Smooth Ambler – Old Scout Rye 7yr (49.5%)

Old Scout RyeMy birthday is coming up. The other day my wife told me she knows what she wants to get me but is scared she’s going to get some “detail” wrong when she goes to buy it. She hinted that I know a lot more about what she wants to buy me than she does and that I’ve already done lots of research while looking for one myself… so I’m pretty sure she’s planning on getting me a therapist.

Speaking of uncontrollably crying and awkwardly voicing your feelings to a stranger, there’s no therapist quite like a bottle of rye. If this bottle were actually therapy, though, it wouldn’t be the kind where you pay some asshole $200/hr to listen to you badmouth your mother. It would be the hard kind. The kind where you suck it up, mow the lawn, dig a ditch in the backyard and then start to feel better because of all the hard work you just did. It’s not a thinking man’s rye; it’s a working man’s rye; a grittier, slightly industrial selection from MGP Ingredients’ 95% rye stocks.

Rye Therapy

Nose: A tiny bit of ether, like butane or plastic dispensers filled with Orange PEZ. A crumb of gingerbread opens up after a few sips. Pecan pie. New tobacco sheds, burnt caramel, prunes, and corn fritters all in a department store. Elmer’s glue, sweet hay and crisp, yellow lined-paper. Malty considering it’s only 5% malt. The rye spice is a little muted, but present.

Palate: Dry pepper and kerosene-brined black olives. Orange PEZ mildly throughout. Dried apricots cured in a cedar humidor with a burnt caramel dessicant. Cooling swells up as it finishes, coating the tongue with a peppery tingle. Afterward, it settles into a tiny bit of LDI pickle juice before resigning itself to chewed-up mint toothpicks. It’s fun to imagine that this is what George Dickel Rye would taste like unfiltered.

Rating: Try itWest Virginia is home to at least three other distilleries that make whisky. Thinking about it, I can’t believe there are so few, smack dab in the middle of Appalachia. The history, especially, makes it seem like one of the most obvious places to build and operate an American distillery. I hope Smooth Ambler sets a good example for the rest of their fellow distillers, and can help foster a stronger, more viable whisky culture there.

Thank you, John Foster of The Artful Drinker, for the bottle! Cheers!!!

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