There’s a brand spanking new bourbon on the shelves, Lounge Types! The folks from Lux Row Distillers have sensed that we’re getting a taste for bourbon over here, and they’re ready to slake our thirst. They’re not expecting you to settle for a standard, run-of-the-mill, straightforward Whiskey either, they’re bringing the innovation too!
The family-owned distiller from Bardstown, Kentucky – who produce various notable bourbons including Blood Oath, David Nicholson and Ezra Brooks – are bringing the Rebel Yell brand to the UK for the first time. And their head distiller and master blender, John Rempe, has selected a limited edition Rebel Yell bourbon finished in toasted oak wine barrels for 6 months (!) to showcase their wares.
John has been developing and blending spirits and beverages for over 20 years, mostly for Luxco – parent company of Lux Row Distillers – and is renowned for his innovative approach to blending and finishing bourbon.
Luckily, we managed to grab him for a quick word while he was here last month and quizzed him a little about the whiskey and his experience of making it…
Connas: Hi John, was there anything about the UK market that you felt suited Rebel Yell?
John: There’s a growing appreciation of bourbon here in the UK, with real interest in stories about how the whiskeys are made and a keenness among consumers to seek out new and unique flavours.
C: What were your expectations for Rebel Yell French Barrel Special Finish when developing it? And what were the main challenges around selecting Whiskey and Cask types?
J: I’ve been doing barrel finishes for a while now and have done some French oak in the past so I knew it pairs perfectly with the wheated bourbon mashbill of Rebel Yell. I expected a lot of the deep caramel and chocolate notes, but this one blew me away with how pointedly those notes came through from the barrel.
Finishing in the toasted oak wine barrel creates a real point of difference, giving the bourbon more depth and complexity in terms of its layers of flavour. Secondary finishing is bourbon’s equivalent to the year of vintage for single malt Scotches. It’s a great way to create something truly one-off.
C: Were your expectations met and what surprised you the most about executing the new expression?
J: Expectations were definitely met. The surprising thing was how great the composition of the barrel transferred perfectly to the whiskey – it surpassed expectations.
C: What are your hopes for Rebel Yell going forward? More innovation, developing a ‘House Style’ etc….?
J: Definitely more innovation is coming, but, unfortunately, I cannot divulge any details…I like to keep it secret!
Oooooh, cliff-hanger endings and everything!
Rebel Yell French Barrel Special Finish will be available in the UK, France and Italy, and will be distributed by our buddies from Cellar Trends in the UK. AND THERE ARE ONLY 6000 BOTTLES, so be quick!
Thanks for calling in again folks! And a huge thanks to John for taking the time to talk to us!
See you soon!