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Smooth Ambler Contradiction

(2.3/5.0) Another Smooth Ambler wheated bourbon horror. Leave good MGP whiskey alone!

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Proof: 100 / ABV: 50%

Age: 9 years (MGP), 2 years (SA)

Distillery: MGP, Lawrenceburg, IN and Smooth Ambler, Maxwelton, WV

Mashbill: MGP rye bourbon: 75% corn / 21% rye / 4% barley, SA wheated bourbon: 60% corn / 20% wheat / 20% barley

Blend: 73% MGP, 27% SA

Retail Pricing: $45-55

Availability: Uncommon. Annual yield is about 50,000 bottles.

Background:

“At Smooth Ambler, after we began merchant bottling the whiskey we call Old Scout, it occurred to us that at some point it may be fun and interesting to blend a little of the delicious bourbon we source with the smooth and sweet wheated bourbon we distill here in West Virginia. With that notion in mind, Contradiction was born; a blend of whiskey we make with whiskey we do not. Contradiction is non-chill filtered and is full-bodied, with notes of dried fruit and butter rum, and has the end-result of tasting like a four-grain bourbon.” – Smooth Ambler

A blend of Smooth Ambler’s own 2-year old wheated bourbon with MGP sourced rye bourbon bottled at 100 proof. Column and pot still distilled. No chill filtration.

Review:

Sensibles: The older rye bourbon attempts to mask the youthfulness of the wheated bourbon with classic vanilla and caramel notes but is ham-stringed by a bubblegum corniness reminiscent of Big Level, Smooth Ambler’s 5-year old wheated bourbon. The taste is full-bodied and slightly astringent. Sweet corn, cookie dough, honey, and vanilla combine with some rye spice that balances out as the whiskey sits in the glass. Overall not a bad taste. The finish is long, too dry, and spicy with hints of vanilla.

Value: I cry every time good MGP whiskey is lost to a craft distiller’s experiments. Introducing their own young wheated whiskey here seems unnecessary and a waste. I find Big Level nearly undrinkable, so perhaps I just have PTSD about their wheated mashbill, who knows. I don’t think the taste here justifies the price. Definitely a bottle you should skip buying, or ordering at a bar, or receiving as a gift, or…

Overall, I like Smooth Ambler’s sourced releases, but just can’t get into anything that has their bourbon in it. It’s not for me, but maybe it’s for you?

Smooth Ambler Contradiction
2.5
Sensibles
2.1
Value
Reviewer 2.3
Users (0 votes) 0
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