Smooth Ambler Contradiction

Smooth Ambler Contradiction (50%, OB, 2018)

  • Category: Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskies
  • Origin: Smooth Ambler Distillery & Undisclosed
  • Bottling: Smooth Ambler
  • ABV: 50%
  • Cost: £65.70


What they say

Smooth Ambler Contradiction

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.

  • Mashbill: Merchant bottled bourbon made with corn, rye and malted barley married with homemade bourbon made with corn, wheat and malted barley.
  • Distillation Process: Continuous column distillation and pot distillation.
  • Aging: A blend of different straight whiskeys, there are different ages represented in Contradiction. The majority whiskey is more than 9 years in age.
  • Source of grains: Grains from a variety of sources.
  • Annual Production: Around 50,000 bottles.

Official tasting notes:

  • Full of oak, dried cherries, vanilla, and cinnamon creating a signature mature bourbon nose.  Sweet from the wheat and spice from the rye and a bit of leather round out the palate. Its viscosity creates a smooth and pleasant finish.

What I say

Sampled during the the #DrinkCraft 4th of July Tweet Tasting

Constructed from a mixture of young wheated bourbon distilled at Smooth Ambler distillery and an old Rye-rich Bourbon sourced by the distillery.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Dark amber gold (11/20), medium-fine tears leave long fine legs.
  • Nose: Coffee and toffee, caramel cinnamon-spiced latte, sweet corn notes are joined by some well-aged wood, vanilla essence,
  • Taste: Sweet then dark, a wave of tobacco and wood tannins, dark chocolate, coffee grounds, mulched bark
  • Finish: Long, spiced, borders on drying but polished caramel or highland toffee/butterscotch persists


An interesting concept and combination. I guess Bourbon and blending (scotch whisky style) come together here and create something greater than the sum of its parts, as all great blends should. There is a lightness and sweetness from the home spirit and some great aged flavours derived from the sourced material.

Score 85/100

Shop for Smooth Ambler Contradiction (opens Master of Malt)

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