DSR – VA – 015: Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Belmont Farm Distillery
Location: Culpeper, Virginia
Mash Bill: At least 51% Corn, Wheat, & Barley
Age Statement: 3 Years Old
Proof/ABV: 92 Proof/46% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey is tawny in color. It has a medium bodied appearance in the glass. This whiskey produces a thin viscous line with legs that start as dots, similar in character to the holes for dot matrix printer paper, and rapidly slide down into the belly of the tasting vessel with an oily residual trail remaining.
Purchase Price: $26.99 from the Virginia ABC stores.
Bottle Label Information:
“Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
“Handcrafted Single Estate”
“Grain to Glass”
Right Side Label
“At Belmont Farm Distillery we farm Bourbon Whiskey. We distill our Bourbon Whiskey in an antique copper pot still. The unique character of our Bourbon Whiskey is produced when the grains grown on the farm are patiently distilled and then aged using our new charred oak barrels. Bottled at 92 proof, Kopper Kettle Bourbon Whiskey is made to be enjoyed straight up or mixed. Savor the rich flavors that only our farm’s grain can deliver.”
“- The Millers”
Back Side Label
“Distilled by Belmont Farm, Culpeper, VA USA”
“Distilled from corn, wheat & barley”
“Aged in oak barrels for 3 years”
“America’s First Craft Whiskey Distillery”
Belmont Farm Distillery
Belmont Farm Distillery, most recently known for its appearance on The Discovery Channel’s show Moonshiners, was founded in 1988 by Chuck and Jeanette Miller in Culpeper, Virginia. Moonshining was a tradition practiced by the Miller’s family in Virginia and was a part of their family’s legacy that they wanted to preserve. Known for being American’s 1st Craft Whiskey Distillery, Belmont Farm Distillery is located on a 195 acre farm just north of Charlottesville, Virginia. Belmont Farm currently grows a majority of the corn, wheat, and barley grain used in the production of their whiskies on site. Much of their family is still involved with the day to day operations of whiskey distillation at the distillery.
The distillery currently uses a 3000-gallon copper pot still, built in 1933, to distill its spirits – a fact that the Millers feel is the true secret to the quality and uniqueness of their products. The Millers use the same corn whiskey recipe that Chuck’s grandfather’s used to make his original Virginia Lightning Moonshine. Today, Belmont Farm Distillery makes a plethora of products including its Virginia Lightning Corn Whiskey, Virginia Lightning Moonshine Corn Whiskey, Virginia Lightning Apple Pie, Virginia Lightning Butterscotch, Virginia Lightning Peach, Virginia Lightning Cherry, Kopper Kettle Virginia Whiskey, Kopper Kettle Vodka, Kopper Kettle Golden Gin, Kopper Kettle Dark Chai Spice Rum, Kopper Kettle Apple Whiskey, Kopper Kettle Bonded Virginia Whiskey, Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Kopper Kettle Single Malt, Tim Smith’s Climax Moonshine, Tim Smith’s Climax Moonshine Fire No. 32, and Butcher Holler Celebrity Moonshine. In 2017, the distillery released a very limited and special first batch of Chuck’s Aged Corn Whiskey, which has been barrel rested for 25 years. They titled this The Belmont Farm 25 Year Special Reserve.
If you find yourself up near Culpeper, Virginia, stop in and see the folks at Belmont Farm Distillery – the Nation’s 1st Craft Whiskey Distillery. Additional information about the farm and distillery can be found on their website.
Belmont Farm Kopper Kettle Virgina Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Belmont Farm Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey is hand-crafted using grains grown on the property by the Miller Family. Distilled in an 88 year old copper pot still, this whiskey uses a proprietary mash bill of at least 51% corn, wheat, and barley. The whiskey is then aged in new charred oak barrels for 3 years before being bottled at 92 proof.
Tasting Date/Vessel: August 4, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few added drops of distilled water.
