Ok, bourbonites – before you start flaming me, I know that blending two completely different bourbons toes the line of what can be truly called a bourbon. But if you look at the legal definition of what makes a bourbon what it is, Smooth Ambler Contradiction is in there. But you are more than welcome to try to liquor me up and tell me different.
My watering hole never fails me. I stumbled into Dish on Market looking for a nightcap at 3pm (don’t judge me) and gave the Bartender the vaguest order I could muster.
“Give me a bourbon that tastes good.”
Smooth Ambler Contradiction is what she planted in front of me. She and I are past the whole “Well what do you normally drink” phase. We are on a first name, first bourbon basis – the first thing she pours me is always a good pick.
Some of you bourbon purists who only drink straight whiskeys
with your pinkie in the air might be turned off by the fact that Contradiction is two bourbons combined into one bottle. About 75% of the juice is a 9 year old high rye bourbon and the rest is a super young wheated bourbon. Its like Smooth Ambler is taking a page out of the scotch blenders handbook. And I approve.
Smooth Ambler has done some good expressions in their relatively short operating history. We reviewed their Old Scout 10 Year Old here, along with some interesting info about Smooth Ambler Spirits. Check out our review of Smooth Ambler’s Old Scout Bourbon.
SMOOTH AMBER CONTRADICTION TASTING NOTES
Am I the only one who gets a little giddy right before that first sip? I try to act normal sitting at the bar with other adults, but I want to bounce up and down on my stool and clap while I wait for that century between placing and getting my order. But that would make me look strange.
About as strange as sniffing my pour for 15 minutes before I take a sip. But this is my job. Its my job.
Smooth Ambler Contradiction is indeed just that. On the nose I get both sweets and sours. Super fragrant grapefruits and aged pears become sauna room cedar and fresh baked cake. Just as you would expect, you are going to get a wild array of aromas out of your glass.
The first sip is rich and full of fruit. I got new oak for the wood, green apple for the fruit, and that delicious spongy twinkie cake. This is a 100 proof bourbon, but it carries that fire well. Like most quality bourbons, theres a nice vanilla – honey interplay that is brightened up by some allspice. The rye is there, but not in a big way. Which is surprising considering the majority of the blend is rye bourbon.
The back end is where you get all the old wood and tannin. The finish is mild and dry. The sweetness from earlier turns into some dark chocolate and honey nut Cheerios. The finish is long (which is a plus), but just a tad lacking. Cigar smokers would appreciate that, though.
So what you’re getting here is a super smooth bourbon with some nice complexity. So you have been missing out.
Look, I enjoyed the hell out of this pour. Smooth Ambler Contradiction has the complexity that bourbon tasters love, the heat that us crotchety old drinkers need, and the smooth draw that you can enjoy neat or on the rocks. The long, dry finish might be a drawback for some, but I enjoyed my pour with a late-day stogie after so it was welcome.
The main issue I have is Smooth Ambler Contradiction’s price. A pour goes for about $12 in my neck of the woods, and a fifth goes for around $60. The price is the biggest reason we graded this pour what we did. We gave Contradiction a…
Learn more about how we grade bourbon.
I say if you got it, spend it. This bourbon doesn’t disappoint. If you cant find it in your area, you can have it delivered to your doorstep or office.
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