Smooth Ambler logo.

Smooth Ambler Distillery

  • USA, West Virginia
  • Best Single Barrel Bourbon at the World Whiskies Awards (WWA), Gold Medal at the World Whiskies Awards., Gold medal at the World Whiskies Awards.
Phone Number
  • +13044973123
  • 745 Industrial Park Rd, Maxwelton, WV 24957, United States

Red barn-style building with green grass in foreground.

History of Smooth Ambler

Founding and Philosophy

Smooth Ambler, a renowned whiskey company, was established in the hills of West Virginia in 2009. The founders, John Little and his father-in-law, TAG Galyean, embarked on this venture with a fiercely independent spirit and a goal to create exceptional whiskey. Unlike many distilleries with deep historical roots, Smooth Ambler thrived on a fresh approach, valuing honesty, diversity, and trust in their operations.

Growth and Development

Over the years, Smooth Ambler gained acclaim for its practice of sourcing well-aged whiskeys and blending them with their own distillate. This transparency about their sources and processes set them apart in the industry. The distillery also prides itself on its local sourcing, using non-GMO grains from the region, which contributes to the unique flavour profile of their products.

Expansion and Acquisition

In a significant development, Smooth Ambler joined the portfolio of Pernod Ricard, a global leader in wine and spirits, in 2016. This transition marked a new chapter for the distillery, allowing it to expand its reach while maintaining its core values and artisanal approach.

Whiskey Offerings

Smooth Ambler presents a diverse range of whiskies, including:

  1. Contradiction: A blend of house distilled whiskeys and those sourced from Tennessee and Indiana. It includes both a Contradiction Rye and Bourbon.
  2. Old Scout: Renowned for being procured whiskies, many sourced from MGP in Lawrenceberg, Indiana.
  3. Founders’ Cask Strength Series: Whiskies distilled by Smooth Ambler in Maxwelton, WV, including rye whiskeys and bourbons.

Smooth Ambler stands as a testament to innovation, quality, and transparency in the whiskey industry. From its inception by Little and Galyean, the distillery has grown into a respected brand, known for its diverse whiskey offerings and commitment to excellence.

Awards Won by Smooth Ambler

Old Scout 10-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon

  • Award: Best Single Barrel Bourbon at the World Whiskies Awards (WWA).
  • Flavor Profile: Known for its rich butterscotch taste with smooth caramel overtones.
  • Appeal: Praised for its broad appeal among whiskey enthusiasts.
  • Characteristics:
    • Rich and full-bodied.
    • Smooth and approachable taste.

Smooth Ambler Contradiction

  • Award: Gold Medal at the World Whiskies Awards.
  • Composition: A unique blend of 27% local wheat bourbon and 73% low rye bourbon.
  • Blending Approach: Combines house-made and sourced spirits, a less common practice in whiskey production.
  • Flavor Notes:
    • Smooth and sweet from the wheat bourbon.
    • Spicy and peppery notes from the rye bourbon.
  • Innovation: Known for breaking traditional bourbon taboos with its blending technique.

Old Scout American Whiskey

  • Award: Gold medal at the World Whiskies Awards.
  • Blend Composition: A mix of Tennessee whiskey and Smooth Ambler’s own bourbon.
  • Flavor Characteristics:
    • Distinctive and unique taste.
    • Melds the qualities of two different whiskey styles.
  • Profile: Offers a distinctive experience different from traditional single-source whiskeys.

Smooth Ambler Tour Information and Experience

The journey at Smooth Ambler begins with an engaging introduction to the distillery. This segment provides an overview of the distillery’s history, its philosophy, and the ethos behind their whiskey-making process. It’s an enlightening start that immerses visitors in the world of Smooth Ambler, setting the tone for the rest of the tour.

Dive into Distillery Operations

The tour progresses with an in-depth look at the operations of the distillery. This part of the tour includes detailed explanations about the sourcing of ingredients, the intricacies of the distillation process, and the art of blending various whiskeys. It’s a fascinating insight into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing high-quality whiskey.

The Heart of Production

Visitors are then taken to the main production area. The star attractions here are the 36-foot tall Vendome column still and the accompanying copper pot still doubler. These impressive pieces of equipment are central to the unique distillation process at Smooth Ambler, and seeing them up close is a highlight for many visitors.

The Mash Tank and Fermentation Process

The tour also includes a visit to the mash tank and fermenter area. Here, you’ll learn about the transformation of grain into fermentable mash and subsequently into distiller’s beer. This step is crucial in the whiskey-making process and offers visitors a deeper understanding of the science behind the spirit.

