Whiskey Review: Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey

Copperworks American Single Malt WhiskeyDespite the near countless expressions and iterations of Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, American bourbon, et al., every drop of the heralded brown liquid shares one thing in common: at the end of the day, it’s distilled beer. So when a brewer decides to take his or her work and move into the world of distillation, it only seems natural. Enter Copperworks Distilling Company. Owned and primarily headed by duo Jason Parker and Micah Nutt, Copperworks produces gin, vodka, and now a single malt whiskey (more on that in a couple sentences) out of Seattle’s downtown waterfront.

The combination of Parker and Nutt could not have brewed (pun slightly intended) a more perfect storm for the vision of Pacific Northwest craft distillation. Parker, who holds degrees in microbiology and chemistry, claims the titles of first head brewer of Pike Brewing, brewer at both Fish Brewing and Redhook, and Brewmaster at Pyramid Breweries. Nutt, on the flip side of the coin, originally trained as a software engineer but held a strong passion for home brewing in conjunction with a 20+ year friendship with Parker. Their forces combined, the duo barreled their first whiskey in 2014 using a wash of 100% pale malted barely produced at Elysian Brewing.

After approximately 30 months in new charred American Oak barrels, the Release 001 was bottled with an edition size of 1,005 bottles and released a few months back.

Tasting Notes: Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey

Vital Stats: 104 proof (52% ABV); 100% Pale Malted Barley aged 30 months in full-sized new American Oak barrels charred to #3; $59.98 for 750ml available directly from the distillery website.

Appearance: In the glass, hue straddles a deep straw tone to medium golden brown, with slight tints of burnt orange. Given a delicate swirl, legs form at a medium pace with no premature shortage or breakage.

Nose: Immediately after pouring, rich notes of honey comb dominate upfront, followed closely by a reminiscence of soft, fluffy hay. There is an inevitable slight ethanol burn from its higher proof. Digging deeper, light notes of toffee peanuts and black plum reveal themselves. Giving the spirit a couple minutes to rest and open, the sweet plum notes intensify, and the initial honeycomb takes on a softer, roasted characteristic.

Taste: The first few sips feel sweet and candy-like, with a good amount of pancake syrup upfront. A couple quick chews bring out plump dried apple rings and vague hints of fruit-flavor-based tablet candies. Imagine the white-colored Smarties (which, apparently, is an orange cream flavor). A few more sips in, candied pecans and Coca-Cola syrup mixed with heavy bread and malt linger on the palate with a slightly warm, tingly finish.

Final Thoughts & Score:

Score: 85/100

I believe there is an advantage for Pacific Northwest producers to approach distillation and aging methods with their eyes to Scotland, since they share a climate that differs dramatically from Kentucky or Tennessee. Copperworks Distilling, in my opinion, has found a rather nice balance of Scottish technique with Pacific Northwest resources with their single malt release.

The spirit has good, definitive character coming from both its grain profile and barrel influence. Its young age shows, however, for better or for worse – it leaves me pleasantly wondering what a couple more years in barrel could do for the spirit.

Editor’s Note: The Whiskey Wash welcomes to Jason Le to our review team.


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