Rebel Yell


“With a Rebel Yell she cried more, more, more.”  That’s right, according to Wikipedia, Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was the inspiration for the Billy Idol hit. He was drinking it with members of The Rolling Stones, big fans of RY, when he decided he liked the name and would use it for a song.

Rebel Yell is a wheated Bourbon, still at least 51% corn and 5% Barley but with wheat instead or rye for the balance. Usually considered a bottom shelf dweller priced around $14 for a 750 ML bottle. Comes in a standard looking bottle with a synthetic cork, bottled at 80 proof and is at least 4 years in the barrel.  We had no trouble finding it.


Todd:   Very slight aromas of vanilla and ceder along with some kind of grain.

Ron:  Vanilla, medicine, and a slight caramel scent. Also smelled somewhat hot.


Todd:  Nice heat for 80 proof but very smooth as well. Got some kind of bread taste that was probably the grain I got on the nose. Also picked up a sweet praline like taste.

Ron:   Very sweet and very smooth. I tasted the vanilla and caramel that I got on the nose as well as some anise.


Todd:   Medium with a nice clean sweetness.

Ron:   Medium to medium-long with not much difference in taste.


Todd:  You never know what you are getting with some of these low end bottles. I was very impressed, but I am partial to wheated bourbons.

Ron:    Not real complex, very sweet but I still liked it. I had tasted RY before and didn’t remember it being this good. I did not know the factoid about Billy Idol and The Rolling Stones, now I like this Bourbon even more!

Nose      3.5 out of 5

Taste      7.25 out of 10

Finish     3.25 out of 5

Overall         14 out of 20 Barrels

Maybe the low price influenced us by setting the bar low and not having very high expectations. We both liked Rebel Yell enough to at least consider it as our default low end Bourbon, taking the place of Old Fitz.

While the score was not very high, we both enjoyed sipping on RY, and last we checked that was the reason we drink Bourbon, also remember the price.

Rebel Yell is cheap enough to mix but we would advise a traditional Bourbon cocktail like a Manhattan, in our minds it is too sweet to mix with cola.

Also makes a good starter Bourbon. If you can get it for close to the price above, we recommend you buy a bottle (or two).

Jim Beam Black

Beam                                                           Jim Beam Black? As followers of this blog know, we are not big fans of Jim Beam White label, one of the biggest sellers in the industry. After all this is just the same juice aged 4 more years and bottled at a slightly higher proof, 86 for Black, 80 for White. Why would it be much different?

Beam Black sells for around $24, comes in the same shaped uncorked bottle as Beam White and is available everywhere.


Todd:    Got a lot more on the nose then I expected. Hints of tobacco, cherries, cocoa and a slight grassy aroma. Later with some ice I also detected a honey smell.

Ron:    Wow, I liked the nose but did not get near what you did. Mostly a spicy/pepper aroma with a little sweetness in the background.


Todd:   Was not bad neat, but liked it better with a single cube melted. I didn’t get on the tongue all I got on the nose. A little bit of leather, and a nutty flavor along with some spice.

Ron:   We are off again. I was really surprised by the many flavors of Beam Black. I got the pepper that I got on the nose along with caramel, ceder, and a malty flavor. Also tasted something I couldn’t quite put my finger on but was reminiscent of graham crackers.


Todd:  Medium to medium long with a nice sweet aftertaste.

Ron:   Medium long finish with a nice bit of sweetness. Much different than Beam White.


Todd:   I really enjoyed this stuff, and I was very skeptical seeing as how I am not a fan of the White label.

Ron:  Much better than anticipated. Far superior to the big selling White label. Definitely worth the $4 to $5 premium.

Nose     4 out of 5

Taste     8.5 out of 10

Finish    4 out of 5

Total          16.5 out of 20 Barrels

Well, we were both pleasantly surprised with Jim Beam Black. The score is not way up there but remember the bottle sells in the low to mid 20s. Beam Black has a lot more flavor and nose than  Beam White and priced to make a good mixer.

