Being a sucker for store selects I picked up with bottle of Old Scout recently. Smooth Ambler is a neat distillery from nearby West Virginia and their whiskies are generally bold, and fun. Try some Contradiction sometime if you can find it. Old Scout 7years is my favorite expression of theirs, which unfortunately I don’t see at all anymore.
This version of Old Scout is a whiskey instead of a bourbon due to some of the whiskey being aged in new oak barrels and in “rejuvenated re-charred bourbon casks.” Here is a nice primer on rejuvenation of bourbon casks.
The whiskies were distilled in Indiana and Tennessee and if I had to guess I’d say that the Tennessee whiskey is sourced from George Dickel but that’d just be a guess.
Smooth Ambler: Old Scout Total Wine and More
Barrel #9933 ; 53.5%
Color: Burnished Gold
Nose: Strong vanilla and sugar on the top followed by molasses, oak, leather, nutty, and smoke.
Taste: Oak, char, herbs (sagey), leather. Very earthy but not very complex. Feels a bit one note. Underlying this are the hints of vitamin that remind me of various George Dickels expressions that I’ve tasted over the years but it’s light.
Finish: Light and airy at the top with a nice little kick at the end. Drinks substantially easier than you might suspect for a 107 proof whiskey and feels closer to a 90 proof whiskey.
Old Scout set a pretty high bar that this expression doesn’t live up to. It’s a serviceable whiskey and at $39 it wasn’t a huge investment. Like I mentioned above it feels a bit thin and simple but I think it’d go well paired with a cigar. Not my favorite whiskey but it’s drinkable. At this price point, off the top of my head, there are about 7 bourbons that are a better bang for your buck. Evan Williams SB, Elijah Craig, Henry McKenna, Elmer T. Lee, Four Roses SmB, Buffalo Trace, 1792, and Eagle Rare–which makes it an even 8.