Name: Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon
Bottled By: Smooth Ambler Spirits
Age: 7 Years
Our Rating: 88%
Notes: On the nose Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon has a nice cinnamon and anise scent. After letting it open up for a bit I was greeted with some nice aromas of fresh mint and oak. On the palate, I was greeted with a burst of rye with a fair amount of spice; there were some strong black pepper and wood flavors with some sweet hints of caramel, vanilla, and a very sweet maple syrup. The finish is long, spicy, and full of bold flavors of oak and fresh peppers that slowly fade away. I really enjoyed this bourbon. I thought the flavor profile was great. It is definitely spicy and bold but it is very smooth. I particularly enjoyed the finish and the fact that it seemed to linger for just the right amount of time before slowly fading away. I enjoyed this one neat, with a splash, and on the rocks. Adding a splash brought out some great flavors and allowed me to really get a sense of the rye. On the rocks it seemed to mellow out some of the spicy flavors which may be ideal for some, but I prefer the spicy taste with this bourbon. I personally enjoyed this best neat or with a splash; both ways seemed to provide me with the perfect amount of spice which I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a great bourbon and one that would be a fine addition to any shelf and with a price point of $30-$40 dollars, it is a great value.
History: Smooth Ambler was formed in 2009 and began distilling whiskey in early 2010. They started off like a lot of other craft distilleries and began making clear products (Vodka, Gin, and White Whiskey), while also laying whiskey back, primarily a wheated bourbon, as quickly as possible. In the second year of business, they were able to acquire some really good, properly matured barrels of whiskey, specifically, high-rye bourbon, low-rye bourbon, and a straight rye. That is the whiskey they have released as “Old Scout” and they merchant bottle it in as pure and authentic manner as possible. They are open and honest about their sourced whiskey and the fact that they do two things, hand make some whiskey and handpick some whiskey. I find this to be very respectable and like the fact that they are so forthcoming about this, even notating it on the bottle. I’ve spoken with John Foster from Smooth Ambler and you can tell he is proud of the product he has and he should be because in my opinion it is delicious bourbon.
Name: Knappogue Castle 12 Year Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Our Rating: 88%
Notes: On the nose Knappogue Castle 12 Year has pleasant fruit and spice notes. At first sip I could taste some fruit, pineapple and peaches, with a nice black pepper spice. There is a nice clean and crisp fruit flavor throughout with this whiskey. The black pepper is definitely noticeable but not overwhelming. I thought the finish was long, with a fair amount of spice, some fruit and almond flavors, and very smooth. There is no smoke flavor with this one but plenty of fresh fruit and spices. It is a pretty straight forward whiskey. There was a bit of a thin mouth feel with this whiskey which I didn’t experience with the 14 and 16 expressions. Knappogue Castle 12 Year is aged 12 years in American oak bourbon casks and uses pure Irish spring water, which I believe gives it such a crisp taste. Overall, this is a good whiskey and one I would recommend to a friend. As with their other expressions the price is right and can be picked up for $40-$45.
Name: Knappogue Castle 14 Year Review Twin Wood Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Bottled By: Knappogue Castle
Our Rating: 97%
Notes: On the nose this has a very fragrant aroma of fresh citrus fruits and smoke. The first sip bursts with flavors of grapefruit, peat, limes, apricots, cherries, and a light smoke flavor. You can taste the barley in this one and it adds a nice flavor to the whiskey. This whiskey has just the right amount of spice to it. The finish is long, sweet, and filled with fruit flavors of lemons, apricots, cherries, and a zesty citrus flavor that slowly fades away. The flavor profile of Knappogue Castle 14 year is complex and fruity. What I enjoyed about this whiskey, is the fact I could taste numerous different flavors, some of which seemed to come and go. For around $60 you cannot go wrong with trying this one. Knappogue Castle 14 Year is aged in two different types of barrels, bourbon and sherry casks. Like the 16 year I reviewed previously, I really enjoyed this whiskey. This is one that I would definitely recommend to a friend. It is priced right and has a great flavor profile. Knappogue Castle 14 Year should be enjoyed neat in my opinion.
Name: Wild Turkey 81
Bottled By: Austin Nichol’s
Our Rating: 85%
Notes: On the nose Wild Turkey 81 has a simple oak aroma with a slight corn scent. At first sip there is a nice pleasant wood and spice flavor, mostly cinnamon, and some flavors of vanilla and maple syrup. The finish is short with the same cinnamon, vanilla, and oak flavors and a slight burn. Wild Turkey 81 is straight forward and not complex in any way. I enjoyed Wild Turkey 81 but would reach for the 101 expression over this, especially for the difference in price. This would be a great whiskey to make cocktails with, sip on the rocks, or for someone who is just starting to develop a taste for bourbon.