A review by John Barecki
Located in Holland, Michigan, Coppercraft Distillery is owned and operated by Walter Catton and Mark Fellwock. With a very small staff, these guys churn out spirits that are crafted from locally sourced and grown materials. Using a handmade 350-gallon copper pot still, they coax out the essence of their ingredients and bottle up a wonderful variety of quaffable liquids. As of right now they offer a vodka, citrus vodka, gin and a rum.
The vodka is produced with 100% corn which provides a subtle sweetness. It is clean but still has a good mouthfeel. The flavor is not huge but still apparent. This is more of a mixer style but still has character. The citrus infused version on the other hand is a delight for the nose as well as the tongue. Using a blend of oranges, lemon and grapefruit, they capture a sense of real fruit, avoiding the medicinal taste common to some flavored vodkas. On ice, this citrus vodka is juicy and slightly sweet, and with the addition of club soda it becomes a delightful spritz.
The gin is a herbal journey. With 13 botanicals it brings forth the image of a herb garden next to a juniper tree. The flavors are rich and green and with the addition of water the gin opens up the brighter citrus tones and spice notes. This is not the typical London dry style most of us are used to. This one has a bit more body to it.
I saved the rum for the end because it was a tricky one to wrap my head around. When I first poured this one I feel that it was closed to the senses. They make it using 80% fine-grade locally sourced molasses and 20% evaporated cane juice from Columbia. (Michigan is not really a sugarcane growing region, so you can't blame them for that.) The nose on this is molasses driven at first then clears out to a vanilla and banana that is surrounded by a very nice creaminess. Notes of caramel and toffee come through as well. The flavor is all of the above but more balanced than the nose. I feel that with them planning to barrel age and spice this rum it will show its true colors. As far as mixing it, I went with the classic rum and coke and it proved to be a great decision, although it is worth savoring on its own because of it's eccentricities. Overall these first selections of Coppercraft show a great promise in what the future holds for the company. I for one and anxious to see what is in store for them next.
All of these are available at Sicilianos Market retailing at $30.00. We will be having a tasting in store with Coppercraft on May 9 from 5-7 pm, so please come out and show your support for a great local company with some fun new spirits.