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Old Scout Straight Bourbon Review: A Friendly Guide to a Classic Taste

thewhiskylady - 2023-07-04
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Old Scout Straight Bourbon Review

Old Scout Straight Bourbon has been gaining quite a reputation in the whiskey world. As a bourbon enthusiast, I was excited to finally get my hands on a bottle and share my thoughts on this intriguing spirit. Sourced from Indiana’s MGP distillery, Smooth Ambler Old Scout is a blend of high-rye mashbilled bourbons, which provides an interesting flavor profile.

Old Scout Straight Bourbon Reviewphoto credit:

Old Scout Straight Bourbon Overview

As a bourbon enthusiast, I recently tried Old Scout Straight Bourbon, a popular bourbon produced by Smooth Ambler Spirits Co. in West Virginia. Old Scout is known for its quality and unique characteristics, as well as its sourced mashbill from MGP in Indiana.

Old Scout Bourbon has an interesting origin story. The Smooth Ambler team hand-selects barrels to create their small batch bourbons that are “scouted” from other distilleries. The honesty behind their sourcing approach and dedication to maintaining high standards has contributed to the bourbon’s popularity.

The bottle’s label reflects its contents, stating not only its 99 proof, but also the mashbill. This straight bourbon whiskey has a mashbill that consists of corn, malted barley, and rye. The percentage of each ingredient contributes to its distinctive flavors and aromas.

Speaking of which, Old Scout’s aroma greeted me with a mix of oak, caramel, and a bit of spice. As I let the bourbon sit for a while, the smell mellowed out a bit, becoming smoother and more inviting. As I took my first sip, I noticed the presence of rye, which added a spiciness alongside the corn sweetness.

Although the bourbon is 99 proof, it doesn’t feel overwhelming in terms of alcohol content. The flavors meld together well, creating a delightful sipping experience. The Old Scout line is aged for a minimum of 5 years, which is evident in its more developed character, and adds depth to the flavor profile. The non-chill filtered process preserves the integrity of the original flavors, enhancing the overall experience of Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Product History


As a bourbon enthusiast, I am always excited to explore the history of various bourbons. Old Scout Straight Bourbon is a product of Smooth Ambler, a relatively new micro-distillery in West Virginia. The Old Scout line was introduced more than 10 years ago and has gained quite a reputation among bourbon lovers. It features a high rye content which results in a spicy and rye-forward flavor profile.

Smooth Ambler aimed to produce their own bourbon, but it takes time for it to age properly. In the meantime, they sourced their whiskey from MGP, a well-known distillery in Indiana. The original Old Scout Bourbon debuted in 2011 and featured a 5-year-old whiskey, the same age as its relaunched version in 2019.


Smooth Ambler was established by two friends and business partners, John Little and TAG Galyean. The distillery is located in Maxwelton, West Virginia, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. The team’s dedication to sourcing quality whiskey and their love for the craft of distilling led them to create the Old Scout line.

The Old Scout line initially ran out of aged MGP stock, but it was resurrected in 2019 with a larger, younger stockpile of whiskey from the same source. The new stocks are now aging in their West Virginia rickhouses, promising an ongoing future for the Old Scout Straight Bourbon.

Price Range

I’ve come across Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey at various retail outlets, and the general price range seems to be around $40-$50 for a 750ml bottle. In my research, I found that the specific price may be $45 for a non-age-statement (NAS) batch, which is approximately 5 years old. Depending on the shop and location, you might find it at a slightly higher or lower price point.

With various brands sourcing whiskey from different producers, the market prices for sourced beverages may vary given factors like age, rarity, and barrel selections. However, Old Scout Straight Bourbon manages to offer a reasonable and competitive price range within this market, providing bourbon enthusiasts with a quality option that doesn’t break the bank.

Tasting Notes

The Old Scout Straight Bourbon was a delightful experience. Here are some tasting notes I gathered during my indulgence.

On the nose, I found the aroma of Old Scout Straight Bourbon quite inviting. It carries pleasant scents of cherry, vanilla, and a subtle touch of grain, making it a lovely start to the tasting journey. There were also light whiffs of caramel and cinnamon, adding to the overall delight of this bourbon.

