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Copper Fox Rye Whisky

A Different Kind of Rye

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@VictorReview by @Victor

17th Feb 2011


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Copper Fox Rye Whisky is made at Rick Wasmund's Copper Fox distillery in Sperryville, Virginia. The Copper Fox Rye is made from a mashbill of 2/3rds Virginia rye and 1/3 hand-malted barley which has been kiln-dried using only the smoke of smouldering applewood and cherrywood. The whisky is aged in used bourbon barrels which contain new and used applewood and oakwood chips. The review sample was bottled December 8, 2009 and was aged 12 months. The whisky was double pot-distilled and non-chill filtered

Nose: rather strong apple-pie, cherry cobbler, honey, rye spices, and a little caramel

Taste: a little fruit at first, then intense spice, then more fruit and increased sweetness. There is a little oak flavour in the background. This is a very flavourful whisky

Finish: the fruit sweetness and the spices last a medium length of time and then give way to a sort of tart-bitter apple flavour

Balance: this is a product which blazes new paths in whisk(e)y-making. This is not US standard Straight Rye Whiskey, both because it is not sufficiently aged to meet that standard, and also because it is not aged in new charred oak barrels. I like this whiskey a lot, though some local bartenders of my acquaintance are not big fans. I do think that Copper Fox Rye Whisky expands the repertoire of rye based whiskey flavours in very useful and desirable ways, and that there will be many many experiments in the next 20 years in using woods other than oak to influence the flavours of rye and other whiskies. I would strongly recommend to anyone to taste a sample of Copper Fox Rye Whisky in order to experience a different sort of flavour profile

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Shell commented

The 12 month age statement seems much too young for a rye whiskey/whisky. They seem to lean toward producing very young ryes. I wonder if 3 more years in wood wouldn't improve this spirit.

9 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Shell, yes, it would be interesting to see what 2,3,4,5,8 or 10 more years in wood would do to Copper Fox Rye.

Rick Wasmund does whatever the heck he wants to down there in Sperryville, Virginia, at his Copper Fox Distillery, so it is anybody's guess as to whether or not he will have the patience to wait and age some of his rye distillate a few more years. It would be interesting to see. Jim Murray refers to Rick Wasmund as the "mad professor of American whisky...always seeing what he can cook up next with his experimentations".

9 years ago 0

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