Located across the street from the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo, the whiskey distillery became the first one to operate in Chattanooga since Prohibition.
In 2012, Chattanooga Whiskey began importing whiskey runs [1816 Cask & Reserve] from Lawrenceburg Distillers, in Indiana.
By November 2015, Chattanooga Whiskey was producing its own whiskey, the first in Chattanooga in 100 years — appropriately named ‘100 First Taste.’ It took that long to change Tennessee’s distilling laws, to allow whiskey distilling in Hamilton County [where Chattanooga is located].
Today, the downtown location experiments with new whiskey formulas — & a riverfront location produces runs of selected whiskey recipes, in larger, production quantities.
SGS attendees (left to right) Carl and Cheryl Lester, David Crenshaw, Marc Kosanovich, and Chip Cutcliff were part of a group of ten, who took the tour of the downtown experimental distillery.
In addition to seeing where the experimental mash is produced, we saw a 135 gallon still that produces distillates that are funneled down to the barrel loading facility, in the basement.
The various whiskey types are produced by aging the distillates from different mash recipes — in a variety of carefully sourced oak barrels, with selective degrees of charring [on the inside of the barrels] & aging times.
A basement storage area, full of experimental whiskey recipes being aged in oak barrels, was an amazing site.
After the tour was complete, SGS attendees were treated to a ‘Whiskey Tasting Flight’ of six Chattanooga Whiskeys, including:
- Silver [100 Proof] — The signature Tennessee High Malt recipe that has only ‘kissed’ a charred barrel. It showcases notes of honeysuckle, pear, graham cracker & caramel corn.
- 91 [91 Proof] — Exhibits notes of dried apricot, sweet tea & honeyed toast; medium bodied with a lingering, malty-sweet finish.
- Cask 111 [111 Proof] — It has notes of chocolate covered cherry, toasted coconut & cinnamon; full bodied, with a warming, malty finish.
- Founder’s Blend [100 Proof] — A blend of 3 whiskeys with origins in Lawrenceburg, Indiana & Chattanooga, Tennessee, it features notes of root beer float, black cherry, toasted oak & toffee bar; full bodied, with a cedar & sweet smoke finish.
- 99 Rye [99 Proof] — Exhibits notes of fruit cake, cola spice, sage & toasted rye; full bodied, with a malty sweet & spicy finish.
- Experimental Batch 023: Aquavit [88 Proof] — Features p notes of deli rye bread, black currant, licorice root, candied citrus; reminiscent of Norwegian gin.
After the tour & tasting, SGS attendees crossed the street & dined at STIR — located next door to the Chattanooga Choo Choo entrance.
STIR specializes in oysters & other seafood delicacies, all prepared fresh, from scratch.
Over dinner, members discussed their most recent acquisitions of southern gold coins & related ephemera. A fine time was had by all.
A special thank you to our Chattanooga Whiskey tour guide, Hollis, and tasting crew, Trinity and Caleb.