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Rebel Yell Small Batch Reserve

Posted on by Eric Burke

I'm in the process of packing for a much-needed vacation tonight, so I'm going to keep this kinda short. Not as short as the last post, but short none-the-less.

I've had a love/hate relationship with Rebel Yell for a very long time. The standard, entry-level, release was one of the first bourbons that I truly disliked. I used most of the bottle for years as a prop whiskey. I'd empty a bottle, which I planned to review, without taking its photo. Instead of shooting an empty bottle, I'd add a little visual interest by pouring my prop bourbon into the bottle, shoot the photo and then pour it back into the Rebel Yell bottle. After a while, I stopped pouring it back in and started dumping it out. And, of course, started adding other whiskeys that I didn't want to finish to the bottle. Oddly after all of that, it made a decent cocktail whiskey, so I started a new prop bottle.

Since the time that I reviewed Rebel Yell, Luxco (the brand owner) started revamping the look of the brand and introducing other extensions to the Rebel Yell line. Flavored ones of course, but also a Straight Rye and a blend of Rye and Bourbon. The latter of which I reviewed quite favorably. And then they released the Rebel Yell Single Barrel, a ten-year-old, wheated bourbon. And it was fantastic! 

Which made me wonder if I need to go back down and try the Small Batch Reserve that I had walked past for years due to how I felt about the standard Rebel Yell. 

Want to read more about the Rebel Yell brand history, check out my buddy Peter's take on it. He does a lot more fact checking and research than I feel like doing sometimes...

Rebel Yell Small Batch Reserve

Purchase Info: I honestly have no idea, I thought I bought it at Total Wine, but when I went back to check the price on their website, they said they don't carry it in my state...but I see Ace Spirits has it for a little under $27.

Details: 45.3% ABV

Nose: Corn bread, mint and honey.

Mouth: Brown sugar, mint, banana, baking spice and dried grains.

Finish: Short to medium in length with lingering banana and baking spice.

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Thoughts: I've had more than a couple of glasses of this during the weeks it has been on the shelf. It isn't bad in a tumbler, nothing special, but it gets the job done without being offensive. 

I really think it works well in a cocktail with Campari and Ramazzotti Amaro. It's a riff on a Black Manhattan, and I use two ounces of Rebel Yell Reserve, half an ounce of Campari, half an ounce of Ramazzotti and a few dashes of bitters. I like how the sweet of this bourbon offsets the bitter of the Campari and Amaro. So I'm giving this a like on that fact alone. On its own, it straddles the line between meh and like.


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