TMS Booze Project: Rebel Yell

October 12, 2009 | Comments (1) | by Adam Blank

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We also like to plagiarize each other. In the same vein as the Wrigleyville Bar Project & the TMS Beer Project, we are proud to bring you another installment of the TMS Booze Project. The premise is simple: One of the alcoholic bartenders reviews bottles of the hard stuff and gives you the rundown on whether it's worth your time & hard-earned cash to drink the swill. Without further ado, I bring you our next bottle of booze...


Beverage: Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distilled by: Rebel Yell Distillery, Louisville, KY

Type: Kentucky Straight "Wheated" Bourbon Whiskey

Receptacle: 750 mL glass bottle (with plastic twist-off cap)

History 7/10: The bourbon that would eventually be called "Rebel Yell" was first distilled by W.L. Weller in 1849. Weller was a pioneer in using the ample Kentucky wheat supply instead of the standard rye in crafting bourbon. Maker's Mark would eventually find greater success using his wheat shtick, but Weller was the forerunner. Around the 100th anniversary of this concoction, the Mayor of Louisville named the sauce "Rebel Yell," and the small batch bourbon grew in popularity until it was eventually distributed nationally.

General Characteristics: (1 being dog urine rung out of a dirty rag, 10 being platinum diamond encrusted tequila) 7/10 : Sweet. Light & smooth. Almost scotch-like.

Straight from the bottle: 8/10 Abnormally sweet bourbon with an initial taste of honey and a light floral aftertaste. Lacks the thick smokiness of most bourbons. As mentioned before, it's made primarily from wheat rather than rye. This accounts for the extra sweetness.

Mixibility: 9/10 The warmth of the bourbon & spiciness of ginger ale mixed perfectly with the chill from the ice cubes to create a much better Highball than I expected. I didn't mix it with anything else, but man, that Highball was life-changing.

Intoxication: (1 being an Imam on a solemn pilgrimage to Mecca, 10 being Dean Martin on New Year's Eve) 6/10. It's 80 proof, so it isn't going to push the envelope of intoxication, but it's remarkably smooth for something so potent.

Affordability ($ being Prestige Whiskey, $$$$ being The Ritz Side Car): $. I paid $9.99 for this at Trader Joe's. That' pretty cheap. However, the price doesn't reflect the above-average quality you'll get from Rebel Yell. it's a long way from perfect, but it's comparable with the more costly Jim Beam in every way. Might be the best bourbon under $10 that you'll ever find.

Shame Factor (1 being caught masturbating to midget porn by your parents. 10 graduating Summa Cum Laude from Harvard) 5/10: Cheaper liquors generally carry a certain stigma of failure with them. Rebel Yell may not be the highest priced liquor, but the quality, pedigree and pop culture history of Rebel Yell can overcome it's bargain-basement price. Aside from it's 160 year history and the pioneering efforts to use wheat instead of rye as the main ingredient, "Rebel Yell" may be best known as the title of a Billy Idol song. This is no coincidence, as Billy Idol drank this remarkable swill with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood. He liked the name so much that he wrote a song that incorporated the brand name. This song was named by VH1 as the 79th best Hard Rock song of all time.

Effect on your ability to function the next day 7/10: It's bourbon. Even in this remarkably smooth form, it isn't easy on the brain and you're in for a hazy hangover in the morning.

Overall 8/10: Rebel Yell is tasty and affordable enough to become the unofficial alcoholic beverage of Generation X. One sip of this drink will leave you crying "more, more, more!" But don't drink too much, or you'll be dancing with yourself before the night is over. Sorry for all the needless Billy Idol references...I must be delirious because it's "Hot in the City" tonight. But seriously, this is an awesome bourbon for such a small price. A long hiatus from drinking + "Rebel Yell" = A Nice Day to Start Again.