Maker: Smooth Ambler, Maxwelton, West Virginia, USA
Distiller: MGPI, Lawrenceburg, Indiana, USA
Bottled: 5/2/2013 by Nikki.
Age: 10 y/o
Proof: 100 (50% ABV)
Price: $55 Michigan State Minimum (this bottle purchased in Kentucky for $50)
Appearance: Dark copper with thin, evenly spaced legs.
Nose: Almond extract, leather, alcohol, dried flowers. More leathery and herbal with water.
On the palate: Full bodied, sweet and rich. Caramel, burn, amaretto candy, cocoa powder. With water more sweetness and some lavender and tarragon.
Finish: Hot. Red pepper flakes, with a touch of oak and caramel as it fades. Less hot with water and sweeter with a touch of basil or tarragon.
Parting words: Smooth Ambler is a breath of fresh air when it comes to micro-distillers/bottlers. Unlike the smoke and mirrors that usually goes with sourced whiskey in this country, Smooth Ambler has always been very up front about the origins of their whiskeys. Their bourbons and ryes are even called “Old Scout” as a nod to the fact that they are indeed sourced, or scouted, from elsewhere. This may not seem like a lot, but even the best known NDPs (Non-Distiller Producers) are usually less than candid about their products.
At any rate, lest that sound like faint praise, their whiskey is damn good too. I’ve reviewed MGPI bourbon before with mixed results. This one is an unqualified success. It shows excellent balance and works well as a rich, creamy after-dinner, cold-weather sipper. The family resemblance to Four Roses is in evidence. Old Scout has a certain aromatic quality (yeast-driven if I were to guess) that I get in Four Roses but no other Kentucky bourbon.
This bottle proves to me once and for all that MGPI can indeed produce high quality bourbon. At $50-$55 it’s not cheap but it’s 100 proof and very tasty. That earns Old Scout Ten a recommendation.
4 thoughts on “Old Scout Ten”
Hi Josh. Your comments about the resemblance to Four Roses products, along with the mention of your opinion that the aromatics seem to be yeast-driven confuses me a little. …Because later (& earlier) in the review you seem to say that this is a product derived from Indiana stock. If it is MGPI output, how come the 4-R reference? As a comparison? …Just wonderin’…
Both were former Seagram’s plants so they very likely could be using the same or very similar yeasts.
My bottle from WV was $44 before tax this past summer. I thought the finish was hot, too. But, after being open a few months now, it has mellowed and is much sweeter. Mine is batch 4, bottled in June 2013.
My experience was similar, Chuck. It definitely mellowed with air, although the finish still seemed hot even near the end of the bottle. But not necessarily in a bad way.