Seattle’s Copperworks Distilling just released two “core” whiskeys on the same day for the first time … Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey Release 044 and Release 45.
“We’ve always released our whiskey based primarily on flavor,” said Jason Parker, co-owner and president of Copperworks Distilling, in a prepared statement. “In other words, we never decide to use a cask of whiskey simply because of its age. Instead, we blend casks when we believe they are ready based on our tastings.”
“For each release, we spend a few months tasting many casks and blending certain ones in various ways before landing on a single release,” said Jeff Kanof, co-owner and vice president of Copperworks. “Occasionally, we have a few concepts that rise to the top, but we normally select only one to present as our next release. This time, we had two concepts that were too good not to share.”
Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey Release 044 and Release 45 (image via Copperworks)
Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey, Release 044
Crafted from eight casks of whiskey.
Four casks were brewed and distilled from Great Western Malting Pale Malt and matured for 45-52 months in charred new American oak casks.
Three of the casks were brewed and distilled from single variety barley (Baronesse barley grown in Colfax, WA) and matured for 56 months in charred new American oak casks.
The final cask was created from a “Queen’s Run” and matured for 60 months in a charred new American Oak cask. Queen’s Run is a term borrowed from the rum industry to describe one of Copperworks’ types of spirit distillation where they run exclusively the heads and tails from prior runs. This results in a lower yield than typical spirit distillations and different and more intense flavors.
“For this release, we put together a variety of different recipes and cask maturities to end up with a flavor that Copperworks fans will know and love,” Parker said. “Because of the various whiskeys blended, this whiskey has a great balance of tropical, citrus, baking spice, and chocolate flavors.”
The distiller’s notes find aromas of lemon zest and black cherry to start, with suede, dried pine needles, and grilled pineapple following. The first sip tastes of sweet tea, then the fruit continues with flavors of ripe kiwi and citrus peel, lingering as an aged pipe tobacco. It finishes with a bang of white pepper, Demerara sugar, and fresh raspberries.
There were 1,920 bottles produced, clocking in at 50% ABV, with a retail price of $69.99.
Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey, Release 045
Six casks of single variety malt whiskey were used for this release.
The whiskey was brewed and distilled from the Fritz variety of barley grown on a single farm in Washington’s Skagit Valley and matured for 36 months in charred new American oak casks.
Single variety whiskey makes up 94% of this bottling, and the distillers at Copperworks say they found that bringing in 6% from whiskey that matured for 60 months in a Manzanilla Sherry cask helped bring balance to this release.
“Not only does the Sherry cask balance out Release 045, but bringing the Sherry cask flavors into the mix gives it a great contrast of flavors to Release 044,” Kanof said.
The distiller’s notes find classic single malt whiskey aromas, including heather, cigar wrapper, and a bit of brisket char. A big clover honey entry followed by more heather, poached pear, and a shot of mocha. It finishes with more honey, moving to graham cracker, and trailing off with ripe fig.
There were 1,681 bottles produced, clocking in at 50% ABV, with a retail price of $69.99.
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