By Richard Thomas
Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye is a two year old, 90 proof (45% abv) whiskey sourced out of MGP in Indiana. We know that because Luxco, makers of Rebel Yell, followed the letter of the law and then some by telling us as much in the fine print on the back of the bottle.
From Templeton and Bulleit Rye to countless others, you really can’t be paying attention to the resurgence of rye whiskey without being somewhat familiar with the 95% rye stock of MGP. This is so much the case that some pundits have called the prevalence of this MGP stock whiskey a problem, since it allegedly distorts the image of what rye whiskey is supposed to be.
Yet for that to be true, all the MGP-sourced ryes would need to be nearly alike, and thy aren’t, because not all MGP ryes are from the 95% stock. Even if they were, a lot can happen to a whiskey between mashing and bottling, and Rebel Yell rye is a case in point. Some are aged more, and then there is the question of flavor additives that are allowed without disclosure so long as the whiskey doesn’t bear the title “straight.”
The color of the liquid is a light, bronzed amber. The nose is floral with citrus and herbs, sweet and spicy with a hint of vanilla. On the palate, it has a light texture but solid flavor, combining rye spice with vanilla-flavored sugar cookies. It goes down a little hot, the one time the sheer youth of the spirit really comes out, but that fades quickly, making for an undistinguished finish.
For such a youthful whiskey, the Rebel Yell rye offers a tasty enough drinking experience. There isn’t much to it, but what is there is enjoyable.
Rebel Yell Small Batch Rye fetches about $28 a bottle, making it a somewhat cheaper alternative to some of its cousins.