Though alcohol flows in celebration throughout the year, legitimate alcohol holidays are few and far between. That’s why we celebrate Repeal Day on December 5: the end of one of the worst social experiments of the 20th Century.
So how do you celebrate the downfall of Prohibition? With good bourbon named after a bootlegger, of course.
Indiana distillery MGP has planned for months to make sure they have the bottle for you: George Remus Repeal Reserve. It’s a blend of two rye-bourbon mashbills—barrels all distilled between 2005 and 2006.
Remus is the house brand of the infamous MGP, which, depending on your favorite Reddit board, is either the source of all soulless corporate evil in whiskey today or a 170-year-old, large-scale distilling operation that sells quality products to third parties around the country.
Personally, I go by my tastebuds, and MGP has been responsible for countless delicious whiskeys in my time writing about booze. The fact that MGP is bottling its own products these days isn’t surprising. And in terms of branding, they nailed it. George Remus was an infamous bootlegger, allegedly the inspiration for Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby. MGP must really feel like they’re always looking in from the outside of the bourbon world.
When we had previously tried George Remus Straight Bourbon, which debuted earlier this year, we weren’t blown away. Like many newer whiskeys to the market, it was young but vibrant, showing some signs of age with aromas of vanilla and plenty of rye spice. At $45, it’s ever-so-slightly ahead of the pack of new brands.
Repeal Reserve is a comparable blockbuster.
Its notes of vanilla have more texture, like cake icing, and the sweetness has deeper notes of baking spices and burnt sugar. The extra time in oak gives it more tannins, which balance out the sweetness really nicely.
The finish is really where that rye content (between 21 and 36 percent) comes out: bold, spicy, and well rounded. It’s the kind of fun, delicious bourbon that doesn’t take a history lesson or a 100-dram course of study to just enjoy.
It’s also a value bottle, especially in comparison with its younger straight bourbon brother. Repeal Reserve is bottled at 94 proof, out now, and retails for $75. That’s a lot less than you would necessarily pay for some other 10-year-old whiskey, and we can safely say this is a tasty, drinkable bottle at the right price.