DSR – TN – 006: Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111
Company/Distillery: Chattanooga Whiskey
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Mash Bill: Yellow Corn, Malted Rye, Caramel Malted Barley, and Honey Malted Barley
Age Statement: Greater than 2 years
Proof/ABV: 111 Proof/55.5 ABV
Color & Viscosity: Caramel/Orange blossom honey. Medium viscosity in the glass.
Purchase Price: $47.00 for 750 ml bottle; A big thanks goes out to Seth Rhine for securing and delivering this bottle for us!
Bottle Label Information:
“Grant McCracken Head Distiller”
“Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
“Hand crafted in small batches, our Tennessee High Malt is made from four grains, including three select specialty malts, for a distinctly rich & complex character.”
“Cask 111 is the unfiltered, small batch expression of our signature Tennessee High Malt recipe. Distilled from a single fermentation, each 6-10 barrel lot has been hand-selected to highlight the subtle nuances of the distinctly full-bodied & robust Straight Bourbon Whiskey. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.”
“Batch Number 20E08R | Fermentation 18B15R”
“Mash Bill: Yellow Corn, Malted Rye, Caramel Malted Barley, & Honey Malted Barley | Fermentation: Attemperated, 7 days | Cooperage: 53 Gallon, Toasted & Charred Oak Barrels | Filtration: None – Bottle occasionally captures barrel sediment | Age: Greater than 2 years | Batch Size: 6-10 Barrels”
“Distilled, Aged & Bottled by Chattanooga Whiskey, Chattanooga, TN”
Chattanooga Whiskey was founded in 2011, by Tim Piersant and Joe Ledbetter. Shockingly, despite being more than 75 years since Prohibition, distilling whiskey in Chattanooga presented significant hurdles for the duo. Pre-Prohibition saw the city of Chattanooga as a hustling and bustling city with a vibrant and healthy distillation community. In fact, the city had over 30 distilleries and almost 100 liquor dealers actively doing business. As with many other locations in the United States, that all changed in the early 1900’s with the Prohibition era and the ceasing of whiskey production by the “Bone Dry Bill.”
In 2009, the State of Tennessee finally started to open back up to distillation (outside of Lincoln, Moore, and Coffee Counties). Tennessee law makers would vote to expand approval of distillation to 41 counties in the state. A significant step forward, however, one that would leave out Hamilton County – home of Chattanooga Whiskey.
In 2011, with the founding of Chattanooga Whiskey, Piersant and Ledbetter vowed to fight in order to have Hamilton County approved for distillation again. While they worked feverishly to change the law, the duo started sourcing whiskey in 2012 and would release their first bottling in April of that same year. The legislative fight continued on with several roadblocks and hurdles created by the normal day-to-day politics. Finally, in May 2013, Piersant and Ledbetter would see House Bill 102 known as “The Whiskey Bill” pass and open the door for their distillery to begin the production of whiskey in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In December 2014, the distillery added former brewer Grant McCracken as Master Distiller. Less than 1 year later, in November 2015, Chattanooga Whiskey would release its first distilled spirit known as Chattanooga Whiskey 100. Currently, the distillery offers three major lines of their products – Tennessee High Malt, 1816 Series, and the Experimental Series. Offerings in these lines include Chattanooga Whiskey 91 Proof, Chattanooga Whiskey 99 Rye, Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111, 1816 Reserve, 1816 Cask Strength, 1816 Single Barrel, 1816 Beer Barrel Finish, and many experimental releases.
Check out their website for more information on the distillery and their many interesting experimental products.
Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111
Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111 uses a unique mash bill of yellow corn, malted rye, caramel malted barley, and honey malted barley. This is a true small batch offering, only using 8-12 barrels from a single distillation run. The whiskey is bottled at cask strength at 111 proof, is unfiltered, and is aged at least 2 years prior to bottling. Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111 is part of the distillery’s Tennessee High Malt series of products and is available in a large portion of the south east, Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio.
