The second in our series of Virginia whiskies is a microdistillery single malt. Even with new microdistilleries opening every day, there are only a handful of microdistilled whiskies that are available on local liquor store shelves. Rick Wasmund's Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Virginia, was one of the earlier micro start-ups and has been producing one of the more available and more unique American whiskies. Copper Fox's Wasmund's Rappahannock Single Malt (Rappahannock is the county where Sperryville is located) is a four month old, pot distilled, non-chill filtered malt aged with apple and cherrywood chips. The use of these alternative woods is unusual in whisky. But at four months old, can there really be any impact on the flavor? We'll see.
Wasmund's Rappahannock Single Malt Whisky, 4 months old, 48% alcohol ($40-$50).
On the nose it actually smells a bit more Scotch-like than other American single malts I've had. There is sweetness, fruit and a bit of smoke, though not a peaty smoke that you would encounter in Scotch. The flavor is a bit harsh, moreso than it should be at this alcohol level. There is some interesting stuff going on in here though, with the continuing intertwined dance of the fruit and smoke, which make come from the use of fruit wood in the kiln which dries the malted barley. And in the back of the palate, there is still a clear malt that links it to Scotland.
This is a fascinating and unique malt with a lot of character for something so young. There is an intriguing flavor profile here that could really be amazing, perhaps with more time in the barrel.
Copper Fox is definitely a micro distillery to watch. In the coming weeks I'll try their new rye whiskey.