Chattanooga Whiskey Barrel Finishing Series: Islay Scotch Cask Finish
Other Whiskey — Tennessee, USA
Reviewed August 3, 2023 (edited September 28, 2023)
For our quarterly virtual tasting with @PBMichiganWolverine , @ctbeck11 , @Richard-ModernDrinking and @Bourbon_Obsessed_Lexington , @PBMichiganWolverine was kind enough to treat us to a round the world assortment of drams. First was a single cask IB 14 year Tamdhu (Scotland) Second was the 2022 Chichibu Peated Edition (Japan) Third was the Chattanooga Islay Finish (America) that was bottled at 47.5% ABV. The nose is a mildly rich and smoky treat that the creamy caramel and stewed fruits are upfront but underscored by a mild smoke that fades to chocolate covered candied nuts and light leather with medium ethanol burn. The taste is a medium mouthfeel with the mild smoke upfront with a light bitterness that fades to butterscotch caramel over flambéed apples followed by freshly lit pipe tobacco and light flinty minerality then mildly sour and creamy citrus that transitions to mildly bitter black tea with medium ethanol burn. The finish is medium length starting mildly smoky that fades to the background as the creamy fruits emerge along with butterscotch caramel and mild earthy notes. This poor dram came after the Chichibu and was a hard transition that the smoke was hard to find after a very smokey dram and tasted mildly astringent. Revisiting it tonight by itself allows for the smoke and flavors to really shine through and I'm very impressed by what the team at Chattanooga accomplished with the Islay cask adding mild smokey notes that are balanced with those traditional bourbon flavors. Now I am hopeful that they will take this experiment to the next stage and release a cask strength version for some of us proof hounds, as I'd love to try this as a bigger, bolder and richer edition.