Tasting Date/Vessel: November 1, 2020 – Neat in Glencairn Glass
Christian: Before I pour some of this whiskey into my Glencairn glass, I first took a sniff of the bottle. I quickly picked up floral and cherry notes. I poured a decent amount into my Glencairn and gave it a swirl. I first detected a decent amount of ethanol in the nose, when not giving it much time to open up. As I swirl the spirit further, the ethanol gives way to an agreeable profile of sweet honey maple butter and a dash of caramel. I also notice a very light floral note in this nose. Adding a few drops of distilled water brings forward the pleasant aromas of caramel, brown sugar, berries, and vanilla bean.
Mike: As I lift the glass from mouth to nose, a light sweetness developed and intensified. Rich caramel and fruitful honey present themselves wonderfully in the neck of the Glencairn. A gentle swirl releases a youthful ethanol aroma and an essence of soft new leather. As I continue swirling the whiskey and pulling the glass back and forth gently, the fruitiness swells, very cereal like–Fruit Loops or Fruity Pebbles come to mind.
Christian: The mouth feel on this pour is velvety, yet thick, and a bit oily. My first sip of this whiskey fills my palate with honey and fresh baked bread. As I continue to experience this pour further, a slight hint of chocolate syrup and malt, similar to the candy Whoppers, teases my taste buds. It is delicate but present, nonetheless. The distilled water makes the mouth feel even more delicate and soft. Corn really moves forward with a steady dose of caramel and light honey. A freshly popped sweet caramel corn comes to mind.
Mike: The mouthfeel is incredibly dry upon the first sip. Flavors of leather and oak are sharp mid-tongue. A gentle hint of citrus rind is noticed as I continue sipping, which offers a mild bitterness. The mouth closes with an agreeable steeped black tea flavor.
Christian: The finish really dominates this pour. Medium to long finish that is warm and intensifies slightly as the spirit moves deep down into the body. In the finish, I detect a slight hazelnut or almond extract, black pepper kick, and cinnamon. As I allow the flavors to develop long after I have swallowed the whiskey I notice a sweet fruitiness of apple sneaking into the picture – but this comes very very late. The finish doesn’t change a lot with the addition of water. A slight hint of stone fruit becomes apparent with an added bitterness from fresh roasted coffee.
Mike: As the black tea fades, caramelized brown sugar lingers on the palate. The finish is moderate and surprisingly mild for a 111 proof bourbon. There is a mild rye zesty-ness that is present but fails to strengthen and subtly fades.
Christian: Just as advertised, Chattanooga Whiskey Cask 111 offers a full-bodied and robust drinking experience that is relatively unique from other offerings available on the market. One thing that jumped out at me, in a good way, is that every sip changes and offers a different flavor profile then the one before. This makes it difficult to nail down tasting profiles for the sake of a review, however, it makes for a fun and interesting drinking experience. The use of two different malted barleys in one mash bill really creates a flavor profile that is slightly different from other offerings out there and makes this whiskey an intriguing pour. Bottom-line: I really enjoyed this pour. It is not the most complex whiskey on the market, but, it is pretty damn good. Give it a try – I like it equally neat or with a few drops of distilled water. Either one works nicely and provides a different experience.
Rating: 3.25 Rickhouses
Mike: The addition of distilled water produces fragrant brown sugar and vanilla bean aromas. Those fragrances are very rich and almost intoxicating. The mouthfeel is softened overall and very leathery. Surprisingly, there is not much alteration to the finish with a splash of water.
This is not an overly complex bourbon, generally speaking. The nose is very aromatic but the mouthfeel leaves me wanting much more. The finish is respectable and as mentioned previously, surprisingly docile. This is just an average whiskey for me. I feel like it should pack a lot more flavor at 111 proof than it does. Perhaps a couple extra years or a lower proof would distinguish additional flavor characteristics.
Rating: 3.0 Rickhouses