For a company called Smooth Ambler, the West Virginia-based distillery has been making some pretty big waves in the world of whiskey lately. Under the leadership of founder John Little, the company has been releasing award-winning whiskeys for several years now, including some unique blends of straight whiskeys made at well-known distilleries that become even more remarkable when co-mingled. You may know them best from their popular Old Scout straight bourbon series, but now they have been releasing their own distillate for a couple of years, starting with a rye followed by Founders’ Cask Strength Series Bourbon.
Little did it the right way, sourcing whiskey from MGP in Indiana before that was a popular thing to do, but always with complete transparency about what was in the bottle. For example, I really like how on the info page for their Contradiction Bourbon, they forthrightly answer questions about the whiskey’s provenance. Straight bourbons? Indeed. Multiple mashbills? Different states? Oh yes!
They then list the exact states and mashbills inside the bottle, so that it doesn’t take a lot of Googling to figure out that it’s a blend of Smooth Ambler’s own distillate with George Dickel and MGP. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with sourcing outside whiskey to make your own more delicious, and this 92-proof bourbon definitely is. In fact, Smooth Ambler was recently named “Breakout Distiller of the Year” at this year’s Ascot Awards.
If you’d like to hear Little tell his story and sample his wares alongside a meal from local chef Daniel Scott Gorman, then you need to circle Wednesday, Sept. 7, on your calendar, because that’s when Little will be coming to town as part of the Straight Up 615 tasting series. Straight Up maven Cary Ann Fuller will chat with Little and lead guests through a tasting of some of his whiskeys, including one that is usually only available at the distillery. So think of it as though your price of admission is saving you the round-trip to Maxwelton, W.Va.
Chef Gorman and pastry chef Alyssa Gangeri will prepare a five-course meal at The Buttermilk Ranch in 12South beginning at 6 p.m. and continuing until the last drop is drunk. Pick between communal seating or reserve your own four-top or six-top table by visiting the event website. Tickets are selling fast, so run, don’t amble!