The Art of Barrelling

Another integral part of the tour is the barrel room. This is where the whiskey is aged, a process that significantly influences its flavor and character. The tour provides insights into the aging process and the importance of the rickhouses where the barrels are stored.

Blending Mastery

In the blending room, the true artistry of whiskey making comes to the fore. This is where different whiskeys are meticulously blended to create the distinctive flavors for which Smooth Ambler is known. The blending room is a testament to the skill and precision involved in crafting a balanced and flavorful whiskey.

The Bottling Line

If operational, the tour might include the bottling line. This stage is where the whiskey is prepared for distribution, and witnessing the bottling process offers a complete view of the journey from grain to glass.

Tasting the Spirit

A tour at Smooth Ambler wouldn’t be complete without a tasting session. This is an opportunity to sample a variety of their whiskeys, including some limited editions. It’s a chance to appreciate the nuances of flavor that each variety offers.

Souvenir Shopping at the Gift Shop

The tour typically concludes at the gift shop. Here, visitors can purchase their favorite whiskey to take home, along with a range of souvenirs that make for perfect mementos or gifts.

Flask & Barrel Review of Smooth Ambler

Nestled in the hills of West Virginia, Smooth Ambler has this down-to-earth, authentic vibe that I really dig. It’s not every day you find a distillery with such character, especially one that isn’t just following the old Kentucky playbook.

Now, let’s talk about the tour. The guide was top-notch – knowledgeable, engaging, and had a real passion for whiskey. We kicked things off with a bit of background on Smooth Ambler – their beginnings, philosophy, and approach to whiskey making. As someone who’s been on numerous tours, I appreciated the fresh take and the lack of pretension.

The production area was impressive. Their 36-foot Vendome column still is a sight to behold, and the copper pot still doubler adds that extra touch of class. It’s clear these folks take their craft seriously.

What stood out to me was the mash tank and fermenter section. There’s something about seeing the raw ingredients turn into something so refined that never gets old. And Smooth Ambler’s approach to sourcing and blending is unique – they’re not afraid to mix house-made and sourced spirits, which, let me tell you, results in some fantastic flavors.

The barrel room was another highlight. Learning about their aging process and seeing those barrels stacked high was a real treat. And the blending room? That’s where the magic happens. It’s one thing to read about blending techniques, but seeing it in action is something else.

The tasting session at the end was the cherry on top. Sampling their range, from the Contradiction blend to the Old Scout, was a delight. Each whiskey had its own character, and you could really taste the care and craftsmanship that went into them.

The only reason I’m not going full 5 out of 5 is the bottling line wasn’t operational during my visit. It would’ve been cool to see that in action. But hey, that’s just a minor point in an otherwise stellar experience.

What To Do Nearby Smooth Ambler

Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB): Located in Lewisburg, WV, this airport is not just a travel hub but also an interesting place to visit, offering a glimpse into local air travel.

Stuart’s Smokehouse & Seafood: In Alderson, WV, this spot is perfect for those looking to enjoy some local flavors. They offer a great selection of smoked meats and seafood.

The Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company: Also in Maxwellton, WV, this brewery is ideal for beer enthusiasts. It’s a great place to experience the local craft beer scene.

State Fair of West Virginia: Situated in Lewisburg, West Virginia, the State Fair is an annual event that showcases the region’s culture, agriculture, and more.

Harmony Ridge Gallery: Located in Lewisburg, WV, this gallery is a must-visit for art lovers. It features a range of works from local and regional artists.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Smooth Ambler?

Mi Tequila Mexican Restaurant: It has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. For reservations contact them at +13046473414 and their address is 584 Airport Rd, Lewisburg, WV 24901, United States.

Godfather’s Pizza: This restaurant has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. For reservations contact them at +13046459021 and their address is 14967 US-219, Lewisburg, WV 24901, United States.

Dutch Haus Restaurant: With a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps, this restaurant is another great option. For reservations contact them at +13046452723 and their address is 368 Brush Rd, Lewisburg, WV 24901, United States.

What hotels are near Smooth Ambler?

Quality Inn New River Gorge: This hotel has a rating of 4.1 stars on Google Maps. For reservations and more details, please contact the hotel +13045748256  and address is 103 Elliott’s Way, Fayetteville, WV 25840, United States.

Hampton Inn Lewisburg: This 3-star hotel enjoys a 4.5-star rating on Google Maps. For reservations and more details, please contact the hotel +13046457300  and address is 238 Coleman Dr, Lewisburg, WV 24901, United States.

Home2 Suites by Hilton Lewisburg: Another 3-star hotel, it also has a 4.5-star rating on Google Maps. For reservations and more details, please contact the hotel +13046475936 and address is 251 Grand Ave, Lewisburg, WV 24901, United States