Lux Row – Rebel Yell: Small Batch Reserve (American Bourbon Whiskey: 45.3% ABV)

Visual: Deep thick, darkened gold. Fast, thick streaks come from the spirit.

Nose: Pepper. Vanilla. Rye crackers. Heather. Moss. A menthol, minty edge – minty chewing gum. Water adds hot fudge cake.

Body: Smooth. Honey. Rye crackers. Peppery. Slight alcohol over time. Dry fudge. Water adds sweet fudge. Subtle orange crème. Raspberry yogurt hard chunks. Subtle white then red grapes.

Finish: Vanilla. Muesli. Peppery. Rye crackers. Water makes more peppery. Fudge. Light grapes.

Conclusion: You know, usually I find American whiskey, especially bourbon, doesn’t play to well with water. From experience drinking bourbon in the USA I see that ice is popular, but generally for me, water doesn’t do a whole lot.

This bourbon is the counter argument to that idea. Neat it is, well, a bourbon. Rye cracker notes and peppery character puts it on the spicier end of the spectrum, and the alcohol is smooth making it a well made bourbon, but generally it has that same vanilla sweetness base and nothing really stands out. I was actually fairly bored with it, and ready to give it a kicking in the notes, but I wasn’t 100% sure. There were hints. Just hints of something more. There was a strange minty menthol edge to aroma, slight dry fudge in the body. Hints, and not great by themselves but still hints.

Water takes those hints and makes them really come out. Sweet creamy fudge, red and white grape notes. In fact the red grape notes make for what I would swear was sherry ageing notes if for the fact that would not be allowed for a bourbon. It comes across as sweeter and richer notes under the smooth body. Now you have the spicier notes against rich sweetness, fresh notes against sweet grapes. Now I don’t want to emphasise the influence of these new elements too much here, they are but backing notes, but they are a great complement to what has come before.

Now there are still a few sticking points – the finish is a bit dry and a bit overly peppery, but generally this is a good bourbon. With water anyway – so yeah, use water, it is worth it. If you can live with a sub par finish the rest of this is pretty darn good.

Background: So, the “Rebel Yell” was a battle cry by confederate soldiers. Awkward. To not put a too subtle point on it, the confederacy were fucking pricks. It is also a song by Billy Idol which is a bit meh, but not the confederacy, so looks amazing in comparison. Apparently this bourbon was popularised a lot by Billy Idol and Keith Richards – I’ve not heard a lot about it, but it has been in the general background of a bunch of Bourbon discussion so I thought it would be nice to give it a try. This is a wheated bourbon, and was found at Independent Spirit. I went with Rise Against: Appeal To Reason for music while drinking. Not as good as Endgame as an album but definitely one of my preferred Rise Against albums.