Top 20 Whiskies of 2020

#18 • Chattanooga Straight Rye Malt (Batch 20I22R)

Chattanooga Straight Rye Malt bottle shot
  • Rank: 18
  • Year: 2020
  • Score: 92
  • Price: $40
  • ABV: 49.5%
  • Style: Straight Rye Malt
  • Place of Origin: Tennessee

Malted rye is a rarity in whiskey, and at 60% of the mashbill here, this earns high marks for originality. The nose has lively notes of chili powder, pepper, and paprika, along with licorice, pfeffernüsse, candied dark berries, orange peel, and spearmint. The palate begins gently enough, then whips into a spice storm of chile peppers and spicy cooked meats, with flavors of roasted pecan, dark chocolate, blackberry jam, more orange peel, and rich oak, before a finish of dried oranges, vanilla syrup, and well-integrated spice. —David Fleming