This is a 10 year bourbon from Smooth Ambler that was selected by Binny’s and bottled at 58.8% ABV.
Nose: Quite sweet with lofty, rich grain notes. Almost strikes me as wheated with brown sugar, candy corn, and toffee notes.
Palate: A bit of anise, mild oak, and dark chocolate covered cherries.
Finish: Plenty of heat with sweet grains and mild oak.
Rating: 84/100 – I like this one better than the Spring selection Binny’s did – strikes more of the sweeter notes I like in these single barrels.
Value for the money: These are sold out, but I believe original retail was around $65. I would buy a bottle of this particular bottling at that price.
This is a 10 year bourbon from Smooth Ambler that was selected by Binny’s and bottled at 49.5% ABV.
Nose: Dark cherries, wood chips, brown sugar, banana runts – heavy overall.
Palate: Strong oak up front with fruit punch turning somewhat muted with molasses and charcoal.
Finish: Heat lingers with sawdust and young grains.
Rating: 81/100 – A fairly standard SAOS bourbon all around. I enjoyed the Autumn selection quite a bit better.
Value for the money: These have sold out, but I believe they retailed around $65. I would pass on this particular bottling at that price.
This is an 8 year rye from Smooth Ambler that was selected by the SF Wine Trading Company and bottled at 59.7% ABV.
Nose: Has to be MGP distillate based on the nose – tons of fresh dill alongside freshly ground rye grain, slight mustard note along with some acetone.
Palate: Again, massive dill up front along with the rye. Very heavy mustard spice like profile again which is a letdown personally as I really don’t like mustard.
Finish: Turns hot briefly before becoming very dry and bitter/herbal.
Rating: 72/100 – This one is hampered for me by the big dill and mustard notes. It’s something I find in MGP ryes, but this one had them dialed up to 11 somehow. If you like those notes, this may be right up your alley.
Value for the money: Guessing this retailed for around $50-$60, and I would not buy one of these particular bottles at that price, but in general SAOS ryes (if you can find them anymore) make a good buy at that price.
This was the second batch of Kenwood SAOS bourbon picks. It’s an 8 year bourbon bottled at 62.1% ABV.
Nose: Trio of oak, vanilla, and cherries. New leather and damp cardboard chase those initial notes.
Palate: Fairly hot amplified by intense oak – way more than I’d expect for an 8 year. A hint of vanilla with some charcoal.
Finish: Spicy and the heat from the palate intensifies. Lots of oak with a bit of butterscotch and strawberry.
Rating: 84/100 – A good SAOS (assuming MGP distillate) but a tad oak heavy for me.
Value for the money: At retail, these SAOS picks are usually a good buy around $50 or so. These Kenwoods were a bit more sought after, but I wouldnt’ pay anything over retail for this one.
This was a barrel pick by the same Doug from Doug’s black ink Willett bottles and several other well known WFE picks from the past. It’s an 8 year bourbon bottled at 61.9% ABV.
Nose: Very strong oak – way stronger than I would expect for an 8 year. Brown sugar, dark chocolate with the sweetness cut out from the oak.
Palate: Fairly sweet up front chased by intense freshly sawn oak and vanilla. Very similar to other SAOS bourbons I’ve had.
Finish: Fairly long, butterscotch, vanilla and oak.
Rating: 84/100 – A nice barrel proof SAOS, but wish the oak were dialed down a bit.
Value for the money: These went for over $200 eventually, but they aren’t any better than a typical single barrel SAOS you can get at liquor stores for around $50.
Contradiction is a blend of a 2 year old wheated bourbon from Smooth Ambler and a 9 year Old Scout bourbon with low rye mashbill bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Weird nose – lots of oak despite relative youth of the two components. Seems to flip between the wheated bourbon and rye from the Old Scout. Contradiction seems like an appropriate name in this case.
Palate: Sawdust and wheat up front with rye and earthy notes emerging on mid-palate alongside vanilla and toffee. Tastes a bit hotter than 50%.
Finish: Bizarre finish – woody rye with a bit of sweet wheat remaining.
Rating: 83/100 – An interesting experiment, but more of a novelty drink than something I want to drink a bottle of. Never really came together for me, but the individual components are good.
Value for the money: Think these retailed for around $60, but I would pass at most prices. This is one I recommend you try a sample of first.