Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Copperworks Distilling Company opened its downtown Seattle location in 2013, offering event space, tastings, and tours for visitors to view the namesake Scottish copper stills. They have achieved recognition for the sustainability of their production process as well as the distilled products themselves, their American single malt whiskey in particular.
The craft brewing background of Copperworks co-owners Jason Parker and Micah Nutt is noticeable in the grain-nerdery of the distillery’s Craft Malt Week 2022 Single Cask release. The juice is a feature-piece for Baronesse Barley grown by Joseph’s Grainery in Colfax, WA and malted by LINC Malt in Spokane Valley, WA.
Copperworks generously provides additional production specs for the curious. According to Jeff Kanof, Copperworks co-owner and vice president, the release is limited because “Cask 387 turned out to be quite an outlier… No other Baronesse barley was in process at the time of our production, and both fermentation and spirit distillation had relatively low yield. After proofing to cask strength, there was only enough to fill one cask”.
The cask in question was new American Oak with a char level of two and 36-month aged staves in which the bottled product spent 30 months aging. That may seem “young” for a single malt, but Copperworks has an established practice of prioritizing flavor over age, selecting casks for blending or release on the more empirical basis of sampling.
Tasting Notes: Copperworks Craft Malt Week 2022 Single Cask
Vital Stats: Aged 30 months (that’s 2.5 years), bottled at 120.9 proof, priced around $90.
Appearance: Caramel-amber coloring with a light red tint, medium-light in the glass.
Nose: I did not experience the resinous aroma implied by the official tasting notes so much as that of savory herbs, but the nose certainly opens with a rich, green aroma regardless of your interpretation. There are accenting floral notes before the nose builds up into baking spices strong enough to give the nostril a little tingle.
Palate: There’s more viscosity on the palate than the appearance led me to expect, which sort of compliments the initial impression of caramel apple on the palate. The rounded sweetness carries into the lingering flavors of peach rings candy, walnuts, and evergreen needles which work together far better than that might sound.
Whiskey Review: Copperworks Craft Malt Week 2022 Single Cask
Well balanced and interesting. An unexpected and unique combination of flavors presents something of a challenge to the palate, but the experience is rewarding. This is exactly what is so exciting about single malt as a category– it is a fantastic way for a distillery to exercise its voice, whether that voice is the stalwart consistency and quality of the well-recognized titans in the category, or the experimental spirit and likely irreplicable results of craft distillation. Here’s to the continued growth of American single malt.
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Jacob Wirt’s past lives as a cook and cultural studies researcher continue to inform his appreciation of fermented grain beverages- not (only) because these professions might drive one to drink, but because they offer a reminder of the knowledge, work, and history that makes every glass possible. His first love...