Rebel Yell versus Kessler versus Scottish Spirits Three way Review Competition

by Ernie Ayres on March 25, 2013

Kessler versus Rebel Yell versus Scottish Spirits

For this week’s review, I thought it would be fun to do a three-way competition from the bottom shelf. Instead of looking at a $45 Bourbon or $75 Scotch, we would take a look at three affordable whiskeys. One bourbon, one Scotch and one American Blended Whiskey. The only rule when I went into the store to pick these up was that the cost has to be below $15 each. Technically, the canned Scotch was only $4.49…but it isn’t a full 750ml.

Normally I would try these whiskeys with ice or water as well as neat. Since I was reviewing three at a time, I thought it best to only taste them straight. And good thing too. Reviewing three whiskeys at once may not be the best idea when there’s still work to be done…

Let’s start with the Bourbon, Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, that I mentioned in my post a few weeks ago about different price brackets. I can pick this up locally for $12 to $15 for a 750ml and it runs at 80 proof. It has been my “daily drinker” for a while now.

The nose is pretty good. I get a caramel, sweet oak with a heavy alcohol bite and a touch of floral at the end. The palate is also quite good. A bit too much alcohol on the front end followed by a bit of spice with heavy oak and rounded up by a little sweetness. The finish is the best part in my opinion. It’s a long fade where the sweetness and a malt linger for quite a while. Overall, quite good.

Next up is the Kessler – American Blended Whiskey. Owned and produced by Jim Beam Inc., Kessler is the second best selling American blended whiskey. And with a tag line like “Smooth as Silk”, who could be blamed for picking up a 750ml bottle for around $13? This whiskey is also 80 proof.

The nose here is very faint. I actually had to swirl and sniff quite a bit to get any aroma whatsoever. After a little playing around I was able to pick out a little fruit, charred oak and very faint alcohol. The taste was smooth as promised. Again, fruit up front (Mrs. Whiskeynose said ‘cherries’), but I was getting more of an apple like flavor. That was followed by an oak and vanilla combo ending with a solid alcohol bite. The finish was very fast, probably because of the alcohol bite on the end of the palate. It did leave a slight woody hint behind which was nice.

On to the Scotch. In a can. For a 12 oz. can of Scottish Spirits Single Grain Scotch Whisky you’ll end up paying between $4 and $6 and just like the other whiskeys on this list, it’s 80 proof. I was extremely skeptical about this scotch. Single grain does not mean single malt. But it has a rubber lid for the can to keep it fresh between pours! What could possibly go wrong?!

The nose is a heavy grain with a floral, sweet caramel and allspice mixture that was surprisingly pleasant. However, it smells more like vodka than whiskey. Almost too clean. The taste was even more vodka like. Heavy alcohol up front followed by a big malt flavor. Sweep caramel wrapped up with allspice completed the palate. The finish took its time and left a nice sweet, woody taste. It was better than I thought it would be, but that’s not saying a lot since I thought this would be awful.


Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey wins the competition with an 8 out of 10 Noses!

Kessler American Blended Whiskey came in at a decent 7.3 out of 10 Noses.

Scottish Spirits Single Grain Scotch Whisky trailed behind with a surprising 6.2 Noses.

I’m going to stick with Rebel Yell Bourbon as my drink of choice for now. I am very interested in trying Scottish Spirits Single Grain Scotch Whisky in the full bottle to see if the can has anything to do with the flavor. When I do, I will be sure to update this review.

Have you had any of these Whiskeys? What was your impression? Leave a comment below, or comment on our Facebook page.

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