1816 Cask American Whiskey
Chattanooga Whiskey Company
1439 Market Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Like millions of other Americans, I have recently learned to appreciate a good whiskey. After years of craft beers and (mostly) red wines, I have started drinking more whiskey. While I generally prefer bourbons such as Knob Creek, Four Roses, and Jefferson’s Reserve, I also enjoy a good Tennessee Whiskey now and then.
If you searched for Tennessee Whiskey and ended up here expecting to get an education on the Tennessee Whiskey production process, and the recent litigation concerning that process, you’ve come to the wrong place. Where I’m concerned, I don’t really care one way or the other if a company follows the Tennessee Whiskey process made famous by Jack Daniel’s. What matters to me is whether or not I like the whiskey.
When it comes to Chattanooga Whiskey, the answer is a resounding YES. I very much enjoy their whiskey. I first experienced Chattanooga Whiskey at a local Nashville restaurant. That night, I had the 1816 Reserve, which is a 90 proof whiskey, aged 6.5 years in American white oak barrels. The mash bill consists of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley. I loved it, so I thought I would try the 1816 Cask for this review. I will make an effort to review the Reserve in a future post. I know. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it, right?
Chattanooga Whiskey Co. is located on Market Street in downtown Chattanooga – right across from the world-famous Chattanooga Choo Choo. They opened in 2015 and started distilling the first whiskey made in Chattanooga in over 100 years. They use a still called “Doc” that was made by a local company just for them. I haven’t visited the distillery, but it’s definitely on the list for my next visit to Chattanooga.
The 1816 Cask Tennessee Stillhouse American Whiskey is a barrel selection of their whiskeys which are then bottled at cask strength. Presumably, it is a blend of the Reserve which is (as noted on their web site) taken from barrels selected for their bold character. This whiskey is 113.6 proof, and it’s not for the faint of heart. It definitely packs a punch. I found it to be, however, very smooth and incredibly soft – especially for a whiskey of this proof.
On the nose, you pick up some caramel and perhaps a hint of vanilla. I also noted oak and toffee. The aroma is very pleasing…like I-want-a-candle-that-smells-like-this pleasing. On the tongue, you will notice some stronger notes, such as cinnamon and apple, with a touch of butterscotch to even it out. It is at once both bold and smooth. As I mentioned above, the mouth feel is very soft, almost velvety. There is some heat, due mainly, I suppose, to the strength of the whiskey, but most of the heat is on the finish with hints of pepper and cinnamon. I felt the warming sensation from my mouth all the way down. It was fantastic.
My first tasting was neat, because I wanted to taste the whiskey in unadulterated form. The next night, I tried it on the rocks. I allowed the ice to melt a bit, then tasted the whiskey again. As you would expect, the heat was not as strong, but it was still there. The flavor was not as intense when sipped on the rocks. I don’t know that the ice muted the flavors – it was more a matter of blending them, if that makes sense. The whiskey was, however, every bit as good on the rocks. In fact, I think I prefer it that way. Given the cask strength of this whiskey, I would recommend drinking it on the rocks anyway. You’ll be able to enjoy more of it that way.
I purchased the 1816 Cask Stillhouse American Whiskey for $44 (750 ML). At this point, I don’t think Chattanooga Whiskey is available everywhere. If it’s not available in your area, you can request it on their web site by entering your Zip Code. It will be worth it. Trust me on this.