Whiskey Review Round Up: Chattanooga Whiskey

, | February 21, 2020

Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by Chattanooga Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

Chattanooga Whiskey 91 and Chattanooga Whiskey CASK 111 are Tennessee straight bourbon whiskies with a high-malt mash bill. This unique, four-grain mash bill consists of yellow corn, malted rye, caramel malted barley, and honey malted barley. The high-malt content and sugar-maple charcoal adds a creamy, subtle sweetness that enhances the smoke and spiciness of these bourbons.

Chattanooga Whiskey 91 got it’s name because it was ‘Barrell 91’ out of one-hundred barrels distilled at Chattanooga Whiskey’s Experimental Distillery. The four-grain mash bill recipe was chosen by Master Distiller Grant McCracken. After being aged for a minimum of two years, in new toasted and charred oak barrels, Chattanooga Whiskey 91 is then finished in a charred 4000-gallon oak solera barrel.

Chattanooga Whiskey CASK 111 is made from the same four-grain mash bill as the 91; McCracken’s recipe of yellow corn and three malted grains: malted rye, caramel malted barley, and honey malted barley. Like the 91, Cask 111 is also aged for a minimum of two years in toasted and charred new oak barrels. However, Cask 111 is unfiltered, and it’s bottled at barrel strength at 111 proof. By skipping the filtration process, this straight bourbon whiskey remains strong and flavorful.

Both of these “Tennessee High Malt Whiskies” are essentially Tennessee straight bourbon whiskies that are malt-forward and carefully made is small batches. While the 91 is malty and sweet, with a medium body and lingering smokey finish; Cask 111 is full-bodied and rich, with complex flavors of smoke meets spice, a malty smoothness, and a hot, warming finish.

Chattanooga whiskeys

Chattanooga Whiskey 91 and Chattanooga Whiskey CASK 111 (image via Jenni Misiak/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Chattanooga Whiskey 91

Vital States: Aged in new, toasted and charred oak barrels. Finished in 4000-gallon charred oak solera barrels. Made from a mash bill of 51% corn, as well as three malted grains: malted rye, caramel malted barley, and honey malted barley. Bottled at 91 proof. 45.5% ABV. Priced at $35 for a 750ml bottle.

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Appearance: A medium, rich, golden color; like a honey and brown sugar body scrub. A shade of brownish-yellow copper, like the changing hues of falling leaves blowing carelessly in the wind.

Nose: Caramel apple and carnival foods. Familiar scents that remind me of my childhood; smells of buttered popcorn, fried elephant ears. A light smokiness comes thru, lingering like a campfire in the distance.

Palate: Sweet, sticky toffee and smooth vanilla bean. Creamy ice cream sundaes covered in thick, melted butterscotch, and rich, malted milkshakes coat my mouth.

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed the Chattanooga Whiskey 91. There was a light smokiness from  the charred oak and a sweet, creaminess from the malt that balanced each other out nicely. Notes of vanilla and sweet honey wafted through. The Chattanooga Whiskey 91 was good on the rocks, but I enjoyed it more mixed into fresh iced tea and garnished with lemon slices.

Score: 3.5/5

Tasting Notes: Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111

Vital Stats: Aged in new, toasted and charred oak barrels. Made from a mash bill of 51% corn, as well as three malted grains: malted rye, caramel malted barley, and honey malted barley. Unfiltered; bottled at barrel strength; 111 proof; 55.5% ABV. Priced at $45 for a 750ml bottle.

Appearance: A brownish yellow ray of sunshine, like slivers of light peeking thru tree branches, or various shades of browning yellow leaves falling to the ground. A delicious shade of burnt copper or dark, melted gold.

Nose: Stronger and spicier than the 91.It reminds me of the great outdoors, with waves of oak and cedar, liquid smoke and charcoal, summer family BBQ’s. A balance of spicy and sweet, with scents like fresh vanilla bean, and the aroma of sweet cherry pie cooling on the windowsill.

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Palate: Crunchy brown sugar sweetness and snickerdoodle ice cream. Rich flavors that are as deep and bold, as they are smooth and sweet. Creaminess of maple spiced oatmeal and grandma’s malt-o-meal, meets cinnamon spiced apple crisp on a brisk, fall morning.

Final Thoughts: I preferred the Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111 over the 91. The long maturation process of this unfiltered, high-malt whiskey helped to enhance it’s strong, bold flavors. It was a pleasure to try, both calming and warm. It was the perfect sipper to wash down the sweet bread and honey butter we enjoyed it with. It was hotter and spicier than the 91, but still malty sweet, and definately had deeper flavors.

The best way to enjoy this high-malt whiskey is on the rocks, or with just a splash or two of water to enhance it’s many bold flavors.

Score: 4/5

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Jenni Misiak

For as long as I can remember, writing has been a part of who I am. It's my creative outlet, my therapy. A good whiskey is kind of like that. The unique, bold flavors of each dram brings me to a place of comfort and warmth that only the smoothest...