Review: Chattanooga Whiskey 99 Rye
Tennessee-based Chattanooga Whiskey continues rolling out expressions, its latest — a permanent addition to the company’s lineup — is Chattanooga Whiskey 99 Rye Malt (aka Chattanooga Whiskey Tennessee Rye Malt).
This is distilled by Chattanooga, not sourced, and is aged for more than 3 years in 53 gallon barrels. Some additional info:
Chattanooga Whiskey 99 Rye, like Chattanooga Whiskey 91 and Cask 111, was among the first recipes released at the Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Distillery, as Experimental Batch 007: Tennessee Rye Malt, in May 2018. Based on the popularity of Batch 007 – and under the guidance of Head Distiller Grant McCracken – production of Rye Malt was scaled up at the Chattanooga Whiskey Riverfront Distillery and is now available for market-wide distribution.
Following in Chattanooga Whiskey’s unique malt-forward approach to bourbon, Tennessee Rye Malt is the distillery’s malt-forward approach to rye. Crafted using malted rye as the dominant grain (60 percent), the mash bill includes a blend of slow toasted and drum roasted rye malts, which contribute a warm, rich baking spice character to this Rye Malt expression. [Corn and barley round out the mashbill.] “The richness and sweetness is on par with a bourbon, but the spicy complexity still delivers on the style and expectations of a great rye whiskey,” McCracken said. “Our version of a straight rye malt whiskey is a rye lover’s rye, but also a bourbon lover’s rye.”
Let’s give it a whirl!
The nose kicks off with a moderate punch of peanut — lending credence to the “bourbon lover’s rye” claim — but from there it moves to more traditional rye notes of spice and eucalyptus, with some barrel char influence. Time in glass brings out some red fruit aromas.
The palate is heavily spicy with a bold apple butter note; combined with some of the whiskey’s youthful doughy character, it eventually comes across a bit like an apple fritter. Things get a little bitter and more restrained as the surprisingly dry finish approaches — any early sweetness and fruit is quickly gobbled up here, perhaps by the higher alcohol level. Water offers a little improvement, opening up the spice to take you into more of an apple pie realm, though the finish remains short yet aggressively pungent.
B / $40 / chattanoogawhiskey.com