Oak Point- Smooth Ambler American Whiskey 107
A Comedy of Errors is the name of the new Smooth Ambler American Whiskey barrel pick that Oak Point Fresh Market picked up. Let’s first address the name, Comedy of Errors. I don’t think I can write up an explanation better than the source himself, so here’s Clint’s (the liquor manager of the Central location of OP) words:
“Smooth Ambler lost our original pick. In an effort to make that up to us they sent us 10 (2 different batches) more barrel samples, one of those was this finished whiskey. This was all going down around the same time as the infamous no-call during the Saints playoff run. And while we waited for our barrel, the cluster that was LSU’s handling is the Will Wade fiasco took center stage. All three situations left us scratching our heads. Laughing at the absurdity of it all. Well, the barrel situation worked out in our favor...who knows the outcome of the others. It’s all been a “Comedy of Errors” The TL;DR version: This is a perfect whiskey to drink when whatever could go wrong does. When ya gotta laugh to keep come crying...grab this bottle & pour it hard.”
So basically, it’s a minor miracle that Oak Point even got a barrel of Smooth Ambler. I didn’t get to sample the first batch they picked but it was supposedly really good which is why it was so disappointing when Smooth Ambler lost the barrel. The second batch of samples they sent us was some of the absolute worst whiskey I’ve ever had. It was hot garbage. The third batch had this one sample that was leaps and bounds ahead of the rest and that is what we’re drinking today.
Smooth Ambler has fortunately given us some information about their unique whiskey. Most people know about Smooth Ambler and their excellent age-stated bourbon and rye that they get sourced from MGP. This, however, is not a bourbon nor a rye whiskey. They classify this as American Whiskey. It consists of a blend of 13 year old high rye bourbon (60% corn, 36% rye, & 4% malted barley) from MGP and a 6 year old bourbon mash (84% corn, 8% rye, & 8% malted barley) Tennessee Whiskey that they then aged for an additional 6 months in used Limited Edition Rye barrels. They normally finish their American whiskey in “re-charred ‘rejuvenated barrels’” which was not the case here. I think that the extra aging in rye barrels sets this bottle apart from other Smooth Ambler American Whiskeys. I have said this many times before but I don’t recommend the standard Smooth Ambler American Whiskey you can buy off the shelf. Fortunately, that’s not the case with this barrel pick!
I have one caveat I must say before really getting into this whiskey. If you open the bottle and immediately pour yourself a dram and go for it, you will probably not like it very much. Sometimes, there are bottles that need a little breathing room for them to really open up. It sounds weird and honestly there may be some science behind it that I’m not smart enough to understand but it’s true. Occasionally, you just got to pour yourself a glass of whiskey and let it sit in the glass for 20 minutes. That was most definitely the case for me at least. My initial taste was consisted of bitterness and harshness. I was very put off by this whiskey. I was disappointed to be honest. Then I decided to pour some in my sniffer and go do some other stuff for 20 minutes and then come back to it. I was very glad I did that because after that short amount of time, the whiskey opened up beautifully and this was my experience with it.
On the nose I got this delicious burnt brown sugar. It reminded me of the cream brulee it smells so good. Mix that with vanilla, graham crackers and baking spice and the nose is just fantastic. The taste gets even better than the nose! I get this delicious cherry candy on the tongue. Lots of sweet corn, toffee and caramel too make for a really unique flavor profile that you can’t get anywhere else. The finish is medium length with lots of cinnamon and spearmint. The finish can definitely be harsh if you don’t let it air out a bit first.
The verdict on this whiskey isn’t complicated. It’s definitely something I would recommend. I think it has a unique flavor profile that’s different from most bourbons on the market. It’s definitely sets itself apart from a rye whiskey as well. I’d recommend purchasing it for that alone, as something of a distinct whiskey in a crowded marketplace. I cannot get the initial bitterness of my mind however and so I have to account that for the score. I think this comes in at right at 4 out of 5 pours. Just remember to let it sit for a bit in your glass and you’re golden! It’s absolutely something you should seek out and especially at $39. You can buy it at both Oak Point locations and remember, if you’re at the Watson location, find my brother Nate and tell him BSoBR sent you!