October 12, 2015

NASA Liquor Smooth Ambler Single Barrel #1409

Ok, Ok...

We're a little obsessed with these Smooth Ambler private barrels.  Are y'all tired of hearing about them?  Let us know and we will cease and desist.  Otherwise, as you can tell from the photo, we've got like three more to review we haven't even opened yet, including the brand new 10-year single barrel rye that you could only at the distillery in the eight hours it took to sell out.  Damn, this is getting silly.

Anyway batter up this private barrel bourbon from NASA Liquors.

Their last bottle was pretty stellar.  If you don't feel like reading the whole review (or to refresh your memory) here was our first note:
Wicked crisp punchy bourbon with a lot of hay and cinnamon in the nose, nice uppercut of charred oak, and a little backdrop of chocolate covered peanuts.
So here we go, aw yeah, Alex Le and the rest of our boys down in Houston at NASA Liquor are at it again with another Smooth Ambler Single Barrel Bourbon.  This time it's Barrel #1409, a 9-Year bourbon coming in at 53.3% ABV.  This one is a lower proof than the last monster 119.8 proofer.  Can it hold up in the flavor department?

Tasting Notes

Nose:  Smells pretty fuckin' good.  Big vanilla, cinnamon, raw pipe tobacco, leather polish, lemongrass.  It's rich, it's spicy, it's sweet, very nice.

Palate:  Awesome baking spice mashup. Brown butter, lemon pound cake, hints of mint.

Finish:  Really balanced.  Sweet, spicy, rich and smooth.  This is a badass mofo.  


Now, for an ounce of sanity, we're not saying this is a 95-point whiskey that's on par with some 20 year Stitzel-Weller trophy bottle. It's not. And it's not trying to be. What this bottle is is a totally fantastic everyday drinker. Will it crush Pappy Van Winkle 20-year? No. Will it crush just about any bottle you can find on the shelf of a liquor store today, including many that are double the price? Yes. Yes it will.

Is it just perception? How can Smooth Ambler be this good, when we know it's just the same mass produced Indiana whiskey you get in every bottle on the shelf? Well, undoubtedly it's the taste of really good pickers like NASA who get the chance to go through many different barrels and pick the winner. And it's the no-fuss-no-muss production technique of John Little cranking this stuff out at cask strength without chill-filtration or other common mass production tactics.  

In any case, this bottle is a treat. Should we compare it to the first NASA release? That one was really special and had a little more chocolate sauce to it than this one. Maybe we give the first bottle the slight edge. But this one definitely does not disappoint and you're pretty psyched if you're drinking either of these.  (Or their 4 Roses pick for that matter!).

Cheers Alex & everyone at NASA, keep up the great work.  /SB

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