I like the whiskeys being produced at the Smooth Ambler Distillery in Maxwelton, West Virginia. John Little, one of the founders, makes some great whiskey, but he also sources great whiskey. John is one of the nicest people you will meet in the industry. He believes in putting great whiskey in the bottle. He also has done a lot for the local economy by employing workers at the distillery, but also by bringing in Bourbon tourism dollars to the local economy. I am a firm supporter of Smooth Ambler for those reasons.
Old Scout is a sourced whiskey from Indiana. The name comes from the fact that they have “scouted out” sources of great whiskey to bottle. I like the fact that they are not only open about the fact that it is a sourced whiskey, but proudly state that fact on the bottle. I asked John when I saw him in North Carolina a few months ago, if he planned to put his own whiskey in Old Scout in the future. He did not rule out the possibility completely, but it is doing well as a sourced whiskey and he still has access to that whiskey, so there were no plans to do so in the near future. Good for him. It is a good whiskey that sells well. Why should he change? I am sure that they have other brands that use the whiskey they are making.
Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon
Proof: 99 proof
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: Lots of vanilla with a floral note of honeysuckle blossoms, ripe pears and oak.
Taste: Vanilla and poached pears with ginger spice and a little oak. When tasted with a dried cranberry, the pear comes forward with more caramel than vanilla and the spice becomes more of a white pepper. When tasted with a pecan, there is a strong caramel flavor with oak and spice, but the fruit notes are gone.
Finish: Medium long with oak and spice with a little vanilla sweetness in the background. The cranberry made the finish spicier with notes of black pepper and paprika. The pecan also added to the spice with ginger, black pepper and lots of oak.
I am pairing this Bourbon with an Oliva Serie V cigar. I find the smoke to have notes of vanilla and dried fruit with an earthy tobacco flavor. With the Bourbon, I find that there is more of a peppery spice to the smoke while keeping the other flavors as well. The smoke adds a creamy vanilla note to the taste of the Bourbon while bringing forward the peppery notes in the finish. It is a very good pairing.