Rebel Distiller’s Collection Liquor Barn Pick #7 Scoresheet & Review

Rebel (formerly Rebel Yell) is a brand that ostensibly inspires little curiosity beyond its amusing name. Lux Row would have you believe the brand can be traced back to the 19th century, which isn’t technically wrong, but it does muddy the reality. Rebel Yell products made their first official appearance closer to the 1940s for the then-recently opened Stitzel-Weller distillery. That connection alone makes older Rebel Yell bottlings particularly appealing to the “dusty” bourbon crowd.

Present-day Rebel is arguably a bit more pedestrian. Many at least know of the two bottom-shelf bottlings, both of which fail to inspire. Beyond this dull pair, however, things get slightly more interesting. Rebel is one of the more available names when it comes to barrel picks which, given their wheated composition, often results in more interest than the Ezra Brooks equivalents. Before the current “Cask Strength” selections hit the market, Rebel and Ezra had Distiller’s Collection picks that were proofed down to 113. These were competitively priced thanks to their high proof and sub-$40 price tags, which is why I bought one back in 2021. The specific barrel in question was selected by Liquor Barn in Kentucky.

Nose: Somehow both bright and musty. Anise and clove with an odd dark fruit backbone slightly akin to bitters. Tobacco and young wood. Dusty grain, cinnamon, and a present but buried layer of caramel and butterscotch.

Palate: Full, warm consistency. Candied almonds, cocktail cherry, and green apple. Baking spices, jam, and light brown sugar spread on honey wheat toast.

Finish: A bit more caramel with warm, toasty wood notes that come across a touch young and musty. Pepper and barrel char linger with a dry heat that suits the flavors. Closes with a hint of caramel candy.

If I were to name this pick, I’d call it “Wild Child”; partly to honor the late Alexi Laiho, and because it fits this bourbon’s personality. Time and time again I found myself surprised by it, not just from pour to pour, but sip to sip. Sometimes it was a bright, borderline dried fruit bomb, other times it brought herbs and baking spices aplenty. Considering Rebel is all but confirmed to be sourced from Heaven Hill, this interesting profile honestly checks out. Larceny and even Old Fitzgerald are brands that don’t scream traditional wheater when I drink them, so this Rebel pick is very much par for the course.

What ultimately came to mind each time I revisited this bourbon was “fun.” It’s rare that I find a whiskey that consistently hit me differently while also being consistently enjoyable. I can’t speak to how accurately this pick represents other Rebel picks (Distiller’s Collection or Cask Strength), but if it’s even remotely so, then I’d give them a soft recommendation. They probably won’t be to everyone’s liking, which makes the roughly $60 Cask Strength a tougher sell. Yet for Larceny fans who don’t mind some added heat, these may scratch a certain itch that other bottles simply don’t.


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