Kentucky-based Lux Row Distillers is launching its second limited edition release of Rebel Yell bourbon in the UK following the success of the brand’s French Oak Finish last year.
The new Rebel Yell Cognac Cask Finish is the distiller’s second bourbon which won’t be released in its US homeland, with sales of the limited edition reserved for its growing European market. Parent company Luxco saw its European sales rise by 22% in value last year.
This year’s special release sees Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon finished in cognac casks for six months, which gives the whiskey a golden amber appearance and an aroma of hints of oak and dark berries. The 45% ABV bourbon has notes of caramel, toasted sugar and raisins on the palate and will be on-sale from October at £34 per 700ml bottle.
Similar to last year’s Rebel Yell French Oak Finish, a limited run of 6,000 bottles of the Cognac Cask Finish will be released during the next 12 months. Lux Row Distillers’ master distiller and head blender John Rempe will then consider another special finish of the bourbon for 2021.
Secondary finishing is having a huge renaissance in the bourbon category, as it really appeals to consumers who typically value age statements and vintages in spirits. This is particularly true in the UK and Europe, where a secondary finish in bourbon is regarded as a yardstick for creative and complex flavours that must be tasted and savoured.
Last year’s special finish of Rebel Yell was a bit of an experiment to test demand amongst the brand’s European fanbase and to reward their loyalty. It proved such a hit that it inspired us to create this year’s cognac finish.
The challenge for us was to create another limited edition Rebel Yell that was distinctly different to the spicy, chocolate and ginger taste of the French Oak in 2019. The cognac casks really do give the bourbon a completely different character, with the subtle taste of raisins setting this year’s release apart.
– John Rempe: Lux Row Distillers’ master distiller and head blender
The secondary finish enables us to take the very best of the wheated Rebel Yell, which is aged over four years, and give its flavour a real point of difference that won’t necessarily be achieved by leaving the whiskey to sit for years longer in its original charred white oak barrels.
This innovative finishing really appeals to consumers who are increasingly inquisitive and adventurous when it comes to seeking out different tasting bourbons. It’ll help us further boost bourbon exports and grow the category internationally over the coming years.
– Greg Mefford: International Sales Director at Luxco
Rebel Yell Cognac Cask Finish will be distributed by Cellar Trends in the UK and be available through both the on and off-trade. The special finish is bottled at 90 proof and created using corn, wheat, malt and water at Lux Row Distillers in Bardstown, Kentucky. Following its UK launch, the Cognac Cask Finish will be released in Italy, Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland.
So, what did I think? Here are my tasting notes …
Tasting Notes – Rebel Yell Cognac Cask Finish Bourbon (45%)
Nose: Sugary plump raisins, glorious orange and rich, fudgy, vanilla. It sure packs a sensory punch! To top it all there’s also a little white wood at the end.
Palate: Rich, creamy, smooth sugared raisins with powerful orange, tangerines and juicy blackcurrant.
Finish: Woody spice with hints of mint and treacle leaning towards dryness at the end.
Overall: A magnificent dram – almost like orange liquor in parts and then back to familiar whiskey!
Rebel Yell is available to buy from these Merchants:-
About Lux Row Distillers and Limestone Branch Distillery
Real roots, real family, real products: Lux Row Distillers – a bourbon distillery experience on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail – is a family-owned venture, bringing the Lux family history and spirits tradition to the bourbon industry.
Owned by consumer products company, Luxco (www.luxco.com), Lux Row Distillers is the home of bourbon brands including Rebel Yell, Blood Oath, David Nicholson and Ezra Brooks Kentucky Straight Bourbon.
Located in the heart of Bardstown, Kentucky, the 18,000-square foot Lux Row Distillers site includes a visitor centre, barrel warehouses, a tasting room, and event space, making for an all-encompassing bourbon experience. The 90-acre property is home to an 18th century stone house, registered as a National Historic Place, and a long, tree-lined driveway providing a scenic entrance to the distillery.