When I finally took a sip, I was greeted with a combination of flavors that left me quite impressed. The taste is comprised of:

  • Vanilla: A distinct sweetness and creaminess forms the base of the flavor profile.
  • Mint: Complementing the vanilla, mint adds a refreshing twist, making the bourbon taste alive and lively.
  • Oak char: Balancing the sweetness perfectly, oak char imparts depth to the bourbon.
  • Leather: Adding to the bourbon’s complexity, a hint of leather brings an earthy characteristic.
  • Light dried fruits: Subtle notes of dried fruits provide a touch of brightness and variety to the flavor.

As the tasting continued, I noticed a satisfying mouthfeel, with the bourbon’s oily body flowing smoothly over my palate. The spiciness developed as the flavors mingled, contributing to the experience.

And finally, the finish – the true highlight of the sip. The Old Scout Straight Bourbon leaves a lasting impression, with the spice notes continuing to develop and evolve, leading to an undeniably delicious and long-lasting finish.


Sweet Aromas

When I first encountered the Old Scout Straight Bourbon, I was immediately struck by its sweet aroma. There is a distinct caramel scent, with underlying hints of toasted oak and leather. I also detected a pleasant and slightly sweet cigar note, which added to the overall appeal of the bourbon’s aroma. This enticing sweetness is balanced beautifully by the presence of some deeper and richer notes.

Fruity Notes

Besides the sweet aromas, I also found some lighter, fruitier aspects to the nose of the Old Scout Straight Bourbon. There are minty and vanilla undertones, accompanied by subtle hints of dried fruits. These fruity notes complement the sweetness of the bourbon, creating a complex and inviting aroma that entices you to take your first sip. In conclusion, the aroma of Old Scout Straight Bourbon is a delightful experience, offering a vibrant array of both sweet and fruity elements that showcase the whiskey’s depth and character.


Sweet Flavors

I found the Old Scout Straight Bourbon to have a lovely, slightly sweet and oily body that flows nicely through the palate. There are delightful notes of butterscotch, caramel, and vanilla, which create a perfect balance in the taste. The bourbon also presents a nice touch of lighter dried fruits, making it even more enjoyable.

In addition, there’s a hint of creamed corn and a subtle undertone of chocolate, adding yet another layer of depth to this delicious whiskey. The richness of these sweet flavors truly makes Old Scout an enjoyable treat.

Spicy Notes

One of the things I noticed while sipping this bourbon was the presence of various spicy notes. The aroma offers hints of spicy tobacco, baking spices, and toasted oak which blend well with sweet flavors. A light waft of cinnamon bark also contributes to the overall depth, making the experience even more intriguing.

On the palate, the bourbon exhibits a pleasant, warming heat and appears complex with a nice spiciness, rounding out the profile. I particularly appreciated the nice mix of minty and oak char flavors, which enhanced the overall taste without overwhelming it. The spicy notes in the Old Scout Straight Bourbon contribute to its depth and character, creating a balanced and enjoyable experience for whiskey lovers like me.



The finish is quite satisfying. It’s not too short, nor is it too long. The medium-length finish allows me to savor the flavors just the right amount, without them overstaying their welcome. It leaves a pleasant warmth and lingering taste that makes me want to savor another sip.


When it comes to mouthfeel, this bourbon does a great job of balancing between smoothness and complexity. The slightly oily body gives it a rich, velvety texture that feels wonderful on the palate. The flavors are bold and noticeable, with just the right amount of spiciness and sweetness coming through. I particularly appreciate the presence of mint, vanilla, oak, and dried fruits, which add a nice depth to the overall experience. The higher proof also plays a role in enhancing the flavors, making them more vibrant and noticeable without overwhelming my taste buds.


I have had the pleasure of trying Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and it has gained considerable popularity among whiskey enthusiasts. This line of bourbon started getting attention nearly ten years ago when it was first introduced. As a sourced whiskey from MGP, it showed that well-chosen barrels could provide exceptional taste and quality.

Expert Reviews

There are plenty of expert reviews available, which give us an understanding of what to expect from this bourbon. For instance, here are a few:

  • Breaking Bourbon rates the NAS (Batch 32) with a mashbill of 60% Corn, 36% Rye, and 4% Malted Barley. This blend gives the bourbon a rich and smooth flavor profile. The unique burnt caramel color adds to its appeal.
  • Drinkhacker also reviewed the 2019 Old Scout Bourbon, giving it a Rated B. The review praised the bourbon’s overall quality while acknowledging its West Virginia origins at Smooth Ambler.
  • Spirits Review offers an in-depth review of Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey, rated at 8 out of 10 for taste and 6 out of 10 for value. The reviewed whiskey is 6 years old with a 99 proof and a price of $46.99 for a 750ml bottle.
  • Drinkhacker also reviewed a 2021 edition of Old Scout Bourbon Single Barrel, aged for 5 years. They gave it a Rated A-, showing that the bourbon maintains its quality as the years pass.