So, did the extra 4 years in the barrel and that extra 6 proof make a difference. You bet, this will be a staple in our cabinets and you should give it a try, you will not be disappointed.

Jack Daniels Old #7 Brand

IMG_2801                                           Up for review today, Jack Daniels Old No 7 Brand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey (whew), Known here as Jack Black. While technically not a Bourbon, it follows most of the Bourbon rules but then is filtered through maple charcoal. Almost everyone who has drank has tried Jack, and if they haven’t tried it, they would still probably recognize the bottle and brand.

Jack black is the number one selling American whiskey in the world. Comes in the familiar non-corked bottle at 80 proof. It was 90 proof when we were younger. Sells for around $27 and can be found anywhere that spirits are sold.


Ron:  I got aromas of caramel and banana bread. Not much else.

Todd:  I also got banana but seemed more like taffy.  Also picked up some odors that reminded me of a humidor and an odd cooked-vegetable smell. I detected a faint, funky, soapy like smell that my wife identified as varnish. Not a fan.


Ron:   Tasted the banana and caramel that I got on the nose, even though it was a different banana aroma. I also got  a taste of medicine and a little taste of ethanol.

Todd:    Easily could drink this neat, got the banana and sweetness that I got on the nose. Tasted a little smoke and a little ceder and some kind of baking spice.


Ron:    Medium finish with a little bit of pepper and mustiness.

Todd:   Medium finish, not much change, maybe a slight musty taste.


Ron:   Just okay at best, little pricey for something that isn’t that complex.

Todd:   Jack taste better than it smells, having said that it still did not overwhelm me. I agree, not very complex for the price.

Nose    3 out of 5

Taste    7 out of 10

Finish    3 out of 5

Total          13 out of 20 Barrels

We were a little underwhelmed by this giant of the industry. Much like we were not very impressed a while back with another giant, Jim Beam White Label. At least with Jim you are not paying as much so you don’t feel bad mixing it with cola. Being the number one American Whiskey sold in the world, Jack is the epitome of great marketing!

Since Jack is so popular, our final verdict unfortunately, is you should probably have  a bottle of it in your cabinet. Just in case a guest requests some Jack Black.

Russell’s Reserve Rye

rr-6y-rye-hi                                                                     Like Russell’s Reserve, Russell’s Reserve Rye is made by Wild Turkey and is a tribute to their Master Distiller of the last 61 years, Jimmy Russell.

It comes in a nondescript corked bottle, 90 proof and aged 6 years. We have found it to be available at most places, and goes for around $30. It is the same mash bill as their 81 proof Rye but aged a few years longer. In fact we learned from a Wild Turkey rep that they only have two mash bills, the straight Bourbon and the Rye.

Today we have two new guest tasters, Steve and Kavanaugh. Coincidentally we met them at a Bourbon tasting. They both are big fans of Bourbon/Rye and have been drinking it for a while.


Kavanaugh:    At first I detected a sweet citrus aroma, then on second attempt I was almost overwhelmed by the scent of lemon.

Steve:     I got a lot on the nose, starting with a spicy cinnamon smell with a touch of ceder. Also got a little ethanol and a slight musty scent.

Todd:    A very nice nose of citrus, cinnamon and pear. Also got a slight wood scent. I detected the lemon that Kavanaugh got but only after he mentioned it.

Ron:   I also got the cinnamon and the spice. Also got some honey and caramel, I also caught the lemon but only after Kavanaugh talked about it.

Steve:   I never got the lemon.


Kavanaugh:   I got a woody taste, maybe ceder, along with some spice. Smooth but not a lot of flavors.

Steve:    I tasted the cinnamon and spice that I got on the nose along with some leather and a slight floral note. With ice I detected a taste of grass.

Todd:   A little hot neat, pretty smooth with some melted ice.  Sadly it didn’t seem as complex as the nose had promised. Everything I tasted was slight, including pepper, caramel, and a somewhat nutty flavor.

Ron:    I also thought it was a little warm neat, even though I got more from it when I sipped it without ice. Having said that, the caramel that I got on the nose turned to toffee on the tongue. I also got notes of leather and a woody taste that might be oak.


