Monday, November 9, 2020

Smooth Ambler Old Scout Single Barrel Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey


- $55
- 114.4 Proof
- 4 Years
- Barrel No. 16745
- Indiana

I remember when I first started to really get into the bourbon hunt. That was around the time that well-aged bottle of Old Scout could still be found, but the Old Scout Ryes were seemingly disappearing from the market. One day on a trip to Mariano's, though, I was able to find a number of bottles of 7-Year Old Scout Rye on the shelf, and so I picked one up. I should have grabbed more, though, because I never saw it again since, and it truly was delicious.

So, when Smooth Ambler announced the new release of Old Scout Rye, even despite that it would be bottled at 4 and 5 years old, I was excited. It's young MGP product, but it's bottled as a single barrel product and at cask strength. And for the price of $55, it is very reasonable. I haven't seen a whole lot of fanfare around it, but I was excited when I was able to grab one off the shelf, and based on my experience with this particular bottle, I'm going to need to grab more!

The nose was full of delicious soft caramel and milk chocolate. It reminded me of a Caramello candy bar, and was so good!! It also had hints of the rye spice as well, with notes of wood and cinnamon. It even had a bit of a grainy note, giving that earthy rye bread flavor to balance it out. Interestingly, it did not immediately come across like the 95% rye mashbill that I'm used to from MGP. This seemed sweeter, like a lower rye-content rye.

The flavor followed suit. I got a lot of the caramel that I got on the nose, but I also got a sweet flavor that I likened to cream soda. Much like the nose, the flavor did not come across as a traditional rye, at least not a high-rye mashbill.  However, what it lacked in spice it more than made up for in flavor.

I got sweet notes of butterscotch candy, which seemed to work really well with the viscous mouthfeel of this whiskey. I also got marshmallow, which all combined to give sort of a note of rice crispy treats, but ones made with corn flakes instead.  It was kind of like those green wreaths with the cinnamon red hots that some people make at Christmas time.

It had a bit of that milk chocolate flavor from the nose, and even some cake frosting notes. Even the earthy notes were on the sweeter side, as I got a nutty note that reminded me of cashews. However, while the front end was all sweet, the finish was all spice. That's where the cinnamon notes came in, hitting the mouth after each swallow with a nice, spicy cinnamon red hots type note. It was almost like the spice was just waiting in the weeds to pounce. It's that great, spicy finish that had me diving right back into each next sip.

Ultimately, while it didn't have the age of those earlier releases, this was still released as a single barrel and at cask strength--two things going for it that my earlier experience with Old Scout Rye didn't have. Regardless of age, though, I absolutely loved this!! The balance of sweet and spice was perfect, and the flavors were incredible. Given that it's single barrel, and assuming they will keep putting this product out (I'm not sure whether it's intended to be limited or not), I'm going to be picking these up with some regularity.

Grade: A

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