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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Copper fox Distillery (VA)

Wasmund's Single Malt Whisky

Tasting Notes Review

The Copper Fox Distillery

c/o Rick Wasmund

9 River Lane

Sperryville, VA 22740


Phone: (540) 987 8554


Please Contact The Distillery before travelling to confirm


Tour times:  

Mon-Thur- noon-2- 4pm

Fri-Sat  10am to 5pm on the hour

Sun-Closed or by appt


Came about from an idea of Founder Rick Wasmund on how could he make a distinct whisky by using special fruitwood chips instead peat, and fruitwood barrels in a traditional whisky making process. He  explored most of the distilleries in the U.S. and the more he observed, the more he thought his ideas could work.


By spring of 2000 he decided to go to Scotland, home of over 130 distilleries and some of the best whisky in the world. His thoughts grew and matured. The Scotland trip was magical and inspirational beyond belief and met some of the nicest, most helpful people you could ever want to know. He came away with:

- A great appreciation of the skill, passion, dedication and perseverance needed,


- A reinforced conviction that his ideas were in fact new to the whisky world  and unique enough that he could make them into a  commercially viable, distinct product,


- An offer for a 6 week internship at the Bowmore Distillery on Islay


Bowmore was a huge learning experience. It is one of the few distilleries in the world that still malt their own barley. They gave him a cottage with the front door in the town and the back door into the distillery. Working a piece of each 3 shifts, six days a week. he absorbed all he could, making  notes and talking to all the men that combined  more than a century of whisky making experience.


“Of course I'm proud of our innovations, but I am keenly aware of the fact that I'm standing on the shoulders of a great many courageous, passionate and brilliant individuals and I try to be ever thankful for the trail they blazed.” Rick Wasmund.


After Scotland (fall 2000) it was time to come home and to continue with experiments, get a business plan on paper, and start turning the plan into action. Copper Fox Distillery Enterprises, L.L.C. was formed and he entered into a contract to purchase an existing Virginia distillery.


As part of the purchase plan it was  agreed to develop a new product under the license using his ideas, labour, grain and barrels. This was launched into the marketplace as “Copper Fox Whiskey” in early spring of 2003. It was the first Applewood chip-aged whisky in the world. By fall the product had achieved some modest success and a loyal following.


By the fall of 2004 they located contracted and received local zoning approval for their current facility in Sperryville. Jan 1, 2005, they moved in and began constructing the still and processing equipment. They malted the first batch of barley in November 2005 and in Jan 2006 fired up the still for the first time. This, at last, was a product that embodied his main innovations:


The flavouring of the malt using the smoke of selected, smouldering fruitwoods (instead of peat), and using hand chipped and toasted fruitwood chips in the ageing process to add a range of natural flavours that was not only new, but fantastic to the taste.


The raw Single malt spirit was brought forth and they knew it was very good. The name “Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky” was chosen for obvious reasons.


In August 2006 the first batch was bottled. The original idea had grown to finally bear its first sweet fruit.


Copperfox Distillery Process


The foundation of the whisky is thoroughbred barley from their own private grower and used by no other distillery. They malt the barley themselves, in small batches, using a traditional floor malting the way it's been done for centuries in Scotland.


When the malt is ready to be dried,  they don't use peat! Instead the smoke of  apple wood, cherry wood and oak wood fire that is kept at a slow burn for a night and a day. This is another first for single malt whisky that adds to the cascade of finishing flavours.


When the malt is ready, it is milled at the distillery and mixed with hot water to make a sweet smoky mash that is pumped over to the fermenter where yeast is added and it is fermented out to a distiller's beer.


The beer goes through the double pot still and comes out in one-barrel batches. It is said that the smaller the still the better the whisky.


The next step is the secret chip and barrel ageing process (patent pending). They only will state that it involves apple wood, cherry wood and oak chips, by special selection and toasting techniques, and more time and passion than could be expected from a larger operation.


The process results in a deep, rich range of finish flavours that is unique. It also happens to obtain optimal maturity much faster.


Copper fox Whisky Distillery Bottlings

Currently in four styles

Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky

Wasmund’s Single Malt Spirit

Cooperfox Rye Whisky

Wasmund’s Rye Spirit

coming soon Wasmunds Bourbon Spirit

Also a Wasmunds Barrel Kit for maturing their spirit


Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky

Beverage Testing InstituteThe 2009 International Review of Spirits

Gold Medal 93 Points “Exceptional”


Tasting notes:  


Bright copper colour.  


Bold aromas of new suede, saddle soap, crème brulee and toasted banana nut bread follow through on a supple, smooth entry to a dryish medium-full body with orange marmalade, dried apricot and sweet brown spices.


Finishes with a very long, slowly evolving, mossy river stone, Peat, cocoa, cereal, and pepper fade.  


A powerfully delicious and intriguing domestic single malt whisky.  Impressive. (tasted on Jan-29-09-2009)



Beverage Testing Institute The 2013 International Review of Spirits


Wasmund’s Single Malt Whisky Gold Medal — 92 Points “Exceptional”


Copper Fox Rye Whisky Gold Medal — 94 Points “Exceptional”