It’s not often I manage to crowbar distillery visits into trips back to my hometown, near Washington, DC. Last December though, I was invited to go and check out Smooth Ambler Distillery in Maxwelton, WV, only about 4 hours’ drive away.
I put the offer out to a group of friends I’ve known for the better part of 15+ years: Would you like to go down to one of the finest distilleries in the country and try all of their delicious whiskey and gin?
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long before we had a car full and a road trip planned. Welcome to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia! (Actual state slogan.)
The distillery is located in the heart of Greenbrier Valley (strangers welcome!) Here it can draw on the quality of the local natural resources to make their fine spirits. Fresh mountain air, natural spring water, wide seasonal temperature swings and the subsequent expansion and contraction of the whiskey and the wood, all make this an excellent place to make spirits (especially whiskey).
Smooth Ambler pride themselves on being a grain to glass distillery (you might be see a recurring theme here – we like people who really put the craft in “craft spirits”) meaning they have a handle on every aspect of the production of their spirits. Some of it isn’t quite ready yet, but we still got to try it directly from the barrel.
John Little (not to be confused with John Foster, or Little John, or Lil Jon) allows us to taste how the whiskey is coming along.
They have hundreds of barrels of their own Smooth Ambler whiskey in their new rickhouse. Floor to ceiling and plenty of rows deep, they are maturing two bourbons and a wheat whiskey.
Even the casks laid down first have a couple of years to go yet.
As we wait for the arrival of their handcrafted whiskies, Smooth Ambler have already moved into the bourbon market with a range of bottlings they’ve “scouted” out, which have a flavour and smoothness they admire. To make this range possible the search began some time ago to find quality whiskeys, worthy of attaching to the Smooth Ambler name to.
What they discovered was jaw-dropping, mouth-wateringly delicious bourbon and rye whiskey. As I was told, these are whiskies that might otherwise be diluted or blended in terribly undrinkable ways that the distiller would never have intended. They’re able to make these whiskies available to consumers and we have now brought them to you. In their own words:
“In every liquor store, there are spirits of questionable origin coupled with expensive marketing plans which invest heavily in obscuring that fact. Trust us to do two things: always shoot straight with you, and bring you excellent stuff to drink. With Old Scout, we do both.”
We’re very excited to be working with such wonderful people who take pride in everything they do. Try some Smooth Ambler Spirits today!
Small Batch. Premium Cut.