These days it is getting more and more difficult to figure out what to try when you are feeling a little adventurous in the Bourbon aisle. There is the temptation to go back to the brands and bottles you know and love. They call your name and you think of all the great times you’ve had together. Then you see something new. A work of art for a label; a bottle design that you assume costs more than the liquid inside. You want to try it but in the back of your mind you worry about the risk that the folks in marketing are more talented than the “master” distiller. We’ve all been sucked in by at least one. Paid too much for hype. The letdown sticks with you.
A bottle of Rebellion is pleasing to the eye. It is handsome with squared shoulders and simple lettering. The silhouette picture through the amber liquid shows 13 rebels waiting for a fight. The script below states,
When cheap spirits become common, rebellion becomes duty.
Rebellion is brought to us by Opici Wines, an importer of fine wines predominantly from Italy.
Let’s hear what the creators have to say:
Using traditional methods, Rebellion Bourbon is hand-crafted by Master Distillers to provide spirits enthusiasts with a smooth and versatile artisanal bourbon that can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks and that mixes well with a variety of cocktail ingredients. For bourbon lovers worldwide, Rebellion Bourbon represents superior quality for great value in a unique package whose stars will shine from the shelf.
Mash Bill: 70-72% Corn 20-23% Small Grains of Rye & Barley (Not sure why this doesn’t equal 100%)
Origin: Distilled and bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky – the bourbon capital of the world. Each limited production small batch is hand-labeled and numbered using significant dates that commemorate Opici’s history.
Distillation Process: Using a traditional copper still, Rebellion Bourbon is hand-crafted by a master distiller and aged for 6 years in oak.
Editor’s Note: This is clearly a sourced bourbon and Opici Wine then bottles and sells under their own label. Nothing technically wrong with the practice as so many other brands do the same thing. Just means you don’t know who made your bourbon and that it could be the same as another bottle sitting on the shelf at a different price point.
Rebellion Bourbon Review
Bourbon Name: Rebellion Bourbon
Age: 6 years
How I Drank It: Neat, in Riedel whiskey glass.
My Nose Noticed:* Vanilla | Cinnamon | Oak | Alcohol Burn
First Sip: Cherry | Vanilla | Cinnamon | Bitter Oak | Alcohol Forward
The Burn:** For a 94 Proof this Bourbon brings a strong alcohol burn. It fades into a smooth finish though. Oak the whole way and the cherry flavor is what you are left with.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: Definitely neat. I added water on a second tasting and it washed it out almost completely. I am not against Whiskey on the rocks and actually like my Bourbon slightly chilled so feel free to use an ice ball, just don’t let it melt all the way.
Share With: Somebody who typically prefers the heat of higher proof Bourbons. I wouldn’t offer it up to a Bourbon newbie. The bite might scare them.
Worth The Price: I paid $40 in MN. Though I didn’t dislike Rebellion, I feel like this should be a $25 bottle. Elijah Craig 12 and Basil Hayden 8 year are both older and cheaper. Unfortunately, that is the current state of the industry. Cool bottle, cool/catchy phrase, just OK bourbon. I keep buying bottles like this hoping to find a new brand that can be a serious contender to dislodge some of the old staples from my shelf but I’m consistently disappointed. This is a solid effort from a very good company. Opici Wines imports a number of excellent wines and I understand their desire to have a SKU in the red-hot Bourbon aisle, but you can add this bottle to the list of good but not great new Bourbons that is taking advantage of the boom.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: Have a glass at a bar and try for yourself. If you disagree, grab a bottle you rebel.
*I like to let my whiskey sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first. In this case thought, the whiskey really required more like 20 minutes to balance out.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?