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Smooth Ambler Brings its First In House Distilled Bourbon to Market

In the world of non-distilling producers, Smooth Ambler Spirits is considered one of the more well-established players. Yet this West Virginia distillery, acquired in late 2016 by spirits giant Pernod Ricard, has quietly been preparing to make the jump to being a full-fledged distilling operation. Now, they’ve just introduced their first 100% made in house whiskey, known as Big Level Wheated Bourbon.

Smooth Ambler Big Level Wheated Bourbon, according to those behind it, is made from a mash of corn (71%), wheat (21%), and malted barley (8%). It is mashed, distilled (both continuous column and pot distillation), aged (a minimum of five years), proofed and bottled at the distillery, entering the bottle at 100 proof after a period of aging in 53 gallon barrels that are influenced by the West Virginia mountains and their shift of seasons.

“Much of what we’ve done at Smooth Ambler has been leading up to this moment,” said Head Distiller and CEO John Little in a prepared statement. “The release of Big Level signifies the beginning of our long-term ability to offer a third, important category of whiskeys to us: those which are 100% made here in West Virginia. We’re excited for this whiskey to complement the merchant bottled and ‘married’ (merchant and homemade blended together) families already embraced by our business.”

Plans call for this whiskey to be released nationwide starting this month, and you’ll find very limited official tasting notes below. It should be noted Smooth Ambler, even with the capacity to produce 3,000 barrels of whiskey alone this year, will also continue to source whiskeys for new product releases for the time being.

  • Toffee and pancake batter on the nose. With pleasant warmth in the mid-palate.  Lingering finish.  Lots of pecan pie.

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the former founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award-winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y globally. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert, and judge, he has written extensively about the subject, been interviewed in various media outlets, and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions.

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