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Copper & Kings launches barrel-aged absinthe

Kentucky-based Copper & Kings American Brandy is to launch Zmaj, a limited edition aged absinthe matured in Serbian juniper wood barrels for 18 months.

Produced from a double-distilled Muscat brandy base, the absinthe is non-chill-filtered and free from any post-distillation flavour or essence additives. Botanicals include artemisia, absinthium, anis, fennel and hyssop.

The absinthe is inspired by the legend of Zmaj (alternatively Zmej, Zmey, Zmeu or Zmiy; with Zmaj pronounced ‘Zm-eye‘), a dragon renowned in Balkan folklore.

Zmaj is known to be wealthy and lustful, extremely intelligent but with a short-fused temper – which could describe the spirit in the bottle, the brand says.

The bottle design features a depiction of Zmaj by Louisville artist Damon Westenhofer.

“Absinthe has a somewhat mythological reputation; a reputation that is perhaps a little over-the-top, but to us the fantastical landscape represented a wonderful personality and canvas upon which to work,” said Copper & Kings founder, Joe Heron. “To imbue a sense of adventure, an incredible journey, and a lovely escapism. To let bartenders and drinkers dream a little.”

Head distiller Brandon O’Daniel added: “Intense, elegant, the Muscat base adds voluptuousness and a viscous mouthfeel, and the barrels add novel flavour nuance and depth that goes on and on. I’m not sure we can more fun than we are having right now.

“Serbian juniper wood barrels are quite challenging maturation vessels for spirits – quite porous, sappy, not exactly efficient. But, oh my goodness – what character, worth it in the end,” O’Daniel continued.

Copper & Kings Zmaj Absinthe Superior has given aroma and tasting notes of fennel, lemon, ginger preserves, salty caramel, sweet honey and liquorice. ]

The release is bottled at 65% abv and retails at US$60 for a 750ml bottle. Distribution is limited to select bars and retailers and the Copper & Kings Distillery.

Last year, Copper & Kings launched 3 Marlenas Tequila Barrel Aged Apple Brandy, which was matured for two years in former Tequila barrels.

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