Smooth Ambler is a young distillery, only starting in 2009. Founded in West Virginia and inspired by the growing craft distillery scene, they’ve followed the now-common model of producing gin and vodka to support themselves until their bourbon stocks are old enough to sell.
They also have a range of older bourbons called ‘Old Scout’, which uses spirit sourced from other distillers – another traditional source of vital revenue in the early days of a new distillery.
Smooth Ambler Contradiction is a blend of wheat and rye bourbons. The wheat bourbon is from their own distillery, while the rye is from the same source as used for their Old Scout range.
The nose is unremarkable; a little dark caramel and some fresh cut wood. With water, the aromas open out a little; more oak, some vanilla and a rough alcohol hint.
In the mouth, it’s light despite it’s 50% ABV strength. Rich toffee sweetness, red cherry fruit and a nice touch of pepper in the finish.
Watered, it loses the richness – there’s still a nice sweet fruit character and a little pepperiness, but much of the complexity is gone.
Although the aromas are better, water spoils the taste – it’s an unremarkable 2 stars.
Many thanks to Master of Malt for providing their excellent Bourbon Advent Calendar this year.