Coppers Gin begins with a little bit of a terroir approach; Vermont Distillers use hand-picked Vermont grown juniper berries. Produced in small batches, the botanical bill doesn’t pull any punches. You have your traditional angelica, coriander, cassia and orange. Then they add a contemporary touch with Coriander.
The distillery operates on the premise of “in-house and hand-built.” [source] The DIY and Vermont-sourced ethic extends from the juniper, to the equipment, to the base spirit. Distilled from grain, Coppers Gin comes from their hand-built 150 gallon copper pot still.
The nose is strong with spice. Particularly coriander and a heavy hit of thick cardamom. Coppers Gin has a creamy, almost archetypal spice-forward contemporary style gin approach.
The palate is where Coppers Gin opens up. There’s more than just a cardamom bomb nose. Cardamom, vanilla pods at first, mid-palate orange peel and a gentle sweetness usher in a crisp juniper-led finish. Angelica is one botanical here which exerts a surprising background effect, particularly on the finish. The juniper has a heavy, slightly musky, slightly celery-laden note.
Warm and pleasantly spiced, it recedes nicely on the palate. The finish is medium-length.
Another thing I do like about Coppers Gin is the texture of the base spirit. It has a decent viscosity and a mild oily character. It does a good job of holding the botanicals on the palate, allowing some of the deeper based aromatics to volatilize on the finish
When I wrote about Coppers Gin in my book GIN: the Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival, I recommended the Alaska Cocktail. I stand by that one. The yellow Chartreuse is the perfect counterpoint to the bold cardamom notes.
I then paired it with Powell and Mahoney’s Original Sparkling Tonic. The lemon and lemongrass notes from the tonic really brightened the otherwise spice heavy introduction, while the quinine absolutely pushed the juniper’s angelica note to the fore. This was a good Gin and Tonic.
The spice notes also suggest deep, rich, and spicy cocktails. Add some gin to your next Aperol Spritz (I know, not technically an Aperol Spritz anymore). The cardamom and juniper notes add some earthy depth and complexity to an otherwise sweet drink. The Negroni also showcases the gin’s spice-forward side, but those in the anti-cardamom camp might be dismayed. Yup, the Negroni really highlights the coriander and cardamom.
Vermont Spirits have set out with an elegant, simple, DIY vision and I think they’ve executed it well. Coppers Gin is contemporary styled and has many nice qualities that I think will appeal to fans of the cardamom-forward style of contemporary gins.
Unfortunately, as nice as it can be, it may be hard to distinguish Coppers Gin among the vast array of gins released in the past five years that have a heavy handed cardamom centerpiece. While it’s not a one-note wonder, Coppers Gin is a solid gin that doesn’t readily distinguish itself. It’s good, and if you’re a fan of the style already, you’ll enjoy it.
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I like it in a Negroni, too, with an herby vermouth!If you drive into VT from NH on I-89, consider a side-trip to the distillery. There's also a huge antiques coop there where I have scored some nice barware.