A New Virginian Rye

I am always looking for new and interesting whiskies, be it bourbon, blends, or single malts, from here in the states or from around the world.  Yet instead of looking to Scotland (or Japan, as I recently discovered), I should have been looking right in my own backyard, to a small town just over an hour from my home in Washington, DC.

For it is here – in the tiny Piedmont hamlet of Sperryville, Virginia, sitting just east of Shenandoah National Park – that lies a distillery on the cutting edge of whisky production: Copper Fox Distillery.  The distillery is the product of Rick Wasmund’s ideas on “using special fruitwood peat, and fruitwood barrels in the traditional whisky making process.

With this original idea in hand, coupled with a period of time spent in Scotland learning the distillation process, Wasmund’s Copper Fox ultimately produced a different whisky, based on two principles: first, “the flavoring of the malt using the smoke of selected, smoldering fruitwoods (instead of peat);” and second, “using hand chipped and toasted fruitwood chips in the aging process to add a range of natural flavors that was not only new, but fantastic to the taste.”

Fantastic to the taste indeed.  Wasmund’s principles produced a smoky and richly yet lightly fruity rye whisky with a hint of leather, which according to the label was bottled in late December 2010.  Never before has such a young whisky – Wasmund still began production in January 2006 – tasted so smooth, full, and even.  Copper Fox’s rye was absolutely delicious, through and through.

So I’ll continue my search for delicious whiskies, wherever they can be found: Scotland, Japan, Kentucky, and now, just outside DC.  Not that the relationship between whisky and the capital should come as a surprise.  A few hundred years ago, another Virginian was distilling whisky on his estate, located just down the river from what would become the nation’s capital: George Washington.

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Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm  Comments Off on A New Virginian Rye  
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