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  1. #21
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    So, it's entirely possible that I've tried more Old Scout and Very Old Scout products than anyone not named John Little. For those who aren't completely aware, to this point every drop of Old Scout and Very Old Scout has been distilled at DSP-IN-1, LDI/MGPI. There are three recipes spread across the different releases. They break down like this:

    75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley - Old Scout Ten, Very Old Scout 11-14-19, any private barrel selection you see that is 10 years or older.
    60% corn, 36% rye, 4% malted barley - Old Scout 5-8 year old, Old Scout Single Barrel Cask Strength
    95% rye, 5% malted barley - Old Scout Rye, Old Scout Rye Single Barrel Cask Strength

    Standard batches are usually made with 5 barrels. If I had to describe it to someone completely uninitiated, I would probably say that it's somewhere in between Four Roses SB and WT 101, but it's still its own animal. And the 7 year now obviously tastes a good bit different than the 5 year did when it debuted. As I understand it the MGPI bulk program is done (at least for now) and the stock that Smooth Ambler has on hand is what it is. The product will continue to progress in age statements as the stocks mature.

    As alluded to earlier, I did conduct a private barrel selection over the holidays for my group, the Appalachian Whiskey Society. We were able to select a barrel that falls outside of the guidelines above, a 7 year old expression of the 75/21/4 recipe. It came out just below my "sweet-spot" proof of 114, at 112.8. It is deliciously drinkable straight from the bottle (or use a glass if you're like that ) and is full of stewed red fruits and warming cinnamon. The nose hit me with candy apples fresh from a carnival stand. During the selection it really was love at first sight, and while we weighed the virtues of many different barrels, I knew long before we finished what I wanted.



    I am not the only member involved in selecting Old Scout barrels though, so hopefully someone else will chime in with some of their experiences. I will have a few bottles of this with me to share at the Gazebo this year.

    Other excellent private selections are the Single Barrel 92 (from Wisconsin? Somebody bring me one in April!) the Kenwood Liquors 8 year (seriously delicious. Have one open now), and the TPS 10 year barrel 362 and 363. John sent me home from our selection with a box full of samples, so I've tasted nearly 20 different single barrels from their stocks, and the bottom line is that they were all good. I wouldn't necessarily want to put my name on all of them, but purchasing an Old Scout product is a comfortable bet for me knowing the average quality of their stock.

    Here are the open bottles I have at the moment:



    And here's the whole family:



    I included Faultline on the side because it is also a member of the Old Scout family. It is a special blend created exclusively for K&L in California. It is made from both the 60% and 75% recipes at 7 and 10 years respectively. I would put it beside the 14 and 19 VOS and select private barrels as the best product Smooth Ambler has bottled. Anyone with access to a bottle should try obtain one. They run around $40 and it's just absolutely drinkable. Wonderful stuff.

  2. #22
    Guru
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    Dec 2012
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    Houston
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    I enjoyed the samples you sent me and I still want an AWS glass dammit!
    I've never tried GTS with any sort of soda. Maybe I'm missing out; but I'm OK with that.

  3. #23
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    Quote Originally Posted by smknjoe View Post
    I enjoyed the samples you sent me and I still want an AWS glass dammit!
    I didn't forget! It's the new limited edition 2014 MCHM finished water getting the best of me

    PM coming soon.

  4. #24
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    Aug 2013
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    Commonwealth of Bourbon
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    Well done again Josh and thank you! Based on your recent tour and reviews, I'm definitely going to get on the bus.

  5. #25
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti View Post

    As I understand it the MGPI bulk program is done (at least for now) and the stock that Smooth Ambler has on hand is what it is. The product will continue to progress in age statements as the stocks mature.
    Josh, I may have missed in earlier discussion...but have they been aging the sourced product on site since they opened? If they are I could see how climate would result in a different spin on the MGPI product that has popped up elsewhere.

  6. #26
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    Quote Originally Posted by theglobalguy View Post
    Josh, I may have missed in earlier discussion...but have they been aging the sourced product on site since they opened? If they are I could see how climate would result in a different spin on the MGPI product that has popped up elsewhere.
    They have stock on site in Maxwelton, but they have much, much more in Indiana. The first few years the spirit got a substantial "finishing" in WV, but their sales growth means the barrels will be spending less time in the on-deck circle. Their growth is ridiculous, especially overseas. I think they did as much business in November, 2013 as they did in all of 2010. And it gets bigger every month.

    Doesn't relate to the Old Scout line directly, but those keeping an eye on the Smooth Ambler distilled products should know that they're moving from a Mon-Fri single shift schedule to 24/7 distillation soon. It's still distant, but they should have plenty of product at the end of the decade

  7. #27
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti View Post
    Doesn't relate to the Old Scout line directly, but those keeping an eye on the Smooth Ambler distilled products should know that they're moving from a Mon-Fri single shift schedule to 24/7 distillation soon.
    Now that is a leap of faith from an owner. Not a trivial thing from both overhead cost as well as Quality Control. One thing to have 1 or 2 people be highly consistent and another to replicate those efforts.

    I enjoy the product they're putting out. Have had a few bottles of the Rye and have some 11yr VOS I need to crack open soon.

    I have no idea how any of these entrepreneurs sleep at night. Best efforts, blood, sweat and tears and it all comes down to something that eventually comes out of the barrel many years down the road. Could taste like the tears of a unicorn, or more like canned unicorn meat.

  8. #28
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    May 2008
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    Chicagoland, Illinois
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    Quote Originally Posted by Yeti View Post
    Other excellent private selections...the Kenwood Liquors 8 year (seriously delicious. Have one open now)
    Me too on the now and yes it is. As were some of your KBF gazebo table stalwarts, which for some odd reason, just a bit hazier in my mind .
    Thad

    BTOTY-2011

  9. #29
    Advanced Taster
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    Jun 2013
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    San Diego, CA
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    117

    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    A year ago, a retailer had OS10 for $55 a bottle, but wasn't moving enough of them, so he closed them out at $40. That's when curiosity got the better of me, and I pulled the trigger and purchased a bottle. I'm glad I took the chance, because the OS10 was just bursting with bright, bold flavors. Prior to drinking this bourbon, I was skeptical of SA products, just because of all the mixed reviews about LDI/MGPI bourbon. Next time I won't be so hesitant to pick up another one of their products.

  10. #30
    Connoisseur
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    Apr 2011
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    Toledo, OH
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    Re: BOTM 2/14: Smooth Ambler Old Scout

    Quote Originally Posted by Conquistador View Post
    A year ago, a retailer had OS10 for $55 a bottle, but wasn't moving enough of them, so he closed them out....
    Somebody is buying SA OS. I stopped to get another bottle last night and the shelf was empty.
    If God made anything better than bourbon he must have kept it for Hisself.

 

 

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