By Richard Thomas
The idea of hybrid blends of whiskey, combining two or more types, has been catching on, with most of the attention focused on Wild Turkey’s Forgiven and the work of High West. The “catching on” part means more and more hybrids, though, and these aren’t as well-known as the critically acclaimed, aforementioned pair. One such is Rebel Yell American Whiskey.
The sourcing notes on the back of the bottle suggest, but do not confirm, that this draws on the same stock used to make the Rebel Yell Rye and Rebel Yell’s basic bourbon. The rye is definitely from MGP, and the best guess for the wheated bourbon is Heaven Hill. The balance between the two is unknown, and the resulting blend is bottled at 90 proof (45% abv).
Rebel Yell Bourbon is a bottom shelf whiskey, plain and simple, but the rye is surprisingly enjoyable for such a youthful whiskey. Bringing the two together makes for a pleasant, if undistinguished drink. In the glass it has a copper coloring, with a faintly cittrus-floral nose dosed with little caramel, rye spice and tobacco leaf.
The flavor is more rye-forward, with orange zest and rye spice over vanilla. Even so, it’s pretty hum drum, thin stuff, and the finish is more of the same, delivering only moderate warmth.
My thinking here is that bringing the Rebel Yell Rye and Bourbon together brought the bourbon up a notch for sure, but the rye down one too.
The real problem here is the price, hovering around $30 per 750 ml bottle. For that, you could get a bottle of Jim Beam White and a bottle of Old Overholt, and try to make your own hybrid.