Christian: In the bottle, this Belmont Farm Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey offers rich decadent flavors of sweet brown sugar and tobacco. Nosing in my Glencairn glass, the first thing I notice is a quick punch of ethanol. A gentle swirl then return to my nose allows the ethanol to dissipate, giving way to sweet caramel sauce, brown sugar, and a touch of pome fruits, mostly leaning towards pear. A second more vigorous swirl really brings out a vanilla custard quality and punch of clove or similar baking spice. Adding distilled water to this whiskey really ramps up a buttery-ness to the nose. Rich butterscotch comes to mind, with a hint of maple syrup and brown sugar – a lot like a maple nut candy. There is still a touch of the ethanol burn present, but it is really tamed down now.
Mike: Nosing this bourbon from the bottle, mellow aromas of citrus, tea, and tobacco ease themselves from the bottle neck. Nosing from the glass, muted notes of pear are detected with a heavy dose of brown sugar and cinnamon. A gentle swirl of the glass exposes a strike of ethanol with touches of honey peeking through the abundance of ethanol blaze. Pulling the glass back a little and circling the glass around my nose releases delicate bouquets oak and mild tobacco.
Christian: Wow! The mouthfeel on this whiskey has a surprising heaviness to it. It has feeling of being both thick and oily to me. On the tip of my tongue, the first flavor I notice is sweet toasted brown sugar with a touch of earthiness. This quickly transitions to subtle gingerbread cookie with hints of cinnamon, or perhaps even cumin or ginger, both of which produce a slight citrus element with just a pop of spice. As I continue to drink, I pick up a touch of green birch wood and an astringent flavor that reminds me of straight rubbing alcohol. The mouthfeel on this whiskey becomes thin and smooth with the addition of distilled water. The sweetness is much more subdued, with pie crust leading the way on flavors. Toasted brown sugar remains present and is accompanied by a touch of black pepper. The rubbing alcohol flavor is all but gone with just a touch of pencil eraser remaining behind.
Mike: Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey has a thin mouthfeel with some bitter tannic qualities rushing to the back of the palate. This whiskey is sweet on the palate then transitions to an acceptable aged leather flavor mid-palate. The aged leather tends to linger in the back of the mouth as suggestions of powdered cinnamon begin to infiltrate.
Christian: Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey comes with a pronounced strong bite! This whiskey punches way over its stated 92 proof. A long hug wells up on my tongue and develops deep into my chest. I wouldn’t classify it as overwhelming or distracting, however, you know it’s there. On the back-end, I notice flavors of vanilla custard and fresh pie crust. Again, the rubbing alcohol flavor rears its head and is joined by a touch of peach or pear and brown sugar Pop-Tarts way late on the palate. Distilled water takes away some of the punch out of the finish. The finish becomes more earthy, with a touch of hay and peanut trying to permeate their way onto my palate. A nice taste of stone fruit, reminding me of peaches, arrives late.
Mike: This whiskey drinks hotter than 92 proof. It has a medium to long finish with a steady burn that progresses all the way from the back of the throat down into the chest and belly. Flavor wise, I do not get much more than traces of soft leather initially. There is a subdued and belated brown sugar/cinnamon essence long after the heat subsides.
Christian: Being totally transparent, I am a little perplexed by this Straight Virginia Bourbon Whiskey by Belmont Farms. I find the whiskey to have the hallmarks of a young spirit, but with the signs and aromas of something unique and sweet, peaking my curiosity. There is no doubt that this whiskey is different than most we have reviewed. The flavor profiles are nice, but that lingering astringent rubbing alcohol really stands out to me. Priced at $27, this whiskey falls in line with some of the major hitting national brands available on the shelf, but stays well below the price of many of the craft offerings in its group. I am really at a loss on this one – I don’t dislike it as it has redeeming qualities and is priced more than fair. I am also not absolutely gushing over it, either! I guess that defines it as a mid-range bourbon. I say give it a try…this whiskey may be for some and not for others. For me though, the verdict is still out.
Rating: 2.45 Rickhouses
Mike: Kopper Kettle Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey shows its youthfulness often. Flavors are not overly developed and the heat in the finish is coarse at times. The tannic bitterness in the mouth presents a little abrasively, but is quick to wane as the leather flavors develop. There is an overall lack of flavor for my specific palate, something I feel could be refined with additional aging. This is a middling bourbon that misses the mark in a few key areas.
Rating: 2.25 Rickhouses