Chattanooga Whiskey 1816 Reserve
From Bourbon Scout contributor Mike B:
Being a frugal alcoholic beverage consumer and not wanting to waste much time when I’m out with friends, my first round is usually “a shot and a beer.” Two things I’ve learned:
1) Get the whisky you know best; and
2) Make sure you specifically ask about that "special" seasonal brew.
If I get one more Gose disguised as something crafted for the Summer (or the Winter or the Apocalypse), I will not merely send it back; I will send it through the air in its Weizen glass.
Here's my ideal Boilermaker:
- Seagrams VO GOLD; or
- Any spicy Canadian Rye (blends are fine as long as they are not Canadian Club or Seagram’s 7); or
- Any Rye (still no CC or Seagram’s 7); or
- Crown Royal (if there is nothing else but Malibu up there)
- An Imperial; or
- A Belgian; but never a Wheat.
On special occasions, I like a "Dragon's Milk" (New Holland's best roasted stout).
Say the following to bartender: “I’d like to start a tab.” Shot & a Beer here please.”
Immediately pound small glass then start sipping from large glass.
So why am I capturing my pet peeves when I should be talking about a Tennessee Whiskey (which, thank you God, is nothing like the famous one that ships overseas in unwashed oil tankers re-christened “Ole Blue Eyes”)? The most important contrast/compliment for the beer is a rye that is tight and spicy. Strong enough to linger and eventually morph with the brew and not be washed away by it.
So the heart of the matter in properly enjoying a shot and a beer is also in the heart of this mostly 75% corn mash….it’s the perfect amount and type of RYE and time left untouched in new oak. The anonymous three letter distiller in Indiana that banged out this winner for Chattanooga threw in 21 % Rye and the remaining bit of barley malt must have made the difference!
This writer is wondering if you sense that there was quite a pause between this paragraph and the previous one that ended with an oomph! How long does it take to go trawling on the internet re: popular topics? Not long….35 minutes.
“NOW WE KNOW WHY MIKE!”
In 2012, the owners of the Chattanooga Whiskey Company came across a mother load of 1,200 barrels of untouched Lawrenceville Distillers’ Hooch sleeping secretly (as it was their custom) amongst the LDI inventory that was part of the sale/merger with MGP. The Bourbon in those barrels is at least 9 years old; from the great recession! Your homework for tonight is to uncover what LDI initially called the stuff submitted and won with in San Francisco in 2016. Chattanooga has shared their good fortune by pricing these bottles well below what heavier underhanded marketing would have commanded. For us, it’s like betting on a two year old filly with questionable lineage but we know a champion thoroughbred when we taste one…
Chattanooga is also calling their new base of operations/tourist attraction on The Whiskey Trail an EXPERIMENTAL DISTILLERY. One where other fire sale beauties lay waiting to become the starter of some special blends that are being released a few at a time (and hopefully evaluated by some of us in the future). As of last year there were 170 barrels put away of over 50 different styles of pre-MGP bourbons in an underground & naturally heated cellar. The experimenting will pay off on how well they recorded the weights and measures of additional ingredients, different toasts and chars so a winner can be replicated. Founder Tim Piersant states their “Tennesee High Malt’s” speculative Scotch signature will be one that emphasizes high levels of malt and yeast. Some will be for all intent and purpose; distilled beers (which the Bourbon Scout has admitted liking before). Not a single barrel has less than 25% malt. Many of which are over 51% malt. Sounds exciting but it probably won’t be anything resembling the dram I just fell in love with…
What we have here is the same effort to roll the dice the way Virginia Distillery Co. did (and won big) with the securing of a supply of Scottish Highlands Mash bill. This time the good stuff was not separated by an ocean, on sale and not vacuum sealed along with some peat bog and a drop or two of tartan plaid food coloring.
Chattanooga Whiskey 1816 Reserve is available online and it’s a lot less than Basil Hayden and half the price of Angel’s Envy. If you like a smooth and spicy High Rye type bourbon, get this style while it lasts (or ends up in a Rob Roy).
Chattanooga Whiskey Company
$33 online at http://store.chattanoogawhiskey.com or http://seelbach.com
Batch No.: unknown but made by LDI in 2007-2008 (same batch won Double Gold at 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition)
Mash Bill: 75% Corn Mash, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley
Color: Deep Amber
Nose: Soft and textured like fine pipe tobacco. Very strong but pleasing straight out of the bottle.
Tasting notes: The great aroma will eventually end with ripe green apple minutes later. In the middle a lingering, stinging yet refined rye spice placed against a sweet corn and apple backdrop. Clean, warm, long lasting finish.
Overall: B+. A very well kept secret stash whose days might be numbered before very different editions replace it.