Kavanaugh:  Medium to short  with not much difference in taste, maybe a little kick of spice.

Steve:  Medium with a sweet after taste.

Todd:    Medium finish, not much added, maybe a little mint.

Ron:   Medium to long finish with a touch of honey.


Kavanaugh:    Liked it better with one cube, would make a good starter Rye and is a decent price.

Steve:   I thought it was a bit flat overall, definitely needs the ice or water.

Todd:    I really liked drinking this Rye but it did not have a lot going on in the taste department.

Ron:   Hate to mimic Todd but I also Enjoyed sipping on this and really liked the nose, but was a little underwhelmed by the lack of complexity on the taste.

Nose    4.5 out of 5

Taste     7 out of 10

Finish    3.5 out of 5

Total          15 out of 20 Barrels

This was another hard one, the score doesn’t quite show how much we all liked sitting around and tasting it. It doesn’t have the complex taste we are used to getting in a Rye.  But at under or around $30 it is not a bad price. In fact we couldn’t think of a Rye, with the exception of Bulleit or Rittenhouse, that we really loved that was around or under that price range.

If you are a Rye fan, you should give Russel’s Reserve Rye a shot. If you have wanted to try a Rye, this would be a good one to start with. Not too spicy or too expensive. It also makes a decent Old Fashioned.

Final verdict from the team, not the best Rye we have tried, but not the worst. We recommend you give it a try.

Crown Royal Rye


Crown Royal Rye, a new product from “The Legendary Import” that brings us Crown Royal. CRR comes in the same easily recognizable bottle as the rest of the Crown line. It sells for around $25 and is bottled at 90 proof. We could not find an age statement on the bottle or online. It is available everywhere.

We have stated numerous times that we are not big fans of Canadian Blended Whiskeys. They all are pretty smooth but don’t have a lot of flavor or depth.  Will CRR be the same?

Also today we have for the first time a repeat guest taster. Kelsey joins us again.


Kelsey:   I detected caramel on the nose, but I always detect a caramel aroma from Bourbon/Rye. I also got some oak, a little raisin, and a slight medicinal smell.

Todd:  I got a big nice nose of pear. Once I got the pear it was hard to get it out of my mind. With some time and effort I started to detect some citrus, spice and brown sugar.

Ron:   I got aromas of apricot, vanilla and spice. I picked up on the raisin that Kelsey got. Also got a scent that reminded me of circus peanuts, you know that orange soft candy that I am not sure they sell anymore.  Brought back some good memories of childhood.

Todd:    Hopefully you are talking about the circus peanuts and not the Booze. Strange, once Ron told me about the circus peanuts I also got that. Power of suggestion?

Kelsey:  Didn’t work on me.


Kelsey:  I tasted the apricot that Ron got on the nose. Along with cedar and a sweet yeasty flavor.

Ron:   I tasted the raisin and spice that I got on the nose. I also got caramel, yeast, and a little pepper.

Todd:  I got a clean taste with a lot of pear up front. I also tasted a little bread and some spice. Not overly hot for 90 proof.


Kelsey:  Medium finish with much of the same flavors I got up front.

Ron:    Medium finish with some sweet/spiciness.

Todd:   A sweet medium finish.


Kelsey:   Very smooth and tasty.

Ron:  Very smooth but not extremely complex. Can be enjoyed on all occasions, but to me seems better fitted to sip on in cold weather.

Todd:   I agree, very smooth, not overly complex. Having said that, I really liked this stuff.

Nose     4 out of 5

Taste     8.5 out of 10

Finish    3.5 out of 5

Total            16 out of 20 Barrels

The score doesn’t reflect how much we all enjoyed sipping on Crown Royal Rye. In our minds, it is a lot better than their flagship, Crown Royal Blended Whiskey. Yes it does not have a lot of depth, but that should not stop you from trying it.

At $25 it  is at a good price point, comes in a cool bottle, good either straight or on the rocks, and makes a decent Old Fashioned.

This would also make a good introduction for novices or your friends who don’t think they like a Bourbon/Rye.