About Coppersea Single Barrel Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish Rye Whisky
Named for the sea of copper stills that dotted New York’s Hudson Valley throughout the 19th century — before Prohibition, the region was a bonafide hub for whisky distilling — Coppersea Distillery strives to produce spirits in a manner reminiscent of those 19th century New York farmstead distilleries. This is where their heritage methods philosophy and a sustainable farm-to-bottle approach come in, bringing the traditions of pre-industrialization into the 21st century.
At the 75-acre certified organic farm in the Hudson Valley, "heritage distilling" includes open fermentation, direct fired stills and floor malting which has been little used in the past 300 years. In 2012, Coppersea became the first distillery in New York to floor malt its own, organic grain. This special process allows the grain to sprout over the course of five days, converting starch into precious sugars and enzymes which are needed to feed the yeast that’s added during fermentation. While risky — the grain can mold if left moist for too long — the payoff is big, producing a grindable quality and a nutty, roasted flavor in their locally sourced, 100% Hudson Valley green malt. Coppersea is one of the rare distilleries in the world that malts its grain in-house. They say fire is flavor and Coppersea whiskies are double distilled using a fire copper technique, directly firing their still to create flavors that would otherwise be left out in a steam-jacketed distillation.
In 2015, Coppersea was one of the six founders of Empire Rye, a set of rye whisky standards that pay an homage to New York State's pre-Prohibition style rye whisky. An Empire Rye whisky needs to conform with strict standards, including that 75% of the mash bill is New York rye grain. The remaining 25% must also be from New York but can be any grain. Single Barrel Straight Rye is the first release in Coppersea's line of experimentation with barrel finishes and this marriage with the famous, sweet Spanish wine is particularly interesting. Aged for 2 years in new American oak casks, Single Barrel Straight Rye is then finished in ex-Pedro Ximénez Sherry Wine Casks for 6 months. Bottled at 96 proof, it boasts notes of cacao nibs, tobacco leaf and plum. Best enjoyed in classic rye cocktails, straight over ice or neat.
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As American as the bald eagle, rye whiskey was first brewed in the American Northeast in the 1600s. Even George Washington distilled it after leaving the Oval Office, so there’s no way of denying its origin.
It’s distinguished from bourbon for its original and unique spicy notes.
By law, rye whiskey must be made from at least 51% rye grain, aged in new and charred oak barrels for at least two years, and bottled at no more than 62,5% ABV.
Check out our impressive selection of rye whiskeys, find your new favorites in The best-reviewed rye whiskeys, and explore our treasury of Best rye bottles under $100.