Oh Taste & See: Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky

A few weeks ago I wrote about my recent visit to Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, VA, and today I'll taste their Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky as the third and final installment in my series of three American, craft, malt whisk(e)y's. The first two I reviewed were Edgefield Distillery's Hogshead Whiskey from Oregon and MB Roland's Malt Whiskey from Kentucky. Wasmund's is the outcast of this trio since it drops the 'e' from whiskey, but that's not the only thing that makes it different.

For one thing, this is a soup-to-nuts, produced-in-house whiskey. Copper Fox's Rick Wasmund malts his own barley in-house, sourced from nearby farms, and dries it in a kiln fired by apple and cherry wood. As far as I know he's the only distillery in the world doing that. He also brings some non-traditional wood into the aging process, and in only 14 months of barrel-time turns out a very classy and unique whisky.

*Note: My bottle is labeled "Batch 56" so earlier or later batches might be slightly different - that's part of the fun with truly artisan products like this.

Color: In the bottle Wasmund's Single Malt is a beautiful, deep red color that looks great with their old-time labeling and crimson wax cap. In the glass it has a beautifully clean, clear, golden-copper look to it.

Nose: At first the nose is very clean and weak, in the sense that no distinct aromas jump out and grab you. After a few minutes it really opens up with hints of grain, pine resin, charcoal, saw dust, and spice coming out to play. When I added an ice cube I got even more spice - cinnamon, cloves - as well as vanilla and a hard-to-pin-down pastry crust scent. I assume some of these unique aromas come from the malting process, but without any similarly-produced products to compare it to it's hard to know what is what.

Flavor: At first there's lots of wood flavor that really coats your entire mouth - like taking a bite out of a tree, but not in a bad way. As it opens up I also noticed cinnamon, leather, and oatmeal flavors. Adding ice brought some dried fruit flavors as well. I would definitely recommend letting this whisky sit for a few minutes before drinking it all, it really gets good after airing out a bit.

Finish: The finish is long, warm, and grainy. There is just enough spice, but it's really an extremely smooth drink throughout.

Overall Wasmund's Single Malt is a very classy whisky that is totally unique without being impossible to understand. It's not overly complex, but it's certainly a whisky that I could see myself sipping by a fire on a cold night, or proudly introducing to my 'Scotch snob' friends. Hopefully more distillers will follow in Wasmund's footsteps and begin to experiment with new techniques in malting and aging with more tasty results like this one.