Classification: American Whiskey (blend of bourbon and rye)
Company: Copper Cross Spirits
Mashbill: Undisclosed (blend of a high rye bourbon and a rye whiskey)
Copper Cross Spirits was created by Joseph Dehner, owner of Dehner Distillery in Clive, Iowa. With Copper Cross Hybrid Whiskey, Dehner’s goal was to make a smooth, great mixing, or on-the-rocks whiskey, not necessarily a sipping whiskey. To that end, Dehner put this 18 month old MGP sourced blend through a seven step process - a process intended to smooth out the whiskey by removing the rougher notes. He ultimately landed on 84 proof as he found it was most floral at that proof. As noted by Dehner, any less and it was too watery, any more and it was too hot when considering his target flavor profile. I had the opportunity to try pre-release samples of the before and after whiskeys, and as a result can affirm first-hand that his process achieved what he intended it to. Dehner also states that while the blend is not made up of straight whiskeys (the two year minimum time period was not met), it is purely a blend of bourbon and rye whiskeys, nothing else.
As for flavor profile, Copper Cross is quite approachable. It’s light and sweet on the nose, with hints of creme brulee and vanilla. Taking a sip brings more sweetness, but also a touch of spice. Caramel, vanilla, and a trace of bubblegum sweetness are followed by a rising cinnamon spice that starts on the sip and grows in intensity into the finish where it crescendos. Sugar candy sweetness and a hint of rye grain linger.
What’s interesting about this whiskey is that it tastes well beyond its age. While there were more obvious youthful and grain-forward notes in the pre-release and pre-processed samples I tried, this final product is more well-rounded, and I think many would be hard-pressed to guess its 18 month age based on taste alone. After speaking with Dehner during his process to bring this product from where he was nearly a year ago, it was apparent from the onset that he set out to create a product with a specific goal in mind, and a product he wanted to be well received and fairly priced at $35.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Copper Cross Spirits. We thank him for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.