Saturday, May 12, 2012

Slow Sippin': Spirits from Copper Fox Distillery

I like whisky.  I have several bottles in my office.  What can I say, the days of Mad Men looked fun.

Recently I received an unexpected and very welcome gift from Copper Fox Distillery in tiny Sperryville, VA (population 342):  a bottle each of Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky and Copper Fox Rye Whisky.  We did a tasting at the Lamb Supper Club.  They’re not completely empty yet, but there certainly won’t be any dust gathering on them.

First, a warning.  Despite my proclivity toward whisky (and fun), I don’t have an expert’s palate.  Second, an entreaty.  Don’t take my word for it – try these whiskies yourself.
Wasmund's Single Malt is both malted and distilled on the foothills of Appalachia by a small family operation.  The distillers take local barley, malt it with local water, smoke-dry it with local fruit-wood, mash it with more local water, distill it, age it in local barrels, and bottle-proof it with more local water. If you didn’t notice, the key word here is “local,” as in all the ingredients are local. 

The single malt itself is usually less than a year old in age; the small barrels and fruit-wood chips present in each barrel accelerate the maturation.  This is one of the reasons it differs from what one would think of as a typical aged Scotch.  In addition, the Wasmund’s single malt is darker and redder than a typical Scotch, has more of a smoky wood flavor than smoky peat moss, and has a hint of cherry sweetness that makes it exceedingly pleasant and accessible.

The Wasmund’s single malt is so unique because it defies many attributes that are characteristic of a Scotch, while simultaneously sharing many classic Scotch virtues.  For the $35 or so for which it retails, it is a very worthy alternative to many more expensive but inferior 12-year single malts.  And you can feel good knowing that by imbibing, you are helping the revival of great all-American craft distillers.  I give it an “I love it” rating.

The Copper Fox Rye is also nice but a little more difficult to conquer for me personally.  They mix 2/3 rye, 1/3 hand malter barley – no corn.  The label is very coolly handwritten, with the date and number on each bottle.  Handwritten labels make the purchaser feel like a rock star.   The rye is not sweet but cherry is definitely detectable.  I’m a cherry fan, so I like it.  Purchase a bottle or two online and you’ll prove that you’re a sophisticated chap.  Share your precious nectar with a truly good friend and you’ll not only be a sophisticated chap but a happy one, too.

By:  Corey Then

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