Smooth Ambler Old Scout Rye Whiskey

88 Solid

Lots of citrus sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Candied pears, peaches, and lemon greet the mouth, and give way to a rounded simple-syrup sweetness on the middle of the tongue.

glencairn-amazonThis review is the 3rd in our series of 4 Smooth Ambler product reviews.


  • Producer: Smooth Ambler; Maxwelton, WV
  • Distiller: MGP; Lawrenceburg, IN
  • 49.5% ABV (99 Proof)
  • Age: 7 Years
  • Price Paid: $32.99
  • Mash Bill: 95% Rye, 5% Barley Malt
  • Availability: Available in most well-stocked stores
Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of


What it is:

From our previous Old Scout reviews:

In an age when it seems whiskey producers do everything they can to obscure the origins of their distillate, and create false and misleading narratives about the source of their whiskey, Smooth Ambler is a refreshing change of pace. While they are distilling many of their own spirits, they also do source whiskey from other producers, namely MGP in Indiana. They are very transparent on the process, which we here at Modern Thirst appreciate greatly. To differentiate between their in-house products and the sourced products, Smooth Ambler labels all the sourced products as “Old Scout.” Thus, this is a sourced whiskey from MGP in Indiana.

You may remember a very similar story about the 4 year Willett Rye Whiskey and the Bulleit Rye. They share the same mash bill and the same distiller (MGP), though they vary in proof and age.


Standard tall, long-necked whiskey bottle, similar to other Old Scout offerings.


Light and golden-copper in color.


Lots of citrus and sugar on this one. The first smell reminds me of opening a can of peaches in syrup. There are strong citrus notes, followed by baking spices and carrot cake.


Lots of citrus sweetness on the tip of the tongue. Candied pears, peaches, and lemon greet the mouth, and give way to a rounded simple-syrup sweetness on the middle of the tongue. Brown sugar finishes up the front-middle part of the tasting while some peppery spice lifts its head towards the back of the palate.


Medium in length, this is a fairly dry rye whiskey. The citrus mingled with simple syrup seems to intensify shortly after the swallow for a large burst of flavor that dissipates very quickly thereafter. It’s almost like following up the tasting with a sip from a can of canned fruit.


Look, MGP makes good whiskey. There’s no denying it. And 99 proof is a really nice level to get that MGP product. This fits in well with other MGP products previously mentioned, and the real deciding factor here is the proof. This could use a year or two more in the barrel to add some woodiness, but all in all, 99 proof is a good place for this. There is just enough punch on the palate, and it’s still sweet enough to go down easily. score: 88 out of 100 Points.

saos cask rye 2

The scoring system is a standard 100 point system based on 4 categories, taken in order.

  1. Appearance: 15 points
  2. Nose: 25 Points
  3. Palate/Taste: 35 Points
  4. Finish: 25 points
  • 95+        Epic
  • 90-94     Excellent, Good representative of its style
  • 85-89     Solid sipper
  • 80-84     Drinkable, but potentially flawed.
  • 75-79     Low quality, flawed, use as a mixer only
  • <75        Rot Gut, avoid


Facebook Comments

About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for, and Founder and Chief Blending Officer for Four Gate Whiskey Company. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. He has also been published on He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country, and consulted for multiple national labels. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at


  1. Pingback: The ‘Top Bourbon’ Lists – 1/2/2015 Update | ModernThirst

  2. Pingback: Ever wanted to see all of our Whiskey Review Scores in one Place? (March 2015) | ModernThirst

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.