Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Chattanooga Whiskey Co.
Distillery: Chattanooga Riverfront Distillery
Release Date: August 2019
Age: 2 Years
Mashbill: Yellow Corn, Malted Rye, Caramel Malted Barley & Honey Malted Barley (exact percentages not disclosed)
MSRP: $35 (2019)
In 2011, Chattanooga Whiskey became the first legal distillery in Chattanooga in over 100 years. In 2019, the distillery produced two new signature expressions, Chattanooga Whiskey 91 and Chattanooga Whiskey CASK 111. The company states that the signature recipe - known as “Barrel 91” - for Chattanooga Whiskey 91 was selected by Head Distiller Grant McCracken from the first 100 experimental barrels created at the Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery.
Chattanooga Whiskey 91 is a four grain straight bourbon consisting of corn and three distinct malts, which the company labels a Tennessee High Malt whiskey. The bourbon is aged for at least 2 years in two different charred and toasted white oak barrels before undergoing a Solera finishing process. For the Solera finishing, the company brings together almost 100 barrels into a 4,000-gallon, charred, white oak Solera finishing barrel, which never goes empty. Each batch size of Chattanooga Whiskey 91 consists of 8-12 barrels in total. The bottle being reviewed comes from batch number 19F17R.
The nose opens with a large dose of malted grains that builds a base atop of a mingling of oak, Bing cherries, sweet bread, brown sugar. The scents presented are nicely balanced and are a pleasant way to start the sip.
Brown sugar and malted grains are immediately noticeable. The lower proof makes this bourbon easy to roll around your mouth, and in doing so, further reveals aged oak, leather, and a touch of vanilla. It’s an overall simple, yet enjoyable palate.
Leather, oak, a hint of malt, and white pepper start off the finish and transition to dry oak. The finish is short, and while a fine way to end the sip, it doesn’t convey the same level of depth as the nose and palate.
Chattanooga Whiskey 91 is a rare oddity in today’s marketplace. It’s a predominantly malted bourbon that utilizes a Solera process and is finally batched in a 8-12 barrel size volume. Oh and it comes from Tennessee - not exactly a combination you see every day.
From a flavor perspective, Chattanooga Whiskey 91 tastes like what you expect from a malted bourbon. The Solera process, or more accurately their version of it which is a hybrid of vating and a true solera process, helps to provide an end result that tastes a lot older than the bourbon’s actual age. This process also allows for more consistency, yet still allows unique flavors between batches. Combined, these traits allow Chattanooga Whiskey 91 to stand out amongst the crowd.
Coming in at $35, Chattanooga Whiskey 91 is a rarity in today’s marketplace on two fronts. It’s one of the least expensive Solera aged whiskeys you can find on the market. While others, such as Blade & Bow and Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Bourbon are both priced under a hundred dollars and undergo a more true Solera aging system as compared with Chattanooga's hybrid version, neither can compete with Chattanooga Whiskey Co.’s price.
Additionally, this is one of the more inexpensive bourbons from a newer distillery that you’ll find on the market. Often upstart distilleries price their bourbon at $40 or more. While there are exceptions, many younger distilleries aren’t aging their product as long or are aging their whiskey in smaller barrels. For $35, Chattanooga Whiskey 91 delivers a great value for what they offer.
A unique “Tennessee High Malt Whiskey,” Chattanooga Whiskey 91 is a bourbon that delivers a fair balance of flavors at a reasonable price.
Chattanooga Whiskey 91 is a nice introduction to what the distillery declares to be a Tennessee High Malt Whiskey. It delivers a mostly well-balanced sip that at only 91 proof, is flavorful and easy to enjoy. Additionally, Chattanooga Whiskey 91 provides an inexpensive way for those that haven’t tried a high malted bourbon before to try one without breaking the bank. It’s a bourbon worth seeking out for those looking to switch things up from a more traditionally made and tasting bourbon.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Chattanooga Whiskey Co. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.