Advantage AFter Hours episode 4
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Advantage After Hours Episode 4: Chattanooga Whiskey Experimental Batch 034 – Pecan Infused Review

After Rocco and Zach talked about flavored whiskies in the previous episode, we decided to try one. In Episode 4 of Advantage After Hours, we taste and review Experimental Batch 034 from Chattanooga Whiskey.

Advantage After Hours shows what happens when four guys (and occasional special guests) with vastly different whiskey tastes and experiences try and review a whiskey for the first time. Naturally, the result is a well-rounded review from four different perspectives, rather than just from the hardcore bourbon drinkers that you find in most reviews.

About Chattanooga Whiskey

Craft distillers have come a long way the past few years, from “overpriced mediocrity” to outperforming the larger sprits market in just a few years. Still, there is a lot out there that falls short — it takes a lot to break through in a crowded market, from money to time to ideas and knowing how to bring those ideas to life the right way.

Chattanooga Whiskey Co. is one of the craft distillers that is getting it right. So much so that they were named craft producer of the year in 2023 by Whisky Magazine and the World Whiskies Awards.

Founded in 2011, Chattanooga Whiskey aimed to bring back “Whiskey to the People” following the Prohibition laws that had still prevented distilled spirits in Hamilton County. Tim Piersant and Joe Ledbetter decided it was time to change that. On Oct. 14, 2011, they launched a social media campaign that said, “Would you drink Chattanooga Whiskey?” After a great response, they officially launched a “Vote Whiskey” campaign to get the law changed.

In November of 2012, the Hamilton County commission chamber voted 7-0 to adopt a nonbinding resolution to the Tennessee General Assembly, requesting the state law be amended. In January 2013, Republican congressman Joe Carr drafted “The Whiskey Bill” and in May it passed by a vote of 57-33. It was signed into law on May 16, 2013.

In September 2014, Chattanooga Whiskey began development of an experimental distillery downtown and it opened in March of 2015. That November, they released “100”, the first whiskey produced in Chattanooga in 100 years.

Chattanooga Whiskey opened a Riverfront Distillery in March of 2017, and that August released Batch 001 — a Tennessee High Malt bourbon, the first aged whiskey released in Chattanooga in 102 years.

What is Tennessee High Malt? While still considered a bourbon or a rye, Chattanooga’s offerings contain a high percentage of malted grains in their mash bills. The malting process turns starches into enzymes and sugars that make the grain more responsive to fermentation and add a different flavor to the whiskey. Whereas corn typically provides sweeter flavors, rye spicy, and wheat bready (in generalizations), malted grains tend to add more rich chocolate, toasty, nutty, or cola notes.

What Chattanooga Whiskey does really well is push the envelope through their experimental distillery. Like mad scientists, they’re always trying different malted grains, blends, and finishing techniques. They release these as small batches every few months that are only available at the downtown distillery and sometimes online, but not through distribution. Whether they turn out great, just okay, or downright bad is fine because they’re one-off releases aimed at trying new things.

Their Products

Chattanooga Whiskey has a solid line of products and special releases.

  • 91 Tennessee High Malt – Chattanooga’s signature “Barrel 91” mash bill, a 4-grain including yellow corn, malted rye, caramel malted barley, and honey malted barley, aged at least 2 years and finished in a 4000-gallon solera barrel.
  • Cask 111 Tennessee High Malt – Bottled at 111 proof, the unfiltered version of 91 is made from 6-10 barrels at a time (one select fermentation and distillation run).
  • 99 Rye Tennessee High Malt – A 99 proof straight rye malt whiskey with a mash bill containing pale malted rye, yellow corn, caramel malted rye, and chocolate malted rye. Named among Whiskey Advocate’s Top 20 Whiskies of 2020.
  • Bottled in Bond – A single-season, vintage-dated expression of their Tennessee High Malt style, crafted from a wide selection of unique bourbon mash bills — all made within the same distilling season — and each comprised of at least 25% specialty malt grains.
  • Barrel Finishing Series – A limited edition finishing series crafted from a combination of unique mash bills — each containing at least 25% specialty malt — made to complement the flavor characteristics of the finishing barrel. Past releases include port cask, scotch cask, cabernet cask, and the newest release, white port cask.
  • Founder’s – Their special anniversary blend, the most recent 11th Anniversary Blend is comprised of three different whiskeys finished in three separate charred oak solera barrels, representing the past (“1816” Barrel), the present (“91” Barrel), and the future (“Infinity” Barrel).
  • Experimental Series – A limited collection born from their 100-gallon experimental distillery, each batch utilizes a multitude of grains, techniques, and unique ingredients to express uncompromised creativity and innovation. These are only available at the experimental distillery in downtown Chattanooga and sometimes on Seelbach’s. Past releases include Smoked High Malt, Scottish Style High Malt, Mead Barrel Finished, Coffee Infused, Fig Infused Amaro, Aquavit, and Bourbon Barreled Limoncello, to name a few.

