I don’t really know much about the ins and outs of the American whiskey world (“makes perfect sense that you’d do a whole month of American whiskey reviews then,” ed.) and I’m not even sure who or what Smooth Ambler is. Smooth Operator’s more leisurely sibling? Eric Ambler’s porn name? Anyway, I got this sample from Sku on my recent trip to LA and from his typically verbose review I gather that some entity named Smooth Ambler put together this bourbon for K&L’s Faultline label from two MGP bourbons—one from a low rye mashbill and one from a high rye mashbill; and it was doubtless the greatest bourbon ever in at least one excited email from David Driscoll.
Anyway, this been has an entirely pointless and almost entirely content-free introduction—though hopefully I’ve caused at least one of you to look up Eric Ambler.
Faultline Bourbon (50%; Smooth Ambler for K&L; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Mellow, leading with corn sweetness and following with mild rye spice. The rye notes then build (pine, dill). There’s something else somewhere between talcum powder and dusty wood. Gets sweeter and sweeter as it sits but now it’s much more driven by the rye than the corn. With a splash of water the rye recedes and now there’s some mild caramel and brown sugar.
Palate: Very much as on the nose. The rye is perhaps less dominant here and everything is very well integrated. Nice, soft mouthfeel. On subsequent sips, however, the rye jumps out just as it did on the nose and now there’s a bit more of an oaky bite and some cinnamon. Nothing interesting happens with water.
Finish: Medium. The rye spice fades out into a menthol coolness. The oak and cinnamon that showed up later on the palate hang around into the finish as well. A little too much wood emerges at the very end with water.
Comments: Seems like the high rye bourbon in the mix is dominant. Indeed, it doesn’t taste very far away from a 51% “barely rye”, and I would have believed that’s what it was if tasting it blind. A very nice and easygoing everyday drinker. I don’t know how much this went for (it may still be around) but around $30 this would have been a real winner.
Rating: 85 points.
Thanks to Sku for the sample!