This bottle of Rye Whiskey joined the whiskey collection of the 12 Bar Blues Bar in late December 2015. It was gift I received at a job interview. This was my introduction into the world of Craft Distilling. This is my favorite Rye Whiskey and in the interest of full discloser Smooth Ambler is a customer of ours. They are located in West Virginia and I am not sure how wide their distribution is but here is Smooth Amblers web site for more information.
It is called Old Scout because it was not distilled by Smooth Ambler. Instead they collected barrels of of rye whiskey from other distilleries and blended to create a fine example of rye whiskey called Old Scout. This is a common practice among distillers and something a young distillery would need to do if they wanted to sell a very good whiskey without waiting years for their own stock to mature. Buying and blending whiskeys is an art just as important as distilling.
The bottle I am tasting today is aged for seven years and is from batch 14 bottled on May 28th 2013. It is 99 proof or 49.5 ABV. The bottle is a nice clear shoulder bottle with a cork stopper. The colors on the label are purple and gold just like my high school colors. Maybe this is why I love this whiskey.
The spirit is a deep amber color like honey with a nice viscus cling to the glass indicating a good body. The alcohol does hit the nose along with a nice spice as you would expect from a rye whiskey. The spice smells somewhere between clove and allspice with hints of caramel and vanilla. The taste lives up to the aroma. The front and back are smooth with a little bite in the middle. Of course this describes where in the mouth the burn happens. The front being the tip of the tongue then the middle and back of the mouth. Do not be afraid to drink this whiskey neat. With ice the sweetness and oak from the barrels starts to come through more. It is a very hard to put down this rye whiskey.
This whiskey is great to sip neat or with a couple of ice cubes. Today I will use it to make a Manhattan.
- 2 oz Old Scout Rye
- 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
- 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 1 maraschino cherry
Mix whiskey, vermouth, and bitters with ice until chilled then strain into a martini glass. Add a cherry and enjoy.
FYI this made the best Manhattan I have ever had. Using good spirits make all the difference.