Tommyrotter Triple Barrel American Whiskey

Maker: Tommyrotter Distillery, Buffalo, New York, USA20190222_200053.jpg

Distilleries: Undisclosed distilleries in Indiana and Tennessee (hmm, which ones could they be?)

Style: Wine-barrel finished American whiskey. A mix of two Indiana bourbons and one Tennessee whiskey aged in new and used oak barrels and then the wine barrel, hence Triple Barrel.

Age: NAS

Proof: 90 (45% ABV)

Notes: No coloring or chill filtration added. Sample provided by Tommyrotter Distillery.

Price: $35 (Premier Group).

Appearance: Bright copper.

Nose: Complex. Young toasted oak, tarragon, bubblegum.

Palate: Medium and fruity. Mixed berry jam, French oak, burn.

Finish: Sweet. Corn syrup, raspberry, cocoa powder.

Parting words: Tommyrotter was founded in 2015 by Bobby Finan and Sean Insalaco in Buffalo New York. They currently produce three regular products, vodka, gin, and this Triple Barrel Whiskey plus a line of limited releases (including a bourbon barrel gin to be reviewed in the near future).

Triple Barrel Whiskey is composed of three whiskeys. Two Indiana bourbons (one high-corn, one high-wheat) and one Tennessee whiskey. The high-corn is around 18 months old, the wheater is about 5 years old and the Tennessee 7 y/o. The bourbons are aged in new charred white oak, and the Tennessee Whiskey is aged in used charred oak barrels. They are mixed together and then finished in French red wine barrels. As Bobby Finan told me, Triple Barrel doesn’t count as a blend of straight whiskeys because of the youth of the high-corn bourbon. That could change in the future though.

The result is a delicious, easy-drinking whiskey. It’s young, but the rough edges are smoothed out by judicious use of cooperage. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough in the sample to do any mixing, but I suspect Triple Barrel would do very well in Manhattans and Old Fashioneds. I’m very glad Bobby reached out to me. Triple Barrel is recommended.

 

 

 

Rebel Yell American Whiskey

Maker: Luxco, St. Louis, Missouri, USAwpid-2015-07-03-21.02.47.jpg.jpeg

Distillers (probable): Heaven Hill, Bardstown/Louisville, Kentucky & MGPI, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA

Style: Blend of straight bourbon and straight rye

Age: 2 y/o

Proof: 90 (45% ABV)

Michigan State Minimum: $25

Appearance: Light orange.

Nose: Alcohol, caramel, asparagus, orange zest.

Palate: Light bodied and hot. Caramel, cotton candy, alcohol,

Finish: Menthol, alcohol, cotton candy again. Lingers for a while.

Mixed: Rebel Yell American Whiskey mixes very well across the board. Makes for an excellent boulevardier and Manhattan. Old Fashioned is not quite as good but still decent. Does ok with club soda or on the rocks too.

Parting words: While I would say that my least favorite bottom shelf bourbon is Benchmark, many people would give that dubious honor to Rebel Yell. Once upon a time it was a mid-lower shelf offering from the Stizel-Weller distillery, more famous for the Old Fitzgerald and Weller brands of wheated bourbon (that is, bourbon made with corn, malted barley and wheat rather than corn, malted barley and rye). When Diageo was formed, they sold off all of the old S-W brands except for Rebel Yell, which they intended to make their worldwide flagship bourbon. That didn’t work out so they sold the brand to Luxco, one of the biggest non-distiller producers of bourbon.

Luxco already owned the Ezra Brooks line of rye recipe bourbons but no wheaters so it was a good fit for their portfolio. They released the slightly older Rebel Reserve (no longer made but still languishing on shelves) a few years ago and in 2015 expanded the line again and redesigned the bottle (now Confederate soldier free!). The new products are Small Batch Reserve, Honey and Cherry flavored bourbons, this product and a rye for some reason.

I was pleasantly surprised by this. The high-rye rye balances the caramel and vegetable notes in the bourbon and brings a light citrus flavor to the party. It lacks complexity and depth, but one could do a lot worse for $25. For mixing and casual sipping, Rebel Yell American Whiskey is recommended.