As a fan of Old Scout Straight Bourbon, I think these reviews are on point. The whiskey has a unique flavor profile that appeals to a wide range of palates. While its popularity may have soared in recent years, the expert reviews show that Old Scout Straight Bourbon is maintaining a consistent quality that keeps people coming back for more.

Mixing and Pairing

Its spicy, rye-forward profile lends itself well to classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned. Simply muddle a sugar cube with a few dashes of bitters, add a healthy pour of Old Scout Bourbon, and stir with ice until well-chilled. Garnish with an orange twist and a cherry, and you’ve got yourself a delightful drink.

Now, if you’re into pairing this bourbon with other beverages, a nice rye whiskey or gin could be a great companion. Both of these spirits share some of the spicy characteristics found in Old Scout Bourbon, and their contrasting flavors can make for a fascinating taste experience.

When I’m enjoying Old Scout Bourbon neat or on the rocks, I find that it pairs wonderfully with a few select accompaniments. A good cigar can highlight the bourbon’s subtle tobacco notes while providing a complementary, smoky profile. Pipe tobacco, with its rich, earthy aroma, can also enhance the overall sipping experience.

Another pairing option that I genuinely enjoy is chocolate. The bourbon’s cinnamon, toasted oak, and creamy undertones can meld beautifully with a quality dark chocolate or a velvety milk chocolate. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try it with a spicy or flavored chocolate for a more complex flavor combination.

Best Mixers

As a fan of Old Scout Straight Bourbon, I love to explore and experiment with different mixers to create the perfect balance of flavors in my cocktails. In this section, I’ll discuss my favorite mixers: cocktail bitters, syrups, and sweeteners, and their role in enhancing the taste of Old Scout Straight Bourbon.

Cocktail Bitters

For me, using cocktail bitters in a bourbon-based cocktail brings out the subtleties of the Old Scout Straight Bourbon’s rich flavor profile. Here are some of my favorite bitters to pair with this bourbon:

  • Angostura Bitters: A classic choice, these bitters add depth and complexity to the cocktail while complementing the bourbon’s spicy and fruity notes.
  • Orange Bitters: These bitters lend a subtle citrusy touch to the drink, which brightens up the flavors and pairs well with Old Scout’s mildly sweet character.
  • Peychaud’s Bitters: With a unique herbal flavor profile, Peychaud’s bitters enhance the rye spiciness and add an interesting contrast to the bourbon’s sweeter notes.


When it comes to syrups, my aim is to find the perfect balance between the sweetness and the various flavors to complement the Old Scout Straight Bourbon. Here are the syrups I like to mix with this bourbon:

  • Simple Syrup: Mixing Old Scout Straight Bourbon with a basic simple syrup creates a subtle, well-rounded sweetness, allowing me to enjoy the various flavors of the bourbon without overwhelm.
  • Honey Syrup: The rich, earthy sweetness of honey syrup adds a unique twist to cocktails and pairs wonderfully with Old Scout’s notes of vanilla, oak, and dried fruits.
  • Maple Syrup: For a touch of warm, autumnal sweetness, I love using maple syrup with Old Scout Straight Bourbon. The syrup enhances the bourbon’s spiciness while creating a perfect harmony with its sweet and woody notes.


In the case of sweeteners, my focus is on adding a pleasant sweetness without overpowering Old Scout Straight Bourbon’s distinct flavors. Here are my top sweetener choices:

  • Demerara Sugar: This natural, unrefined sugar imparts a mellow, caramel-like sweetness to the bourbon, enriching its flavors without introducing any artificial taste.
  • Agave Nectar: With a lower glycemic index than regular sugar, agave nectar provides a smooth and balanced sweetness that complements the bourbon’s natural flavors.
  • Brown Sugar: The rich molasses flavor of brown sugar gives bourbon cocktails an interesting depth of flavor, making it an excellent sweetener for Old Scout Straight Bourbon.

