Whiskey Review: Belmont Farms Kopper Kettle Virginia Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Belmont Farms Kopper Kettle Virginia Whiskey

Belmont Farms’ small Virginia distillery came to prominence as a result of distiller Chuck Miller’s friendship with Discovery Channel Moonshiners star Tim Smith. “When it came time for Tim to become legal,” according to the distillery’s website, it was Miller’s still that would commercially produce his Climax Moonshine for commercial distribution. Belmont Farms’ product lineup goes deeper than white lightning, however, and the Barrel Select Virginia Whiskey is a true testament to passion and whiskey-making tradition.

What makes this whiskey special, according to the distillery, is the use of a 1930’s-era single copper pot still, versus the more common column stills found at larger manufacturers. The grain bill here also utilizes a proprietary (read secret) blend of corn, wheat, and barley grown on the Belmont Farm, in true grain-to-glass fashion.

The whiskey is double oaked, first on Virginia white oak and Virginia apple wood for two months. The liquid is then transferred to oak barrels for a four year rest. The resulting product is the proud recipient of a 2016 SIP beverage award.

Tasting Notes: Belmont Farms Kopper Kettle Virginia Whiskey

Vital Stats: 86 Proof. $33/750ml. Mashbill: Corn, wheat, barley. Double oaked and aged four years.

Appearance: Pours surprisingly light and bouncy with a light straw color with hints of toast around the edges. Despite an appearance of low viscosity, the legs are impressive in their steadfastness. The clarity is a bit off, but not in a troubling way.

Nose: Right off the bat, the whiskey introduces itself with explosive brightness. Sun-drenched hay, honey, and pear skins jump in to my nostrils and feel free of heft or heat. A slight hit of butterscotch helps to round out the sharper, crisper notes, and a handful of red summer berries are present. Their website suggests water, but it smells pretty delicate as is.

Palate: My raised eyebrow on the viscosity issue is confirmed as the liquid hits the palate, it is indeed thinner and lighter than I’d like for the style. Flavors are nuanced here, and a greater amount of liquid is required to capture them. The first note is raw almond, pleasantly nutty with a soft creaminess across the tongue. There is a tannic bitterness present from the oak which masks any perceptible alcohol burn, that carries a pithy citrus note. Vanilla is low, but appropriate for a lighter, brighter dram.

As my palate adjusts to the flavors, there is a bit of the dreaded orange circus peanut present, but enough to remind us that a thinner bodied whiskey has been hit hard with oak.

The Takeaway

This whiskey, despite a label in need of serious updating, is a thoroughly enjoyable drink. It doesn't pack the punch of some of the more robust brown liquids, but finds itself in balance and remains eminently drinkable. I'd say forego the splash of water suggested by the manufaturer's website and pour yourself a double.

4
User Rating 4 (1 vote)
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