Experimental Batch 034: Pecan Infused

The Details

Type: Bourbon Liqueur

Company: Chattanooga Whiskey

Distilled By: Chattanooga Whiskey

Price: $55

Age: 4-7 years

Mash Bill: Blend of 10 unique high-malt bourbon mash bills

Proof: 84

Tasted In: Glencairn

The Review

Unlike our first two high-proof tastings (Uncut the Younger and Buzzard’s Roost Single Barrel), and our third (the more mid-proofed Yellowstone Toasted), this one isn’t even considered a bourbon. It began as one — or rather, a blend of 10 high malt bourbon mash bills — but then had ingredients added to it which turned it into a bourbon liqueur.

Specifically, it was roasted pecans, vanilla beans, cacao nibs, coconut, orange peel, and dark Belgian candi syrup that were infused into the 4 to 7-year old blend that includes corn, malted corn, malted barley, smoked malted barley, malted rye, malted wheat, malted triticale, and rice. It was double pot distilled with a batch size of 7 toasted and charred oak barrels.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on here.

It was apparent right from the first pour (well, really from just looking at the liquid inside the bottle) that this was a totally different product that the whiskeys we’ve been tasting. The thick, syrupy, almost black body that coats the inside of the glencairn will never be mistaken for whiskey despite its 84 proof.

Jim, who mostly just likes a Jack and Coke, said it would be great over vanilla ice cream and noted that while it is sweet he expected it to be much sweeter.

Justin, our most experienced whiskey drinker, took it a step further, suggesting that adding it to a Portillo’s chocolate cake shake would make a great boozy milkshake.

Matt, who has a good base and is starting to branch out, tasted some toffee and chocolate and agreed that it’s a dessert drink.

Our special guest, Paul the fabricator who doesn’t drink whiskey and likes Coors Light, noted that there was no burn that you typically get from bourbon and the aftertaste lingers even after taking a sip of water.

The Verdict

All four of us agreed that it’s certainly not an everyday drinker, but rather something to add to your dessert, such as vanilla ice cream or a boozy milkshake. In that sense, it’s delicious. But straight up? It’s hard to get through one pour of it because of how thick and syrupy it is. If flavored or infused whiskeys is your thing, give it a try. Otherwise, it’s best to purchase for a specific use, such as if you are hosting a party and serving boozy milkshakes, or if you regularly make cocktails that it would work in. If you’re just an occasional bourbon drinker, you probably won’t get much use out of it.

About Advantage After Hours

In each episode, we will taste and review a different whiskey that none of us have tried before. Each of us has a vastly different experience and taste in whiskey, so rather than getting a review from only hardcore whiskey drinkers, you get four different perspectives on that same whiskey:

  • Justin (The Adventurer) has hundreds of bottles. All of them are open and available to share with family and friends. He loves to try the latest releases from Chattanooga, Starlight, or Penelope more than hunting for Pappy, Weller, or Blanton’s.
  • Jim (The Traditionalist) is open to trying anything, but really just likes a Jack & Coke. His favorite whiskey is the basic Jack Daniel’s.
  • Matt (The Upstart) is familiar with the basics and looking to branch out to new whiskies. He loves anything from Buffalo Trace and Heaven Hill.
  • Zach (The Newb) hates whiskey. If it were up to him, he would never drink it, but he’s a good sport for Advantage After Hours. His go-to drink is a tequila shot or Captain Morgan.

Our plan is to invite special guests to join us for each episode and we can’t wait to see what they think of the whiskies we taste as well.

We will also highlight a different trailer in each episode. This week’s featured trailer is a 24-foot ATC Stage Trailer. For brands looking to hit the road for a mobile tour, market-based activations, or even trade shows, a stage trailer is the perfect vehicle. Teh fold-down stage uses a powered winch, so it’s super easy to set up and close. The rear ramp can also function as a smaller stage. When opened up, it’s open and engaging for your consumers, and once you add your products and branding to it, it leaves a lasting impression.

We almost always have one of these in stock. Of course, we can also custom order one for you if you want added cabinets, windows, lighting, a different color, or additional fabrication.

Give us a call, send us a text via the widget on our site, or submit a quote request.

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