I’d like to thank the folks at Chattanooga Whiskey for providing these review samples to me with no strings attached.
I’ve been playing a lot of the game Kerbal Space Program lately. Like 146 hours over the last month sort of a lot. I love this game. If you are unaware, the game takes place on a planet very similar to our own that is inhabited by a race of immensely cute small green creatures called Kerbals. As the name of the game suggests, these little creatures want to go to space. And the game uses fairly realistic physics to allow you to build and test various rockets to try to get them there. It was almost uniquely crafted to appeal to someone like me.
Like many kids, when I was a child, I wanted to be an astronaut. Unlike many kids, that dream never died as I got older. In fact, even though I realized that the dream of being an astronaut was highly unlikely I actively cultivated an interest in science, engineering and physics throughout high school. Unfortunately, I got distracted from my goal of an Astrophysics degree by the newly unlimited freedom I found while living away from home during my Freshman year of college. Distraction led to time off from school, getting married, having a family and deciding to explore my creative side when I finally did go back to school.
Now, I was aware of the game for many years. But for one reason or another, I never picked it up. It wasn’t until the most recent expansion caught my attention that I realized that I should probably give this thing a look. And boy, have I looked. Like I said I’ve played for over 20% of the time that has passed since I bought the game.
Now much like Kerbal Space Program, I have been aware of Chattanooga Whiskey company for many years. For the longest time, their main product has been whiskey that they sourced from other producers. I had read that they were looking to sell that while their own was aging but until recently, hadn’t seen any evidence of it coming to fruition (not living in their part of the country and all). So when they asked if they could send me samples of two new bourbons that they had distilled and aged for themselves, I said yes.
They call the new new bourbons Tennessee High Malt bourbons. They are made from a mash of yellow corn, malted rye, caramel malted barley and honey malted barley. Each was fermented for seven days and then aged for at least two years in 53 gallon barrels that have number three and number four levels of char (some in each kind of barrel, obviously). After primary aging, the bourbons for the 91 proof are finished in a charred, 4000 gallon Solera barrel before being non-chill filtered. The CASK 111 proof is unfiltered. All in all, an interesting mashbill and an interesting process. Let’s see if the final product is just as interesting.
Chattanooga Whiskey: Tennessee High Malt Bourbons
Purchase Info: These bottles were graciously provided by Chattanooga Whiskey for review purposes. They are available in 750 mL bottles throughout the Southeast US for a suggested retail price of $34.99 for the 91 proof and $44.99 for the CASK 111 proof.
Chattanooga Whiskey 91
Details: 45.5% ABV. Non-chill filtered. Solera finished.
Nose: Caramel, cinnamon, malted rye
Mouth: Cinnamon red hots, toffee, red fruits, and nutty notes
Finish: Medium length and warm with notes of malted rye and a capsaicin-like spice.
Chattanooga Whiskey CASK 111
Details: 55.5% ABV. Unfiltered.
Nose: Deep rich butterscotch pudding. Reminds me of the gift shop at the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center.
Mouth: Butterscotch pudding, capsaicin-spice, malted rye and nutty notes.
Finish: Long and warm with lingering notes of malted rye and red fruits.
Thoughts: This is a very interesting bourbon (and not in the passive-aggressive Minnesota way that means you don't like it). I'm digging the way the malted rye flavor layers through the bourbons bringing an almost "brandy" feeling to it. It's probably the first whiskey to use malted rye that I’ve liked. These both work very nicely in cocktails (especially those using an Amaro) and are nice "change of pace" sippers. I’d guess that this is different enough from the standard bourbon profile that it could be pretty polarizing. People will either dig it or they will hate it. Overall, I like it. Maybe not as much as Kerbal Space Program, but enough so that if I am in Chattanooga I'll be stopping in for a visit.
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