Distilleries | Chattanooga Whiskey | Craft Distilleries | Review

Chattanooga Whiskey 111 Review

Last updated Jan 13, 2021 | Published on Sep 8, 2019

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by Matty Sims

#chattanoogawhiskey111Details
DistilledTennessee
ProductionSmall batch (8-12 barrels), extended fermentation (7 days), & single distillation run
AgeGreater than 2 years (NAS)
CooperageToasted and charred oak barrels
Proof111°
ABV55.5%
Price$47
DistilleryChattanooga Whiskey
ProsUnique Flavor Profile
ConsSome young whiskey flavor creeps up
Rating86
InventoryKeep Stocked

Prior to running through this tasting, I had never tried any product from Chattanooga Whiskey and knew nothing about the distillery. But I am a sucker for an experimental mash bill and “Tennessee High Malt” designation caught my eye (more on this below).

Chattanooga Whiskey 111 is technically a straight bourbon, but Tim Piersant, co-founder and CEO, has chosen not to market their whiskey under that label. That’s a bold move because for many of us that designation is a major authority signal and/or bragging point. But that’s not all — they’ve also shied away from the traditional Tennessee Whiskey label as well (they don’t charcoal filter).

Piersant explains,

“Every consumer who walks in our doors, says ‘you’re not bourbon’ and that got us to thinking, ‘what are we?’ and we wanted to celebrate our roots from Tennessee, but we are not a traditional Tennessee whiskey,”

Instead, they’ve opted for Tennessee High Malt (THM) — which is a play on words for their unique mash bill and their location high in the TN mountains.

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Chattanooga Whiskey 111’s Unique Mashbill

Chattanooga Whiskey 111

According to Tim Piersant’s Linkedin,

“Chattanooga Whiskey is THE ONLY ‘Tennessee High Malt’ Whiskey. 4 Grains, 3 Malts, 7 Day Fermentation, Barrel Aged w/ both a 4 & 3 Char + Toast, and Solera Barrel Finished in a 4K Gallon White Oak Barrel.”

Initially, Chattanooga Whiskey was sourcing their whiskey from MGP because distilling was illegal in Chattanooga, but Piersant and his former partner fought to make distilling legal, and now that it is there’s no looking back.

Chattanooga is revamping their lineup with its distillate. According to Forbes,

“In August [2019], Chattanooga Whiskey 91 will replace the company’s 1816 Reserve, and Chattanooga Whiskey 111 will replace 1816 Cask. While straight bourbons, these four grain bourbons (distilled at their distillery) include three specialty malts (malted rye, caramel malt barley, honey malt barley)”

This is the unfiltered, barrel strength big brother to their Chattanooga Whiskey 91 (THM). Chattanooga Whiskey also uses the solera process which is a fractional blending method of mixing that’s been used with wine, brandy, and other spirits to maintain flavor consistency. Its roots are in the Old World (Spain and Portugal to be exact), but it has, more recently, found its way into craft distilleries like Chattanooga and Hillrock Estate Distillery.

The idea with solera is you always have a little bit of old whiskey being kept in each barrel as the new make is blended in. No barrel is ever fully drained. There is always a remnant of older whiskey in each 4,000-gallon white oak barrel (although that percentage diminishes over time).

Chattanooga Whiskey 111 (Unfiltered Barrel Proof) Review

Chattanooga Whiskey 111

Call it straight bourbon. Call it Tennessee High Malt Whiskey, but don’t call it a gimmick. Chattanooga Whiskey 111’s mash bill delivers unique, full flavors that don’t disappoint especially at the price point. I would love to some kind of limited edition release at a higher age to see how the trifecta of malted grains (Malted Rye, Caramel Malted Barley & Honey Malted Barley) reacts to more time in the barrel.

Chattanooga Whiskey 111 in the Glass

Whiskey quickly coats then drips down the glass

Color

Deep rust color which is impressive for a younger whiskey. Maybe the toasted and charred barrels makes the whiskey provides the deep, rich color. I would’ve guessed 12 years plus from looking at the bottle.

Smell

Honey made from berries, raisins, grains, wet hay, black tea, cardamom. Lots of savory and floral notes.

Taste

Get the grains on the tip of the tongue which rolls into creamy sweetness on the side of the palate (think creamy oatmeal with figs, honey, toasted walnuts, chia seeds, & thyme) into black pepper down the back of the palate which leaves your mouth tingling. The heat rises to the top of the palate. There’s real umami in this whiskey.

Finish

Long spicy, black, and red peppercorn finish. The bourbon nerds will love the finish on this one.

The Verdict – Silver 86 out of 100 Points

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Chattanooga Whiskey 111 is savory. It’s like the traditional bourbon baking spice flavor profile got swapped out for a Middle Eastern spice flavor profile that’s savory and floral. At $47.00, it’s a no brainer if you’re the kind of whiskey drinker who enjoys stepping out of the box and experimenting with different flavor profiles.

I also commend Chattanooga Whiskey for showing people what flavor profiles are possible within the category. I hear a lot of Scotch drinks chuckle at bourbon drinkers because it all tastes like caramel and vanilla. Excuse me? says Chattanooga Whiskey. I picked up mine from Seelbach’s online.

Start shopping for bourbon swag for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is the Editor-in-Chief at a digital media company. LeAnn (his wife) and his daughters Claire, Maddy, and Adele along with a brand new pup Booker live in Taylors, SC, at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He enjoys cracking a well-aged bottle of bourbon with friends and sharing stories, or cracking one of his favorite daily sippers on the back porch while the pup and his kids play in the backyard. He is a storyteller at heart, and Bourbon has deep roots in storytelling.
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