Coppersea New York Green Malt Rye
Coppersea // New York, USA
Richard-ModernDrinkingTastedMy cycling route out from the lovely Hudson Valley town of New Paltz this weekend took me past Coppersea’s tiny countryside distillery and I stopped off at its new tasting room on my way back. Chief distiller Christopher Briar Williams poured me three samples from his range: this green malt rye plus the Bonticou Crag Straight Single Malt Rye and Big Angus Green Malt. The straight rye was lovely (***1/2), but it was the unique green malts that I dwelled on. Made from wet germinating grain, they have an unusual herbaceous profile to their flavors. The green malt rye (***) was the more quirky of the two, with a hint of lavender amid its many vegetal notes. Big Angus — made from green malt barley (****) - has striking aromas of Assam tea. The circumstances didn’t allow for note taking, but all three whiskies were very well balanced and integrated given their youth and complexity. I would gladly have bought a bottle of Big Angus were it not for the fact that it and the green malt rye cost $90 for 375 ml. The price reflects the labor involved — it takes two days to grind wet grain — and the craftsmanship that extends to Coppersea making its own barrels from New York oak. But it also speaks to the challenging economics of the craft spirits business. Still, the flights aren’t expensive at $10 for three small pours, so it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
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