The latest round of Diageo’s Orphan Barrel releases is Copper Tongue, a 16 year old cast strength bourbon made at George Dickel’s Cascade Hollow Distilling Company. The whiskey is immediately unusual in that it spent those years in a single-story rickhouse in the Tullahoma, Tennessee facility, which likely explains the surprisingly low abv considering this is a cask strength release (44.9%).
This is the second Orphan Barrel release from Cascade Hollow, following the 28 year old Whoop & Holler five years ago. Let’s give it a whirl.
Exotic and unusual on the nose, the whiskey promptly evokes chocolate and almond notes before quickly blowing off, revealing a significant savoriness that’s left in its stead. Gunpowder and a heavy barrel char note come into focus from there, with a gentle barbecue note in the mix. The palate’s a little thin, reflecting the delicate nature of the bourbon, with mild but lingering notes of chocolate, coconut, and caramel corn. The finish is a bit on the short side, again focused largely on chocolate and some peanut notes, touched with notes of mint.
This is hardly going to be a rousing crowd-pleaser of a whiskey, as its flavors and aromas are more subtle and understated. What has been left behind by the angels however is on point, making this a surprisingly interesting exploration of what a single-floor rickhouse can do to a spirit after 16 years in barrel there.
Think of it more as whiskey for the brain, not the body.