Smooth Ambler 14 Year Old Very Old Scout Bourbon 750ml

SKU #1110397

The Very Old Scout is likely to be the best mature Bourbon you'll taste this year. It might not be the best Bourbon of 2012, but unlike other limited edition items that sellout in seconds, you'll actually be able to get one. The days of seeing Pappy Van Winkle on the shelf are over. We get hundreds of requests every week for bottles we don't have and cannot get. Bourbon is the hottest ticket in town and sadly the mature stocks were gobbled up faster than producers could replenish them. We're stuck in a drought and there's no end in sight because it takes time to age new whiskey. That's where John Little comes in. His West Virginia distillery purchased the last mature stocks of Bourbon from LDI distillery some time back and he's been secretly crafting them into a special cuvee - 40% 14 year, 40% 15 year, 15% 17 year, and 5% 19 year, bottled at 100 proof for a bold and spicy flavor. The result is a knockout. The sweetness from the charred oak permeates deep into the whiskey, baking spices dance on the palate, cinnamon and burnt caramel come big on the finish. While there isn't much of this whiskey (about 3000 bottles total), we jumped on it fast and secured a fifth of it. If you know someone who loves Bourbon, you need to act now. We're not expecting more, not for the holidays, not for Xmas - nothing on the horizon. Again, this is the best deal we're going to see for Bourbon this year, or perhaps next year as well. A fantastic deal while it lasts. (David Driscoll, K&L)

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Price: $65.99

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By: Joe Manekin |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 8/31/2012  | Send Email
This is great bourbon. To be honest, I prefer it to Pappy 15. It is spicier and decidedly less sweet, but arguably better balanced and more complex, with delicious cinnamon and clove spiciness intermingling with the burnt sugar flavors. There is also the smooth texture, length and distinction you should find in a well aged bourbon. Delicious stuff to enjoy as a personal treat, impress your bourbon buddies, or gift to a bourbon lover.

By: David Driscoll |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 8/29/2012  | Send Email
I want to add some perspective on this whiskey, since our notes have a limited amount of space. For the last eight months, when customers have come in and asked "Do you anything special or old in a Bourbon?" my answer has been a simple "no." Really? Nothing at all? Nope. It's not like it used to be when Elijah Craig 18 was always about $40. When Pappy 15 and 20 were rare, but not impossible to find. When Black Maple Hill, Jefferson's, Hirsch and Willett consistently put out 16+ year old selections, and even things like George T. Stagg could be found here and there. When the great Bourbon renaissance began in late 2007, things began to change. Prices were so affordable compared to single malts that everyone went straight for the oldest number they could find. Of course, the oldest Bourbons take the longest to replace, so now in 2012, we're out of everything! Even everyday bottles like Elmer T. Lee and Eagle Rare are facing shortages, and the once ubiquitous Black Maple Hill is now a rare treat. When I tasted the Very Old Scout I was in shock. Here was a mature Bourbon made of mostly 14 and 15 year old stock that delivered the goods for a reasonable price, even in today's exploitative market. I was careful not to go overboard in my review, however, because with the current shortage people are weary of being sold old Bourbon, rather than good Bourbon. I don't want to go on record as saying the Very Old Scout is clearly the best Bourbon in the history of man. But with the very best mature Bourbons unavailable to 99.9% of the population, people are quickly tiring of the effort or premium price it takes to obtain them. Here is a Bourbon that stands toe to toe with some of the best we've ever offered, even when supplies were flush. In today's drought, it's an unbelievably rare gem. It's like the kid in the movie Children of Men, or dry land in Waterworld. I bought as much as we could find so that we could keep it on the shelf for a while, but in the end, we're still dealing with a limited, one-time-only Bourbon. Smooth Ambler could have charged $100 and people would have happily paid it. He could have bottled the 17 and 19 year whiskies on their own and cashed in. Instead he crafted something magical. Our 10 year old casks of Four Roses sell for $60. Black Maple 16 year goes for $130 if you can get it. Our last Willett 20 was $200! Ebay prices for these things are out of control. Yet, here is a reasonable price for a great whiskey that offers the extra richness from more time in the barrel. It's not that old Bourbon is inherently better, it's that it exhibits a special flavor that some people simply can't live without. I don't know when we'll see something like this again that we'll be able to offer all of our customers. Most things now are 6 bottles here, 2 bottles there, gone in seconds. If you love older, richer Bourbon, then the Smooth Ambler is the best you'll find this year.

By: Shaun Green |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 8/29/2012  | Send Email
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This is a perfect name for this Bourbon. Wonderfully smooth and creamy caramel with a richness highlighted with spices. No harsh edges and a long sweet finish, this is a wonderful smooth sipping Bourbon to get while you can.

By: Gary Westby |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 8/28/2012  | Send Email
Sipping Bourbon is getting to be a rare commodity, and this will likely be gone very quickly. The Smooth Ambler has a lot of complexity, and deserves your time in getting to know it. It reminds me of some of the Blanton's "dustys" that I have tried from old collections, with a spicy, dry high-rye flavor. Get it while you can!

 By: Nick Kiest |  Review Date: 8/31/2012 
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A wonderful pick, with a bright, spicy profile that is often missing in the older whiskies. The nose is peppery and sweet, with no hotness to speak of for its 50% strength. I could sit and nose this for quite a while.
I am not quite so good at the flavor descriptions as the pros at K&L, but I get pepper and phenols, with leather, toffee, mild tannins, and a sweet corn finish. While bringing in some of the aged notes that Pappy 15, Jefferson 18, Sazerac 18, or other older whiskies, it does not lose the bright corn and rye notes that make this taste like bourbon, and not another generic barrel aged spirit.
The rye element really comes through (a big plus in my book), with elements that remind me of the best elements of Sazerac 18 and a good younger LDI high-rye bourbon, such as Redemption.
For the price, a wonderful value. Price aside, still one of the best bourbons I have had.
If you like high-rye bourbon, get it!

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Bourbon

Country:

United States

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Alcohol Content (%): 50