Sunday, December 18, 2016

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 10 Year Single Barrel Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey

VITALS:
- $50
- 114 Proof
- 10 Years
- Barrel #3060

The other night I wanted nothing more than a sure-fire, good, solid bourbon, something I hadn't had before but knew was not going to disappoint me. And so, I reached for this 10 year Old Scout Single Barrel. I've had store pick single barrels in the past that have been incredible, so I knew that I was at least getting a very good bourbon, if not something great.

Perhaps I had some bias going into this one, but it certainly did not disappoint. In fact, I found myself working my way through this bottle relatively quickly. Whenever I found myself with a choice of pours for the evening, this was the clear cut winner.

The nose on this was delicious! It had the typical brown sugar and vanilla aromas, but what set it apart was a distinct cocoa butter smell to it that I just couldn't stop sniffing! My wife usually looks at me cockeyed when I just sit there smelling my drink over and over, but with some whiskeys they smell so good you can't help but take it in. Such was the case here.

The first sip was sweet vanilla up front, very ice cream-esque. However, it had a nice peppery bit on the back end, just seconds after it hit the tongue. On the finish, that peppery spice became more of a cinnamon spice, which hung around for a while, tickling the back of my throat.

Showing its age, it had some wood tones to it. However, it was just enough to notice it, and not enough to provide that bite that comes with higher-aged bourbons. This one is well within that sweet spot where the oak adds enough flavor without adding too much.

After having this open just for a few days, it sweetened up immensely. What was previously a nice ice cream intro parlaying into an inoffensive cinnamon spice was now simply a caramel bomb. The caramel was so prevalent it almost smacked me in the face. I was quite surprised at how the flavor profile seemed to change so much in so little time. The cinnamon remained on the back end, but mixed with the lingering caramel flavor gave it almost a spicy butteriness, if that even makes sense.

I liked this bottle to start, and just a few pours in I loved it! I hope against hope that with the recent purchase by Pernod Ricard things will nonetheless remain the same at West Virginia based Smooth Ambler, because they have always done an amazing job of sourcing excellent bourbon and bottling incredible tasting single barrels.

Grade: A-

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