskey is too young, now what?

Posted on by Eric Burke

It happens to all of us. Somehow we find ourselves with a bottle of whiskey whose age is listed in single digit months instead of years. Maybe we were given it by a friend. Maybe we were taken in by a pretty label. Or maybe we just weren't paying close enough attention. How we acquired the bottle doesn't really matter as much as what we are going to do with it now. 

Unless you are a fan of new make, you are probably not going to drink it neat. And unless you plan to use it as a door stop or to clean something, you need to find something to do with it. Well, I can't tell you what to do with yours, but since I found myself with an abundance of the stuff myself recently, I can tell you what I did with mine.

I made cocktails. 

But I didn't make whiskey cocktails, well not really. I mean I used whiskey in them. Wait...let's start at the beginning here, and I'll tell you my thought process. 

I initially thought to myself that if I looked at some colonial-era drinks, well that would be about right since they didn't age the whiskey yet at that point anyway. And while I didn't find many, I did find a couple that worked. 

The first is one one without a formal recipe. And it takes a couple of months. It's called Cherry Bounce, and I found the process I use in Michael Dietch's excellent book: Whiskey. Basically, you pierce a pound of sour cherries with a knife, toss in a bottle of whiskey, a couple of cups of sugar, some freshly grated nutmeg and a couple of cinnamon sticks. Shake it every few days at first and then let it sit for three months before straining off the liquid. It's damn good, and I think I'll be making some every summer from here on out as if you start it when the cherries are ripe, it is done just in time for the holidays.

But I'm guessing you want something you can drink right away, and I won't disappoint. The only other Colonial-era drink I found that worked well with the young whiskey I had was the Whiskey Sling, which has one thing in common with the Bounce above. Nutmeg. It turns out it really does help a young whiskey to be more palatable. A Whiskey Sling is just 2 ounces of whiskey, a half teaspoon of sugar dissolved in a teaspoon of water, a glass, some ice and some freshly grated nutmeg over the top of it all. It really is quite tasty, especially with a young rye. Just try to drink it before the ice melts too much. 

So after I decided that Colonial-Era drinks were kind of a dead-end, I decided to rethink my approach. To me, whiskey that is too young tastes less like whiskey and more like cheap tequila or rum. And so I decided to treat it that way. The first thing I go to work was a riff on a Margarita.

Whiskey Margarita

  • 1.5-ounce New-make to 12-month-old bourbon
  • 1-ounce lime juice (fresh)
  • 0.5 to 1-ounce Cointreau
  • Orange bitters

Shake with ice and pour into a glass. You may need to adjust slightly depending on the whiskey you have, but that'll get you close.

Following the lime juice and young whiskey theme, a mojito riff worked really well too. 

Whiskey Mojito

  • 2-ounce New-make to 12-month-old bourbon
  • 1-ounce lime juice (fresh)
  • 1-ounce simple syrup
  • 6 mint leaves
  • dash bitters
  • soda water

Bruise your mint and drop it into your glass, pour in the lime juice, simple syrup, whiskey and a dash of bitters. Give it a stir. Add ice and top with soda water. 

Branching out a little I also tried a Negroni/Boulevardier with the too young whiskey, and that tasted quite good. I mention Negroni because a Negroni and a Boulevardier are pretty close to the same drink. The Negroni has gin and the other bourbon. In this case, it reminded me more of the Negroni than the Boulevardier. This one is simple.

Too Young Boulevardier

  • 1-ounce New-make to 12-month-old bourbon
  • 1-ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1-ounce Campari

Give it a stir and serve it on the rocks. 

So after all that I guess my point is that when you have a bottle of whiskey that you aren't sure what to do with, sometimes you need to get creative. I made my bottle disappear by making rum, tequila and gin drinks with it. Maybe you can do the same. 


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

My Wandering Eye: Rum Curious by Fred Minnick

Posted on by Eric Burke

Disclaimer: Fred Minnick is my friend. In my statement of ethics, I promised to disclose when I am reviewing one of my friend’s products and to only review them when it was truly something I really liked. This is one of those times.

It's been about a year and a half since my eye first started to wander around the liquor store. In that time Bourbon prices have just gotten more insane. And though I could continue blindly searching through the liquor store and hoping I find something amazing, I'd rather search for a little clarity and guidance instead. 

Enter my friend, Fred Minnick. I've reviewed plenty of his books on the site before, but they have always been about bourbon. This time around, Fred has tackled another spirit which just so happens to line up with the My Wandering Eye... series: Rum.

Rum is a spirit that intrigues me. It can be, and is, made almost anywhere in the world. Each country has different and unique regulations, and almost none of them are required to be on the label. Rum can have sugar added post-distillation, or not. Rum can be made using molasses, sugarcane juice, or sugar syrup (US manufacturers have even gotten away with using Beet sugar or Sorghum, in violation of the labeling laws). Sometimes barrels that are evaporating in the Carribean heat can be used to top off other barrels, and sometimes they can't. Truly, the biggest problem is not that there are no regulations, its that there are a lot of regulations. And many they conflict with one another.

And that's where Fred Minnick enters the picture. I'm sure that there have been books on Rum before this one. But I don't know that there has ever been one that is more suited to helping the Bourbon drinker gain an informed entry into the world of Rum. Rum Curious offers an overview of Rum's history, a look into the many rules and regulations, tasting notes, cocktail recipes and even an appendix full of producer production notes. All to help you decide what type of Rum you want and then to help you find that Rum and make an informed purchasing decision. 

I almost always buy spirits books in hardcover, and this time was no exception. This time though, I think I might also buy an electronic copy of so I can have a searchable version along when I visit the Rum aisle in the liquor store. 

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I like this book a lot. It makes me want to explore Rum further. Which I guess, may be kinda the point.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the generosity of our patrons and by the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to become a patron visit patreon.com/arok or if you'd like to shop for bourbon goods, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!