Copper Fox Rye Whisky

The Commonwealth of Virginia is a special place. I met my wife in Richmond twelve years ago, and we lived in Charlottesville for a while. I have fond memories of swimming in the James River, climbing in the Shenandoah, fishing at Kiptopeke, and eating/drinking with family and friends in Richmond's breweries and backyards. I've traveled across America and to fifteen countries, but I've not been to many places as stunning as Virginia's Blue Ridge mountains.

Copper Fox Distillery, located in Sperryville, Virginia, is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, not far from a main entrance to Shenandoah National Park, Old Rag Mountain, and Skyline Drive.

The distillery opened in 2004 and is owned/operated by Rick Wasmund, a one-time insurance agent who gave up his 9-5 for a life in whiskey. Copper Fox (which recently opened a second location in Williamsburg) is the only distillery in North America that malts its own barley- Wasmund and his crew purchase and personally malt Heathsville, VA winter barley. They also dry/smoke the malted barley with a 60% applewood, 40% cherrywood stack harvested from their property. Copper Fox rye whisky features a 2/3 rye, 1/3 smoked malted barley mash. The product ages for 16 months in used bourbon barrels; applewood and oak chips are added during maturation for additional flavor. The result?

Color: Thick copper pipe.

Nose: The nose is a complex blend of campfire smoke, Grape Nuts cereal, cough medicine, and dank hay/barnyard character. 

Tasting Notes: Consistent with the aroma, the front is smoky and grainy, as you might expect. Black pepper dominates until lemon zest and enigmatic fruit take hold. The finish is short and woody, as if those oak chips made it from the barrels and onto your tongue. 

Overall: An unusual American whiskey- it's bold, flavorful, and woody as hell. Wasmund did exactly what he set out to do almost twenty years ago. This is not an every day sipper, but I'm glad to have it in my collection.

Peer Review: Spirits Review

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Bourbon Scout