Review: Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon 7 Years Old (2024)

Review: Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon 7 Years Old (2024)

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 Bourbon

Since they began procuring whiskey from other producers in 2011, Smooth Ambler hasn’t been shy about labeling the resulting products as sourced. Today, the distillery categorizes its offerings across three labels:

  • Old Scout, a brand for their sourced offerings
  • Founders’ Series, which denotes bottlings with 100 percent in-house distillate
  • Contradiction, with bottlings containing a blend of in-house and sourced whiskey

After a multi-year hiatus, the West Virginia-based operation has brought back Old Scout 7, an MGP-sourced bourbon with a seven year age statement. It’s made from a mashbill of 60 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and 4 percent malted barley, and the final product is bottled at 99 proof.

Let’s see how it tastes.

A fruit-forward nose leads with spiced apricot, red cherry, orange marmalade, and vanilla bean. That quickly transitions to rye spice, with an especially heavy clove component. The interplay between fruit and spice continues unabated with each return to the glass, and both components stay in friendly balance throughout.

The first sip leans heavy into citrus, with both burnt orange and lemon peel showing. Vanilla cream catches up quickly, with pops of bright yellow citrus punctuating the sweetness like a layered dessert. (Specifically lemon dump cake, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of such a country delicacy.) The midpalate features some rich floral and herbal components, with hints of mint leaves and lavender. Oak is present and accounted for, though at seven years of age, I almost yearned for more in the realm of leathery tannins to compliment the sweet.

Bready sweetness dominates the transition from palate through finish, with touches of rye spice continuing down the throat and on the upper palate.

In their marketing material, Smooth Ambler says the latest Old Scout 7 “makes a heck of a cocktail” in addition to being enjoyable neat. That’s probably true — but frankly, I think it’s actually underselling things a bit. Neat in a Glencairn would be my default for this bourbon.

For some whiskey nerds, Old Scout’s reputation is built largely on legendary, sourced single barrels with 10-plus year age statements. The newest iteration of their batched seven year bourbon probably won’t bowl over those picky aficionados; however, that doesn’t mean it’s anything less than a pleasing dram with more than enough complexity to enjoy neat time and again.

99 proof.

A- / $65 /

Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon 7 Years Old (2024)




David Tao is a writer for Drinkhacker.

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