Chattanooga Whiskey most likely isn’t a distillery which is familiar to those outside of the United States (or even those outside of Tennessee).
It is an important distillery though, with the founders petitioning to get State law changed after Prohibition-era rules prevented distilling.
The successful campaign enabled the distillery’s ‘Tennessee Stillhouse’ to be opened in Chattanooga in 2015 and we were lucky enough to visit a few months later while touring Kentucky.
Given that the new distillery couldn’t produce whiskey from day one, the first ‘1816’ expressions are produced at the white-label factory distillery in Lawrenceburg to the Chattanooga recipe.
The trading post which became Chattanooga was established in 1816 and the mashbill of the whiskey is intended to represent this pre-prohibition flavour profile, consisting of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley.
Two expressions are currently available, the 1816 Reserve and the 1816 Cask. Both are the same Bourbon whiskey, with different bottling strengths.
We purchased a bottle of the 1816 Cask which is bottled at a healthy 56.8% ABV. Our notes are below.
Massive punch of woody vanilla sweetness, but also accompanied by a pleasant green earthy note and butterscotch caramel.
Rich, silky mouth feel with candy floss sugar sweetness being the first note.
When the vanilla arrives, it is held in the oiliness of the liquid and becomes a delicious sweet mixture (custard oil?) which coats the mouth.
Before the sweetness gets too much, green spice arrives and balances things out well.
That oiliness holds the flavours superbly and the finish is long and full. The sweetness holds, but the final flavours are green rye which lingers for a good while.
I’m a big fan of this 1816 Cask Whiskey and the big bold pre-prohibition mashbill generates some delicious flavours.
Sometimes rye-driven whiskies can be too much for my palate, but this 1816 has enough sweetness to balance things and the cask strength gives more than enough body to the liquid.
Definitely worth getting hold of if you get the opportunity. The distillery’s distribution is still quite limited so may require a road trip!