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Maker’s Mark vs Rebel Yell: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Maker’s Mark vs Rebel Yell in this head to head comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Maker’s Mark

makers-mark
NoseCinnamon, clove, nutmeg, almond
PalateRye spice, caramel, dried fruit, nuts
FinishLong, caramel, rye spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toEvan Williams, Buffalo Trace

Maker’s Mark is one of the best-selling whiskeys in the United States.

Its popularity lies in its signature smoothness and affordable price making a great entry-level bourbon.

The nose has a nail polish note that fades into vanilla and cherry as you let it develop in the glass.

On the palate Maker’s Mark (Substitutes) delivers vanilla, caramel, cherry and honey providing a pleasant mouthfeel.

The finish has a moderate length, is sweet with very little warmth and just a dash of black pepper.

Adding a drop of water makes it taste like a Tootsie Pop, while tuning down the spicy note making it easier to sip.

This makes the Maker’s Mark a bit sweeter and smoother while providing a bready flavor.

Nothing stands-out but there are no off-putting notes as it is nicely balanced, yet with enough body.

It makes a good bottle to those new to bourbon or liquors in general or a nice “everyday whisky” for those looking for a non-challenging sipper.

There are few facts about Maker’s Mark worth knowing:

  • Maker’s Mark is made from 70% corn, 16% red wheat, and 14% malted barley. 
  • While most whiskeys age for a set amount of time, Maker’s is bottled when the tasters call it to be ready; that is between 6 and 7 years.
  • This one of the few whiskey brands in the United States that uses “whisky” instead of “whiskey” in its name due to the founders Scottish heritage.
  • Maker’s bottles stand out from the rest due to the red wax seal that is still made by hand nowadays.
  • Maker’s Mark is owned by Beam Suntory, a Japanese drinks giant who also holds Jim Beam, although they are crafted at different distilleries.

Rebel Yell

rebel-yell-bourbon
NoseRipe fruit, apple, pear
PalateVanilla, cinnamon, caramel, oak spice
FinishWarm, chocolate, almond, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toEzra Brooks, Larceny, Evan Williams

The nose is sweet and fruity, with a fresh apple hint and a touch of pear.

On the palate, Rebel Yell feels weak and watered-down. There are muted flavors of vanilla, cinnamon and caramel followed by oak spice providing a bitter note.

The finish is long and warm, it brings some nice notes of chocolate and almond but get lost in a heavy spicy note.

Ice releases caramel and vanilla while cutting the spice and the warmth making it better.

If you are curious about wheated bourbons you should look into Larceny, which is considered the “poor man’s Weller” as it offers some nice tasting notes at an attractive price.

Rebel Yell is not something I recommend. It drinks warmer that what you would expect from a release bottled at 80 proof, with very little body and some harsh tasting notes making it bad.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Rebel Yell:

  • Bottled without an age statement.
  • Mash bill is made from 68% corn, 20% wheat and 12% malted barley.
  • Rebel Yell has been a registered brand since 1936 although the recipe for the bourbon dates back to mid 19th century.
  • Crafted at the Heaven Hill Distillery along other whiskeys such as Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, Henry McKenna, Larceny, Pikesville, Rittenhouse Rye among others.

What do Maker’s Mark and Rebel Yell have in common?

Both the Maker’s Mark and Rebel Yell are wheated bourbons

Wheated bourbons are those that use wheat as secondary gran behind corn as opposed to rye. This type of bourbon is generally sweeter and smoother as rye adds a distinctive spicy and grassy note the the spirit.

Pappy Van Winkle and Weller are the most popular bourbons in this category, while Larceny is s solid option for those who are not willing to spend top-dollar.

Maker’s Mark vs Rebel Yell: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Maker’s Mark$32
Rebel Yell$20

Maker’s Mark vs Rebel Yell: Which is better?

Maker’s Mark is a smoother bourbon than Rebel Yell

WhiskeyMaker’s MarkRebel Yell
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Maker’s Mark is an easy sipping bourbon, with no off-putting notes, making it a good everyday whiskey. Not the best whiskey to make cocktails as it lacks punchy notes to make tasty mixes, though.
  • Rebel Yell is a budget wheated bourbon, with harsh tasting notes and lacking in body as it feels watered-down. Its price makes it a better candidate to make cocktails on the cheap, although there are better options such as the Evan Williams.

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