One of the newest additions to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is Lux Row Distillers in Bardstown, Kentucky. We’ve sampled some of their affordable products before, including David Nicholson 1843 Reserve and Ezra Brooks 7-Year Barrel Strength.
Lux Row dates back to the 1950’s when founders Paul Lux and David Sherman began private labeling sourced bourbon. Brands have included Rebel Yell, Yellowstone, Ezra Brooks, Blood Oath, David Nicholson, Daviess County and numerous other spirits including vodkas, tequilas, and Everclear.
In 2018, the Lux Row Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky was opened. Today, you can get your KBT passport stamped there, and soon, I would anticipate that they’ll begin releasing their own distilled products.
Rebel Yell / Rebel
As a brand, Rebel traces its roots to 1849 when the wheated recipe was formulated at a facility that would later become the Stitzel-Weller Distillery. In 1936, Rebel Yell was released as a registered brand of Kentucky bourbon. You may even have some Rebel Yell lyrics in your head. The story goes that Billy Idol, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards were taking swigs from a bottle of Rebel Yell in 1983. Idol wasn’t familiar with the brand, but liked the name so much, he wrote Rebel Yell that peaked at number 46 on the Top 100 chart. Lux Row snagged the brand from Heaven Hill when it became available in 1999.
You’ll find flavored renditions of the Rebel brand, including root beer and ginger, as well as an 80-proof introductory version, the current 100-proof version, as well as a 10-year expression and a rye whiskey. Recently, with sensitivity to the Antebellum Age, Rebel Yell has shortened its name to just Rebel and has freshened packaging and advertising around the brand, honoring the rebel spirit that lives in each of us.
Rebel is a wheated bourbon, indicating it has replaced the spicier rye portion of the mash bill with wheat. For their wheated bourbons, Lux Row utilizes a mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley, sharing the same mash bill with David Nicholson 1843. There is no age statement on the bottle, and it’s bottled at 100-proof.
From the website, we’re told to expect lots of smooth honey and butter. The nose features honey, butter and raisins. The palate features honey and butter with a hint of plum and raisins. Lastly, the finish is long and warm with an interesting touch of spiciness. Let’s see what I think of this wheated bourbon …
Eye: Light amber. Sun dried straw.
Nose: Light and sweet, with whipped honey butter and vanilla notes.
Palate: A better palate than nose. This is very smooth for higher proof (but feels more like a lower 80-proof), with a light mouthfeel with vanilla and honey-buttered cornbread with cinnamon spice on the end.
Finish: Medium-long with vanilla and spice, followed by oak and aged leather..
Overall: This bourbon is somewhat one-dimensional. As such, it’s not super unique, however, at a $20 price-point, one shouldn’t expect too much either. Honey is definitely the strong note; it’s smooth and would be a great bourbon for those newer to the scene or wanting to expand their horizons.
Don’t count on this being a cheaper version of the Old Fitzgerald Bottled-in-Bond or a Stitzel-Weller knock-off. For the price, it’s not a bad pour, and if your bourbon is going into a Coke or a cocktail, this would be a thrifty pour. I’d love to see how this would stand up to some other wheated bourbons in a blind tasting … Maybe we’ll have to see about that.