Whiskey Review: Remus Repeal Reserve VI Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Luxco. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Do you ever look at a bottle of whiskey and wonder who the name on the bottle was? Well, do I have a story for you. I am looking at Remus Repeal Reserve VI named after the infamous George Remus. We will get to the history behind Remus a bit later. This whiskey is distilled at Ross and Squibb distillery, one of MGPs distilleries, located in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. It is an annual release from Luxco (owned by MGP) that uses select barrels from MGPs warehouses.

Remus Repeal Reserve VI Straight Bourbon Whiskey’s 2022 Medley is made of bourbons from five different batches distilled in 2008, 2012, and 2014. It uses two high-rye mash bills that they only provide the rye content of; one at 36% rye and the other at 21% rye. While there are many labels selling whiskey from this distillery there are only this and Rossville Union Straight Rye Whiskey that are actually being sold by the distillers. This gives them first pick of the barrels and a little edge in knowing the sweet spots for aging in their warehouse. 

Luxco was founded in 1958 and merged with MGP in 2021. Luxco handles brand management for MGP with brands from four distilleries. MGP got started back in 1941 and does large scale distilling and grain manufacturing. There is a good chance if a bourbon or rye says it is produced by, instead of distilled by, they are sourcing their whiskey from MGP. Though a bit outdated (it appears to be from 2016), Great Taste Magazine has a list that provides a good idea just how many brands use MGP. 

So now that you know a bit about the whiskey and the distillers, let’s get into the name on the bottle. George Remus, also known as the King of the Bootleggers, was a criminal defense attorney that established what is now known as the “temporary insanity” defense. He specialized in getting people off for murder. As prohibition started Remus saw the criminals he defended making a good amount of money in bootlegging. Remus, being familiar with the law, read through the entire Volstead Act and decided to operate off the loophole that allowed sale of bonded liquor for medicinal purposes. He moved to Cincinnati where he would purchase a tremendous amount of the country’s bonded liquor. His operation soon had an estimated 3,000 working for him. 

George Remus is often seen as the direct inspiration for The Great Gatsby. He threw lavish parties inviting the most prestigious of families. He spared no expense having multiple parties where he gave his guests cars just for coming. In 1927, Imogen Holmes, his wife, filed for divorce. On the way to the courthouse, Remus had his driver chase her taxi until driving it off the road. He then got out to shoot and kill his wife. His trial took months but he pleaded temporary insanity and was acquitted after the jury deliberated for just 19 minutes. So how is the whiskey that proudly flaunts this name?

Remus Repeal Reserve VI Straight Bourbon review

Remus Repeal Reserve VI Straight Bourbon Whiskey (image via Ian Arnold/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Remus Repeal Reserve VI Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Vital Stats: 50% ABV. This is composed of five bourbons: 2% 2008 bourbon (21% Rye), 17% 2012 bourbon (36% Rye), 27% 2012 bourbon (21% Rye), 29% 2014 bourbon (21% Rye) and 25% 2014 bourbon (36% Rye). SRP is $99.99 per 750ml bottle.

Appearance: This is a light amber in the glass with some golden highlights. Forms small beads on the side of the glass that form long thick legs.

Nose: The nose is delightful and makes me think of a spiced butterscotch. I get heavy brown sugar with nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. This is followed by some lesser notes of fig jam and vanilla.

Palate: On the front is a general toffee sweetness with a hint of honeyed fruit, it is surprisingly light for how rich the nose is. This transitions to a robust finish filled with spice and brown sugar. The finish dries out to a leathery note that lingers on the tongue for quite some time inviting you to drink again for that initial sweetness. For 50% ABV I can feel the alcohol, but it never becomes abrasive, it  just leaves me with an intense warming sensation. The addition of water brings out more of the toffee flavors with almost a nutty quality and the baking spice gives way to an intense black pepper.

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