While most distillers in Kentucky are busy making whiskey, Louisville’s Copper & Kings is preaching the word of American brandy to whoever listens. I’ve been a fan of what Joe Heron and company are doing since first tasting their brandy last year. To you hardcore whiskey drinkers, give brandy a chance. At the very least, it gives you a delicious alternative to bourbon or rye whiskey. Today, we’re looking at their apple brandies – Floodwall and 3 Marlenas.
Named after the wall that surrounds and protects the Butchertown neighborhood, Floodwall is Copper & Kings’ standard apple brandy offering. I’ve reached out to Joe for clarification on how this differs from the previous Copper & Kings apple brandy. He told me this release has matured for at least four years in ex-bourbon and sherry casks. The difference though is they are now using smaller sherry casks – 225L casks instead of 500L butts. As before, this apple brandy has been bottled at 100 proof. There’s a nice tartness on the nose, like a spiced apple cider. A bit of citrus and caramel sweetness balance out the nose. Taste-wise, lots of baking spice and graham crackers, granny smith apple, and lemon zest. A touch of butterscotch flows through the entire tasting experience. 8/10
The 3 Marlenas is an apple brandy that’s enjoyed a second maturation in tequila casks for two years. It’s a bit of a limited edition: only 1,000 375mL bottles are available at the distillery. How is it? Interesting, actually. The nose is nicely balanced between the apple brandy and tequila casks, featuring baking spice, toffee, ripe apple, and cooked agave. The entry starts off sweet with apple pastry, followed by some ginger liqueur and vanilla. A bit of aged tequila shows up on the backend. The finish softens a bit, leaving behind a sort of sweet tequila note. 8/10
Both of these expressions were interesting. I think I like the new Floodwall apple brandy better than it’s previous incarnation. As for 3 Marlenas, only someone as crazy as Joe Heron could think of putting apple brandy in tequila casks and make it work.
Thanks to Copper & Kings for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.