Not many people know this about me, but I was born in West Virginia. I only lived there for the first three years of my life, but I did get to visit the great state for a week when I was 16. I have to say that it is one of the most picturesque states I’ve ever visited. Fresh mountain air, pure clean water and an independent spirit in its people. What does this have to do with Smooth Ambler Spirits? Well, we were both born in the only state formed east of the Mississippi during the American Civil War. There’s a lot of history there, and certainly a lot of distillation going on over the past few hundred years.
Smooth Ambler is a very new face on the spirits scene, but one that bears watching, as their products really shine. Read on to find out more….
Smooth Ambler WhiteWater Vodka (80 proof)
Visual: Diamond clear.
Nose: Light sweetness with a freshly peeled banana scent.
Taste: Very pleasant with a tropical banana overtone. There is some green pepper going on, as well as rock candy. This has more body than most vodkas, and will add a lot of character to any cocktail. I like the fact that it hasn’t been over-distilled to the point of blandness.
Finish: Sugary with more of those banana notes that I found in the nose. As the finish goes on, a lot of mineral comes out with a light saltiness.
GSN Rating: A-
Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin (80 proof)
Visual: Crystal clear.
Nose: Juniper and oddly enough, dill intermingle with a sweet and light spice.
Taste: Much sweeter and less dry than a traditional London style. More akin to a flavored vodka. The distillation is fine, but I feel the herbal infusion lacks depth. This would work well in a fruit juice heavy cocktail, but wouldn’t make for a martini or clear gin based drink. There’s almost a creamy dry vermouth quality to it which is unusual.
Finish: Fairly short, but clean and less botanical than most gins.
GSN Rating: B
Smooth Ambler Exceptional White Whiskey (100 proof)
Visual: Absolutely clear.
Nose: Yeasty funk, notes of fennel, oak wood, oatmeal and band-aid.
Taste: A bit of heat, but very smooth with a woody bitterness that pushes a lot of high notes. Loads of body. A fine sipping white dog with a down to earth elegance.
Finish: Relatively short, but with an almost brulee-like finish that is satisfying and classy. Great job of distillation here.
GSN Rating: A
Smooth Amber Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey (99 proof)
Visual: Burnished bronze.
Nose: Spicy with a dry and balanced nose with elements of caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch.
Taste: A great bourbon with a lot of spicy character similar to a rye. Very well balanced and amazingly smooth for a high proof 5 year old. Lots of sugar maple, small notes of caramel, light roasted coffee, cinnamon bun, and toast. Hey, this would make a great breakfast in a glass!
Finish: Long and sweet with none of the bitterness that comes with a young or over-aged bourbon. One of the best new bourbons I’ve had in recent years. I predict great things will come from Smooth Rambler.
GSN Rating: A+
For more information go to: Smooth Ambler