Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Copper Fox

Rick Wasmund and his wife own and operate the Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Virginia, about 10 miles east and about 2500 feet below the Skyline Drive. Rick thought he wanted to be a distiller so he visited every distillery he could get to in the United States and then went to Scotland, ending up with an internship at a distillery.  He came back and bought an existing distillery, moved it and put his mark on it.  Copper Fox malts and kilns all of their grains.  Malting is the process of allowing grain to start to sprout, under carefully controlled conditions - doing this converts the starch in the grain to maltose - hence malt whiskey.  It is the only distillery in the United States that hand malts it's own grain, all of the others buy it already malted.  They grain is dried in a wood fired kiln and smoked with apple and cherry wood (a lot of Scottish distillers use peat smoke.)  The operation is in an old apple cider mill and the fermentation tanks are stainless steel vats recycled from the previous tenant. The distilling side uses pot stills, with at least double distillation.  Rube Goldberg would be proud of the configuration of equipment. The staff is young and creative.  The product is aged onsite, in about 300 full size barrels (Kentucky put 1.2-million barrels of bourbon into aging in 2013.)  They experiment with hardwood chips in the barrels for color and flavor.  They offer a couple of single malts, a rye, white spirit with age it at home micro barrel kits, a corn based American whiskey that does not meet the legal definition to be labeled as bourbon because of the innovative aging, and recently introduced an Anise based gin.  I sampled the gin and one of the single malts and bought two of the single malts.  The one I have opened is the younger and less expensive of the two single malts.  It is smokey and very woody - very-very woody.  It has a little bite and might benefit from a more time in the barrel - but it is an interesting sip and I would recommend it.  I sampled the other single malt at the distillery - it is aged in used wine barrels and was significantly smoother - I have a bottle of that to open one day. Based on the sample it is very good. I am a fan of juniper based gin - so I skipped the gin. The tour is free, they offer up to three 1/2 ounce samples, and sell the products on site.  The bourbon like whiskey sold out, they are expecting a new release in August, I will need to make another trip out to try that. 


  1. Anonymous7/31/2014

    I can see a trip this fall to all of these great places!

    Peace <3

  2. Ha ! I have a bottle of this! When I was in PA last november I had some blogger buddies bring me a bottle. I still take a nip from time to time Lovely.