Like Jello, there’s always room for whiskey, and luckily some great new brown liquors are now popping up on the shelves of Nashville bars and liquor stores. The first new product is actually two expressions of the same juice, Cumberland Cask Tennessee Straight Whiskey. The product of four generations of whiskey lovers and producers, Cumberland Cask is a unique product that is 100% distilled, aged, bottled and distributed in Tennessee, so Volunteer staters can be proud. One differentiating factor from other Tennessee whiskeys is the fact that Cumberland Cask is never chill-filtered or charcoal mellowed, so the flavor of the grains comes through unadulterated.
The “Modern Expression” is an 80-proof whiskey made from a small batch blend of 6 1/2 year old and 8 1/2 year old whiskeys. The mash-bill has a higher than usual corn content with 70 percent corn, 25 percent rye, and 5 percent barley. The high percentage of corn gives Cumberland Cask Modern Expression a sweet initial taste followed by the bold flavor of rye, and finishing with some smoke from the barley. Straight up, on the rocks or in a cocktail, it is an excellent whiskey.
The second Cumberland Cask product goes by the name of “Barrel Cut.” Despite being a 120-proof product, uncut and unfiltered from the barrel, this is an exceptionally smooth-drinking whiskey for such a high alcohol content. The way that the whiskey is handled allows for many of the subtle characteristics of the barrel to come through that are difficult to discern in other spirits that have been filtered and watered down. Sip it slowly and keep count of your drinks or be prepared to don some kneepads for the crawl home.
Another excellent new product on the market comes courtesy of Carey Bringle, a beloved Nashville pitmasters who runs a competitive barbecue team and a new restaurant under the name “Peg Leg Porker.” Bringle has rolled out his own line of whiskey under the name Peg Leg Porker Tennessee Straight Bourbon. Tennessee Bourbon? Yes, you read that right. Bourbon doesn’t have to come from Kentucky, and the Peg Leg brand satisfies all the legal requirements for being called a bourbon.
Also skipping the charcoal mellowing process, this 90-proof whiskey couldn’t give a care whether you call it bourbon, whiskey or corn likker. What it is is delicious, and it is best enjoyed with one ice cube and a small splash of branch water. But Peg Leg loves a party, so if you’d like to mix it with some Sundrop at an SEC tailgater, Bringle won’t complain. Just try some and buy some soon!