Copper & Kings is the Kentucky-based upstart American brandy producer. They started out releasing brandy sourced from other producers that they had matured further in bourbon barrels at their own location—where I think loud rock and blues music is played to the casks or some such. I believe their own distillate is now online and presumably being used in their current releases. As I haven’t really been keeping up with spirits news for the last three or four years or so, I haven’t really been following what Copper & Kings has been up to. If you’d asked me before I got this sample (from Sku) what kind of brandy they make/release, I would have said grape (I’ve reviewed one of those: the Butchertown). I had no idea they also did pear brandy. That said, I don’t know if they still do pear brandy (or whether they distilled or sourced the pear brandy they released). The products list on their website makes no mention of pear brandy, though a couple of apple brandies are listed. This one was apparently a single cask released for Kenwood Liquors in Illinois. Was it a one-off? I’d assume it was also aged in a bourbon barrel with loud rock music played to it. Hopefully a more reliable source will chime in, and I won’t be surprised if it’s Joe Heron, the lively and enthusiastic proprietor of Copper & Kings. I was not a huge fan of the Butchertown; but I am very interested to see what this is like as I am very partial to the pear-heavy calvados produced in the Domfrontais region.
Copper & Kings Pear Brandy (52.5%; single cask for Kenwood Liquors; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Big pear off the top—almost like pear concentrate! Below it are some new makey notes that expand with each sniff. As it sits those new makey notes take on an astringent plasticky/vegetal character: hopefully they’ll burn off with air or recede with water. Well, time/air doesn’t do much for it but a few drops of water integrate the fruit and the raw notes and the whole is much nicer now.
Palate: Leads with the pear; those new makey notes (mezcal’ish) come in behind but thankfully the astringency isn’t here. Nice texture and quite approachable at full strength. Alas, the astringent notes show up on the second sip—not quite plasticky but definitely some sort of chemical edge. Similar integration and mellowing here too with water.
Finish: Long. The new make notes expand and then settle into anise; some smoky overtones as well. The anise expands with time. As on the nose and palate with water and it gets sweeter too now.
Comments: Well, this is interesting, as we say in Minnesota. The pear notes here have strong crossovers with the pear-heavy calvados of Lemorton—all of that is good, but the astringent/chemical notes were not. Water fixed a lot of that but this still doesn’t add up to anything I’d want a bottle of. Your mileage may well vary—this is certainly unusual stuff.
Rating: 78 points.