Smooth Ambler Old Scout 8 Year Cask Strength Straight Rye Review
First the good news. Tonight I have the pleasure of reviewing something special - Smooth Ambler Old Scout 8 Year Cask Strength Straight Rye. Many thanks to Ryan at Signde Drinks for helping out a total stranger on the internets acquire a delicious rye that for whatever reason is not distributed in the state of SC.
The Smooth Ambler distillery is located in Greenbriar, West Virginia and is well known by Bourbon and Rye geeks. They are currently producing and aging their own Bourbon in addition to gin and vodka. The Bourbon is being released in very very small quantities as it comes of age as well as being incorporated into the Contradiction blend. In addition to producing their own distillate Smooth Ambler operates as an NDP (Non Distiller Producer). Both the Old Scout Bourbon and Rye lines are sourced from MGP in Indiana.
The Cask Strength Rye is distilled from the well known MGP mashbill of 95% Rye and 5% Barley. Smooth Ambler does not cut this rye with water nor do they chill filter. What I have in my glass is a rye turned up to 11.
Distillery: MGP Ingredients, Lawrenceburg, Indiana
Mashbill: MGP 95% Rye/ 5% Barley
Barrel #: 1125
Botte Date: 3-11-15
Pour: 1.5 oz neat in a Canadian Glencain
Nose: Bubble gum, cherry pie filling, cherry cola, dried cranberries, dill, menthol. Much fruitier on the nose than the 7 year 99 proof rye.
Palate: Warm, chewy, mega baking spices, more cherry cola, homemade cranberry sauce at thanksgiving,
Finish: Cherry twizzlers, big bad baking spices, slightly dry but not overpowering or distracting. The baking spices really linger. Slight astringency.
Simply put, Smooth Ambler knows how to pick good barrels. This juice is chewy, warm, funky, spicy and all around amazing. It's hard to not be biased but I have been chasing this rye ever since the 7 year 99 proof standard offering got its hooks in me. Their are many other ryes out there ranging from young to old and barley legal 51% to 100% rye mashbills with everything in between. The plan is to sample every last one of these but I keep coming back to the SAOS Rye like a fat kid magnetized to a giant plate full of chili cheese fries.
This is the 95/5 MGP mashbill at its best. Polished and shiny on the showroom floor with all the options, gleaming under the lights and begging to be taken home. In the famous words of Robert Plant, "I can't quit you baby."
Remember when I mentioned good news at the beginning of this review? Nobody ever starts a conversation that way unless they intend to drop a bomb. Well here's the bad news for all of you who weren't paying attention on June 10th - Smooth Ambler announced the temporary discontinuation of the Old Scout Rye line. Meaning the once year around available Old Scout Rye line will become a limited release in select distribution areas and the distillery gift shop. All good things must come to an end.
Wait - you thought I was going to leave you with that sad fucking idiom? Well there is one last nugget of good news - extra old scout rye. Yes, thats right - already delicious old scout aged even longer. At least they are stretching what they have left into special, older releases rather than just letting the last of the juice dry up. I am personally looking forward to older, cask strength rye from SA while we wait for a new supply. On that note I leave you with the official Smooth Ambler announcement from their facebook page. Goodnight.
- Mark @ Entry Proof