By Randall H. Borkus
The original phrase “rebel yell” was for the Confederate soldier’s battle cry, used during the American Civil War when charging an enemy position. It was intended to intimidate and lift the confidence of the troops, and is thought to have been influenced either by the Scottish or Native American war cry traditions. Noted historian Shelby Foote once described it as “a fox hunt yip mixed up with a banshee squall.”
The fabled battle cry later became the brand name for a wheated, Kentucky bourbon, now owned by Luxco and sourced from… well, that is a secret. For this particular Rebel Yell, a 10 year old single barrel, it has been suggested on the internet (and it’s on the internet so it must be true… well, maybe not so true) that the source is Heaven Hill. Another whiskey friend described it to me as an aged version of Larceny, also from Heaven Hill. Only Luxco and the stock provider know for sure, but if the rumors are true I assume this was made using the Heaven Hill wheated bourbon mashbill: 68% corn, 20% wheat, 12% malted barley.
Luxco, Inc. is a prominent producer, importer and marketer of alcohol beverages. Founded in St. Louis in 1958, where it is headquartered, it is owned and operated by the Lux family. It has an extensive brand portfolio with very little that excites me personally, other than the Ezra Brooks 12 year old and this 10 year old Rebel Yell Bourbon.
This hand-bottled bourbon will be available in limited quantity of 2,000 cases from September 2016, and another 4,000 cases are planned for a later, 2017 campaign. Hand written on my bottle is barrel #4744359, aged since September 2005.
The whiskey is a deep amber color. It has a flavorful nose with a robust smoky vanilla, caramel, fresh tobacco and oak bouquet. The juice hits your tongue very smoothly carrying with it smoky vanilla, dried dark fruit sweetness, caramel, and lots of oak. The smooth flavor bomb continues in the back of the throat leading with hints of oak, that unique smoky vanilla, caramel, a dry dark fruitiness and a slight tobacco earthiness all floating into a medium length finish which displays a hint of barrel tannins with a bit of spice.
This is a very satisfying sipper. At 100 proof you expect a serious bite; however, this is smooth and inviting because of the wheat subgrain. I expect this Kentucky juice will be well received by a whiskey craving public.
Rebel Yell Single Barrel is available in 750 ml bottles at the suggested retail price of $49.99. For this price and quality, I would seriously consider a multiple bottles for my shelf.