Coppers Barrel Gin is an appropriately copper colored aged gin from Vermont Spirits. Alike their flagship Coppers Gin, their barrel version also uses locally picked juniper berries.
The nose of Coppers Barrel Gin is a combination of the sweet and tannins— firstly there’s a dry wood aroma suggesting wood chips or cracked particle board. Then there’s a hint of dusty cinnamon and coconut custard. The two seem to be at odds with one another.
Tasting though, you can see that the barrel has run roughshod over the gin and its botanicals. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because the flavor is quite nice. Vanilla custard early, it turns gradually mid-palate to almost tasting as if vanilla extract. The young wood notes from the nose are completely gone. Instead they are replaced by unctuous, rich tones of vanillin.
Towards the finish you get some hints of the spice from the nose. It reminds me a creme anglaise with Vietnamese cinnamon and sugar sprinkled over.
Coppers Barrel Gin is incredibly smooth and easy to drink. It practically glides over the palate. Though on the late finish I do get an echo of wood in the back of my throat— the overall impression is, it’s smooth— it’s rich— and it’s vanilla focused.
That being said Coppers Barrel Gin has some delicious properties that are sure to appeal to fans of aged gin. But the lack of botanical presence I find a bit disappointing.
Given its sweet and vanilla-kissed flavor, Coppers Barrel Gin is a delightful choice for a Varuna or Alexandria cocktail. I do think with a hefty dose of bitters and a light hand with the sugar, it can make a nice Aged Gin Old-Fashioned.
But overall, I think this gin is designed to appeal to folks who just want an aged gin they can sip neat or on the rocks. Because of the smoothness of the spirit, Coppers Barrel Gin ranks up there with among the most drinkable of the bunch.
Overall, Coppers Barrel Gin
As a spirit for enjoying, I can see a lot of reasons people would really dig Coppers Barrel Gin. Fundamentally, it tastes good and is well-suited to most of the ways people like to drink aged gins. On that note if you’re here because you’re on the fence about buying it— if my tasting notes sound good to you, you’re going to dig this.
As a critic, I have to wonder if there was a lost opportunity in here. With the only botanical that seems detectable being the barrel,* I have to think—might this just be an unbalanced gin? Is it the result more so of a happy accident. Put gin in a barrel and it turns out good? Or was it the product of design? As in from the moment they distilled the gin that went into the barrel, they thought about creating a gin that tasted like this?
I would love to have tasted some botanicals when sipping Coppers Barrel Gin. But if the goal was to create a lightly aged spirit that would appeal to a wide market and would be easily drinkable— mission accomplished.
Made possible through the New England Gin Exchange
Special thanks to John at Foodie Pilgrim. Since 2012, John has shared and sourced gins from New England and nearby that we at The Gin is In haven’t tried yet. This gin sample was shared by John, who is also a big fan of gin. So check out his New England Gin Reviews as well.
*I think the best barrel aged gins treat the barrel as if a botanical and consider its integration when they design the spirit to go into it.
What other cocktails can I make with aged gin?
The first cocktail book dedicated to barrel aged gins is now out! Featuring 25 Cocktails!
Including historical re-interpretations like the Fallen Angel cocktail from 1941 (which originally featured barrel-aged Booth's Gin).
...and completely new creations like the Cola Approval, the best way to make a gin-and-tonic like drink with aged gin.