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Rye Whiskey - Wasmund's Rye Spirit


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Wasmund's Rye Spirit
Copper Fox Distillery Enterprises, Sperryville, Virginia

INGREDIANTS: 2/3 Rye, 1/3 Hand Malted Barley
PROOF: 124 (62%)
AGE: None - See below
TYPE: Smoked

PRICE: $22.00 750 ml


: This is a new whiskey/spirit from Copper Fox Distilling. The rye spirit is past of their "Distillers Art " series ( along with their Single Malt ) This rye spirit is unique in several interesting aspects: first, they use 66 % rye and 33 % hand malted barley as the mashbill ( read recipe)- most ryes use a lower percentage of rye (most expensive grain in any whisk(e)y) with the legal minimum being a paltry 51%. The second point is they don't use any corn. Corn in rye is in my view the same as rice in a beer- a cheap adjunct that dilutes flavor from what it could be. Third, they hand malt their barley (meaning they make it themselves which is a demanding if tedious process). Fourth, they smoke their barley (very similar to the peating of scotch barley in terms of process) with a mix of 60 % apple wood and 40 % cherry wood which imparts a unique batch of flavors. Fifth, This is a unaged rye spirit- I know of no one else releasing a completely unaged (and barrel strength ) rye spirit. Sixth for those who love to experiment, you can get a new charred, 2 liter barrel for very little cost to age the spirit in if you like (again no one I am aware of does this).

Also it may be noted that this rye spirits is a small batch release from a microdistillery not a multinational conglomerate - doesn't get much more handmade than this.

Appearance: Sparkling crystal in the glass, flawless purity. Nice edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth layer of whiskey on swirling with small tears/droplets forming almost immediately then scattered long legs after a bit - seems like a rye characteristic to have larger legs along with droplets.

First Impression: Much like the aged rye in some ways - the apple and cherry wood( both used for smoking the malt and as chips) really add some flavor layers nuance the rye spice. But the melange of citrus, apple, orange peel, nutmeg, and cherries also has a intriguing agave/ tequila/ mezcal bouquet (especially with the smoke nuances).

Taste: Nicely oily body and mouth feel generating warmth wherever it touches. Loads of fruit, spice, smoke and a little fire at this proof. Lovely backbone of rye, spice, and malt with a little sweetness and maltiness to the fruity zest. Lingering long finish is spicy, slightly sweet, notable aromatic almost perfume like notes of fruit, malt and rye.

Drinks:An extremely interesting spirit to work with - the range of flavors that can be teased out of it make it very versatile. It works well in any number of mezcal recipes (see some of ours here) or tequila recipes, many scotch recipes but has a lot more fruit rather than just smoked) and paired with game, smoked meat or fish - it is absolutely wonderful. It also of course works in rye of bourbon standards such as a Manhattan, Old Fashioned or sour. Remember this is barrel proof and adjust proportions accordingly - and no open flames (such as flaming zests) near the undiluted spirit unless you want to end up on Youtube.

Cigars: Works well with Ghurka, Rocky Patel or Hemingway series - across the range of wrappers from Candela to Maduro. BUT, remember this stuff is flammable - so be careful!

Bottle: Old-style heavy clear glass with gracefully curved shoulder, straight neck and screw cap closure. Label looks very much like a hand bottled sample (which it is in a sense) much like the much sought after hand bottling's from other distilleries - lots of handwritten info and little graphics. Space on the side of the label for your own tasting notes.

Final Thoughts: In the last few years we have seen the rebirth of rye whisk(e)y and of unaged corn whiskies but never a unaged clear rye. There have been a number of very interesting whiskies of both types coming out recently. We went on about the the aged rye a bit, this is all that and more - you can either enjoy it as is, unaged, (which is absolutely lovely and charming) or you can age it to exactly the way you like it. With the low cost of the barrels you can even do multiple batches and experiment to achieve you very own personal aging/expression profile. I should also mention you can age the single malt also and afterwards age bitters or whatever else you like in the barrels.

Not only a great, but utterly unique whiskey that you can even customize through aging. Outstanding value for the money and a great spirits to play with both in aging and drinks.

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