You may remember my recent review of Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky from the Copper Fox Distillery. This is the their namesake rye whisky, which is made with 2/3 Virginia rye and 1/3 Virginia Thoroughbred malted barley that is kiln dried over apple wood and cherry wood smoke. It’s then aged 12 months in used bourbon barrels with added chips of apple wood and cherry wood before being bottled at 90º. I’ve never seen their products in Texas and I picked up this bottle (bottled on October 12, 2011) in Lafayette, LA for $42.
The relationship to Wasmund’s Single Malt is immediately evident on the nose as the apple and cherry wood smoke are the first out the block. Working past the smoke I sense cereal, straw, stewed dark cherries, caramel, honey, stewed spiced apples, grass and a whiff of tobacco. The taste is similar but in reverse. The stewed fruits show up first, followed by the straw and honey, then giving way to the fruit wood smoke. There’s a moderately oily mouthfeel which contributes to a long leathery finish of smoky fruit, cereal, pepper and honey. This is unlike any rye I’ve had before, mainly due to the lack of spices, the types of fruit and the presence of smoke. It’s unique and interesting, even if a bit young with some mild grassy and tannic notes in the finish. Each sip provides the full experience of transition from fruit to smoke consistently, providing a nicely repeatable experience to the last drop.
This is a nicely crafted American whisky that provides a unique experience (a quality that I really like in a whisky). It’s flavorful, rich and long in the finish without any off-balance or off-putting aspects. At under $50, it’s also a great value. Don’t expect a typical rye, though and don’t expect the peaty smoke of an Islay Scotch. The smoke is evident, yet soft and provides a truly complimentary flavor and aroma. I recommend giving it a try if you spot it on shelves somewhere, especially if you’re looking for something different.