March 30, 2015

Our New Crush - Nasa Liquor's SAOS

It just seems like every private barrel of Smooth Ambler Old Scout we taste is better than the last. The other night some friends came over to SmokyBeast headquarters to enjoy bourbon. We poured some standard favorites: Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2014, a nice Willett 10-Year, but the real stand out was this cask strength Smooth Ambler 8-year private barrel from Nasa Liquor.  So much so that two different buddies independently messaged us the next day to find out where they could buy some.  Go figure.

What Is It?

See our history of posts about private barrels and specifically Smooth Ambler.  These are hand picked barrels released for private stores and restaurants.  Nasa Liquor is a shop in Houston that specializes in high end whiskey and craft beer.  They take an interesting approach and invite five of their best whiskey customers to a tasting to choose the barrel on behalf of the store.  This eight year bourbon is a high-corn mashbill of 65% corn, 30% rye.

Tasting Notes

Nose: 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.  Right at the end there's a nice oily thing going on - like aloe hand lotion maybe.

Palate: It's very nutty and clean on the tongue.  There's not a huge richness going on, but it doubles down on the salted peanuts and crisp rye goodness.  And shit damn it's just so smooth for almost 120 proof (119.8 to be exact).  There's just no way we'd have pegged this for an 8-year at that proof.  No way.

Finish: Sweetness comes out on the finish like buttered corn.  It all really comes together here with very - VERY little alcohol burn and a really nice medley of spice, honey, and bbq flavors.


It's just great to see a few things come together: whiskey done right - i.e. non-chill-filtered, cask strength, straight from the barrel stuff at a good and fair price point with honesty and very little marketing hubbub.  Scoop up these private barrel gems if you can find them and enjoy.



  1. Interesting::wonder if something magical is happening with the 910-920 range of barrels....I have a Caskers 918 that is by far the best of their 2 earlier releases, and the Bearded Lady is barrel 919..will check my other stock and see if have any more in that range...Maybe you know more of the numbering for SAOS?

    1. interesting theory. honestly have no idea how the barrel # schemes work. may have to do some digging.

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