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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Rebel Distiller's Collection

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 99. Today our pour is from a single barrel Distiller’s Collection.

Bottler turned Distiller

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.

The history of Rebel can be traced back to the mid-1850s when wheat was substituted for traditional rye in a bourbon mash as a facility that would later become the renowned Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville. The name "Rebel" (then "Rebel Yell") was introduced in 1936. Heaven Hill snatched up the brand, along with others when Stitzel-Weller dissolved, and then, like a card game, ditched the brands it didn't want (including Rebel Yell). Lux Row subsequently snatched up the brand and began bringing it back to its former greatness. With sensitivity to America's Civil War, the name was recently shortened to just "Rebel", honoring the rebel spirit that lives in each of us.

The Tasting

This Rebel Distiller's Collection was purchased at Justins' in Lexington, Kentucky, and is "hand picked from extraordinary bottles." Rebel is a wheated bourbon utilizing a mash bill of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley. While there is no age statement on the bottle, it does share that it is from barrel number 7500619 and was filled on 9/27/2016. Since I purchased this in mid-2021, that indicates the contents are just under 5 years old. It is bottled at a hefty 113-proof.

Eye: Medium amber. Much darker than traditional Rebel. I suspect this was in a “hot” location or an upper floor of the warehouse. There are an abundance of medium legs displayed on the sides of the Glencairn glass.

Nose: An initial dose of alcohol to let you know it really is 113-proof. After it’s had a chance to open up, there are pronounced Rebel notes of vanilla and honey along with some charred oak and nutmeg. A couple drops of water removes the alcohol heaviness.

Palate: True to the nose, there is vanilla, oak and spice. There were also some doughy pie crust flavors, as well. I was expecting something with a significant bite based upon the nose, but this was pretty smooth and gentle. Vanilla and cinnamon along with oak char come forward following the addition of a couple drops of water.

Finish: Medium-long with vanilla, oak and spice.

Overall: For the $40 I paid for this - not bad. Certainly a little more inspiring than traditional Rebel. This isn't complicated or layered. I’d love to see what a couple more years of age would do to the overall profile.

Based upon the opening of Lux Row’s production facility in 2018, this may be some of the last of its sourced distillate (though I’d suspect this may have come from nearby Heaven Hill). This would make an interesting bourbon to gift, especially with the packaging. The high proof would make this fairly versatile, as well, especially in a cocktail.

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