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Rebel Yell

Average score from 3 reviews and 9 ratings 75

Rebel Yell

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Rebel Yell

This was my first experience with Rebel Yell, and I bought a bottle upon recommendation of a friend.

First, it pours a surprisingly light color for a bourbon. More golden than the usual amber.

On the nose, you pick up oak and some spice (hard to define) but very little else. It does have that unique “bourbon scent”.

The palate is somewhat thin, with the oak being the predominant flavor. There are hints of mint and baking spice in the background. Not a lot of depth or complexity.

The aftertaste is interesting. It was longer than I had expected, with a bit of alcohol burn at the end. After a minute or so, I was left with some vanilla/caramel, and maybe some tea flavors.

Overall, this is a nice one to sip either neat or with ice/soda when you don’t want to have to put a great deal of thought into analyzing your whiskey. When I want something light and easy in a bourbon, I will go back to this. And it’s a bargain in New Orleans, at about $12-$14 per bottle, depending upon where you purchase it.

I've had standard Rebel Yell (wheated bourbon) from 6 different batches at different times and they were all over the place in flavour, smoothness vs roughness, and general quality. About half of the bottles were very good, and at Rebel Yell's very inexpensive US price represented outstanding value for money. About half of the bottles of Rebel Yell I tasted I did not like at all, and would not want a bottle of. Unfortunately the only bottle of it I ever bought for myself was one of the inferior ones. My advice: sample the batch of Rebel Yell you are thinking of buying first. If it a good one, then you are getting a steal. If not, stay far away.

Rebel Reserve, and the newer much older age-stated Rebel Yells, are far superior to the standard release.

Luxco, located in St. Louis, Missouri, owns Rebel Yell and puts out several products which are very cost-competitive, especially in the US. I think that the 45% ABV Ezra Brooks bourbon (standard bourbon made with rye grain) is a much safer bet for quality than is standard Rebel Yell. Old Ezra 101 7 yo and Ezra B. 12 yo Single Barrel are very nice products. There is even an ultra-cheap (in the US) Exotico Reposado Tequila put out by Luxco which is really quite serviceable.


Rebel Yell is a wheated bourbon from Kentucky. Matured in charred white oak barrels. Famous brand in the South of USA, at least in the "old South."

Behind the name is a Confederate war cry but this bourbon whiskey also was an inspiration for Billy Idol making an album and a hit song named Rebel Yell.

The former Generation X front man was introduced to Rebel Yell in Mick Jagger's birthday party held by Ronnie Wood.

After some "reviews" from my friends, I was expecting a dreadful dram. Fortunately Rebel Yell managed to surprise me. Not great but a decent bourbon, especially for the price (19 euros for a litre).

Nose: Honey with oak, caramel and vanilla. Pleasant nose, not harsh in any way.

Taste: Honey and caramel and some exotic fruits. Nectarine being the main fruit. Smooth and simple.

Finish: Warming and smooth with oak and sweet fruits.

Balance: Surprisingly mellow and sweet bourbon whiskey. Decent choice for those on a budget.

Here's Billy Idol's story behind his song called Rebel Yell (VH1 Storytellers). The whole show is behind the link but the Rebel Yell story starts at 43:40. I made the link start from there.



Rebel Yell bourbon is one of the five large labels of the 5% or so of bourbons made with wheat instead of rye as the "flavoring grain", along with Van Winkle, Weller, Maker's Mark, and Old Fitzgerald. There is also a Rebel Reserve bourbon. My sister had a really great bottle of Rebel Yell about 3 years ago, which made me excited to try a bottle of my own. My bottle was not as good, by far. This bourbon is assumed to be 4 years old, since there is no other age statement on the bottle. The bottle has been open about 2 years, and has improved slightly with time. I kept hoping... The bottle is about 80% full

Colour: rather pale, for bourbon

Nose: pretty good 2 years open, fairly weak for most of the prior period. Now, pretty strong oak/wheat combo, with good vanilla. This is that interesting and unique combination of the flavours of oak and those of wheat grain. Pretty sweet. Now worth 22/25, previously 19/25. Compromise rating: 20/25

Taste: dilute tasting...then and now. The wheat flavours are pretty slight compared to other wheated bourbons, even young ones, of comparable aging history. Sweet, in satisfactory balance, but...there is nothing at all interesting going on here. This particular bottle is just nothing-y, like a wheated bourbon diluted one part bourbon to two parts water

Finish: pretty short, with almost no complexity whatsover...there is sweet wood with a hint of wheat flavour, nothing more

Balance: Where can I buy a bottle of that Rebel Yell I tasted at Mary Anne's house three years ago? This is a pale third-rate imitation. Among standard release bourbons, most of my top favourites are wheated bourbons, eg Pappy Van Winkle 15 and William Larue Weller. I hate to see a crappy wheated bourbon with very little to offer. This bottle would be best for mixing rather than sipping. I really hope that they will bring back a better version of this. Not too long ago Rebel Yell was very good indeed. I am hopeful, but I would have to have a good more-recent sample of it before I would buy another bottle.

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