Cocktail Suggestions

Classic Cocktails

Classic Cocktailsphoto credit:

One of my favorite classic cocktails to make with Old Scout Straight Bourbon is the Old Fashioned. To make an Old Fashioned:

  • 2 oz Old Scout Straight Bourbon
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • A splash of water
  • Orange twist, for garnish

Muddle the sugar cube, bitters, and water in a glass, add the bourbon and ice, stir gently, and garnish with the orange twist.

Another great option for a classic bourbon cocktail is the Whiskey Sour:

  • 2 oz Old Scout Straight Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • Egg white (optional)
  • A cherry and an orange slice, for garnish

Shake the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice, then strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. If using the egg white, dry shake (without ice) for 10 seconds, then shake with ice for another 10 seconds. Garnish with the cherry and the orange slice.

Signature Drinks

Old Scout Straight Bourbon can also be used in creative, signature cocktails. Here’s an example inspired by the popular Bee’s Knees cocktail, which I call the “Bourbon Bee”:

  • 2 oz Old Scout Straight Bourbon
  • 1 oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • Lemon twist, for garnish

Shake the bourbon, honey syrup, and lemon juice with ice, then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.

Another interesting signature cocktail I enjoy making with Old Scout Straight Bourbon is the “Spiced Orchard”:

  • 2 oz Old Scout Straight Bourbon
  • 1 oz apple cider
  • 1/2 oz ginger liqueur
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice
  • Club soda, to top
  • A thin slice of apple and a sprig of rosemary, for garnish

Shake the bourbon, apple cider, ginger liqueur, and lemon juice with ice, then strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with the apple slice and rosemary sprig.

Food Pairings

Appetizers and Snacks

Appetizers and Snacksphoto credit:

When it comes to appetizers and snacks, I’ve found that Old Scout Straight Bourbon pairs well with lighter fare. Personally, I’ve enjoyed this bourbon alongside a range of cheeses, especially soft or creamy varieties like brie or camembert. Additionally, smoked salmon or shrimp cocktails make nice companions for this rye-forward, spicy bourbon. These lighter flavors help accentuate the bourbon’s complexity without overwhelming the palate.

  • Cheeses: brie, camembert
  • Seafood: smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail

Main Courses

Old Scout Straight Bourbon’s spicy, rye-forward profile lends itself well to pairing with flavorful main courses. When I’ve had this bourbon with my meal, I’ve found that it complements robust dishes like grilled steak or savory barbecued items. The oaky, spicy notes in the bourbon balance out the rich, meaty flavors of these dishes. If you prefer something less meaty, I would recommend pairing the bourbon with roasted or grilled vegetables for a delightful, flavorful experience.

  • Robust dishes: grilled steak, barbecue
  • Vegetables: roasted or grilled vegetables


Bourbon and dessert may not always go hand-in-hand, but in the case of Old Scout Straight Bourbon, I’ve found that it pairs delightfully with certain sweet treats. The subtle chocolatey undertones present in this bourbon make it a perfect match for chocolate-based desserts such as chocolate mousse, truffles, or even a warm chocolate lava cake. If chocolate isn’t your go-to dessert, consider pairing the bourbon with a warm apple crumble or cinnamon-spiced dessert – these flavors help to bring out the bourbon’s natural spice notes.

  • Chocolate-based desserts: chocolate mousse, truffles, chocolate lava cake
  • Cinnamon-spiced desserts: apple crumble, cinnamon-flavored pastries


Personal Experience

I must say, it left quite an impression on me. The taste was slightly sweet and had a delightful oily body, creating a smooth and enjoyable experience. The flavors of mint, vanilla, oak char, and lighter dried fruits were complemented by a subtle spiciness that set it apart from other wheat bourbons.

The mouthfeel was satisfying, and the transition into a long, delicious finish was the highlight of the sip. I particularly enjoyed the way the ever-present spice was contrasted by sweeter notes of graham cracker, toasted marshmallow, caramel, and a hint of cherry.

Final Thoughts

While I enjoyed my experience with Old Scout Straight Bourbon, it’s important to recognize that every individual’s palate may perceive the flavors differently. That being said, I found it to be a well-rounded and enjoyable whiskey, and I believe it’s certainly worth a try for those who appreciate a nice spice and depth in their bourbon.

Remember, always enjoy whiskey responsibly, and savor the unique flavors and experiences each bottle brings to your collection. Cheers!

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