Copperfish Gold Rum

Copperfish Gold Rum

Craft Rum Box | Copperfish Rum

A holiday at home Cornish Rum, made from scratch.

Copperfish Rum is the most recent offering from Copperfish distillery, based down on Buller Quay in Looe, a small Cornish coastal town and fishing port.

The distillery was first established back in 2018 and features a custom designed bespoke still
that was sourced and installed by Ryebeck Ltd. The team keep ongoing consultancy advice and support as they are keen to keep up with the latest industry developments (and believe me when I see this industry moves quickly). Quality is important and they pride themselves on making high quality great tasting spirits and drinks with passion and pride in small batches, showcasing the best of Cornwall.

Initially, the focus was on moonshine and they have since spread out into gins and now rum. Local ingredients are sourced where possible to support the local economy, and to help with sustainability by reducing the mileage that goes into production. I caught up with sales and marketing guru Andy Walton to find out a little more about it. “We started on Moonshine as we were keen to have a product that we could produce quickly to generate some cash flow. Also, we’re driven to create “Proper Spirits, Made Proper” for our Copperfish Brand, and we use local suppliers where possible. The mash has a recipe of corn, malted barley and wheat, with the corn coming from a farm 17 miles away from the distillery. We’ve had some fine comments and recommendations for our Original Moonshine which picked up a Taste of the West 2022 Gold Award.”

The brand Copperfish is a nod to two major industries in Cornwall, fishing and mining, and with this there is also a double reference to the copper stills. The branding was designed in a collaboration with Andrea Lilley of Moosedisco, incorporating the colours of copper oxides in the range
of flavours available. After running their moonshine operation for a year, the Ryebeck still equipment was installed in 2019 and they trialled the first run of their gin recipe. They also formed the current team of Billy (Director), Rob (Distiller), Jemma (Finances and Procurement) and Andy (Sales and Marketing).

Here at Copperfish, we don’t cut corners, because we believe life is too short for second best. Unlike many British Rums, ours are made from scratch, so we know what’s in it and how to deliver the best quality rum we can make. Starting from organic cane sugar and molasses in small batches we ferment, pot distil, oak cask age, filter, fill and label every bottle of our precious award-winning rum here at our harbourside distillery in Looe.

The rum is the latest in a long line of products, so I asked Andy about how it came about and how they make it. “After much research into styles and approaches we looked into sources of ingredients, and this helped us to plan an approach.” Andy began, “Rob devised a recipe and process and got to work on the washes. We ordered some Caribbean Rum Casks that were re-coopered for us. Following the design of our Moonshine labels I got to work with our graphic designer partner to create the “naval” look of the Copperfish featuring the anchor. We start with the wash using organic sustainably sourced cane sugar from Brazil and cane molasses. This is fermented for a minimum of two weeks and up to a month. This period allows us to convert and much sugar to alcohol and on average attain 18%. This then assists with gaining a decent yield from the spirit run. This is dependent on the ABV of the wash and the external climate, as these factors really do impact the fermentation, even while controlling vessel temperatures. We then run the wash through our bespoke DES still which is a 500 litre Pot Still with 3 columns. Having the control of running small batches and being very particular about what makes the heads, hearts and tails, we can be very discerning over the quality of our spirits. The fine white rum comes out in the high eighties and is pleasantly smooth. On the nose you get marzipan, fruit cake notes. To the taste the smoothy silky spirit has notes of butter, rich cane sugar, plum. We then fill our re-coopered Caribbean Rum barrels and leave to age.”

I found it interesting to see that there is already a pineapple flavoured rum available on their website. This made me curious as to whether the team where experimenting with other flavours. “Yes”, said Andy, “we had learnt a fair amount about fruit infusions from our gin brand Looe Gin, where our post distillation fruit infused gins are only made using fresh fruit. It has its challenges and there are always slight variations with colour and taste, however we believe that this is a bonus of the craft approach. We’re celebrating the beauty and variation of nature. This has led to our use of limited editions and so we decided to rest some lesser aged gold rum onto fresh pineapple. Whilst the yield is limited, the end result makes for a great cocktail rum. We’re exploring the use of coffee and cacao beans along with seasonal fruits. Watch this space!”

And, for those of you who aren’t so fussed with flavoured rums, I thought I’d ask if they were experimenting with different cask styles for any future releases.

“We are indeed”. Andy smiles. “We are experimenting with sherry and Cognac casks, and this has led to a Black Rum
that we will release at 57% in the not too distant future. It’s fascinating how these predefined casks offer up subtle notes to
a base alcohol. Every day is a school day as we’re learning and discovering all the time.”

And I think something we are all interested in is a nice set of flavour notes to give us some idea of what to look for, and of course some recommended serves. “Of course,” starts Andy, “on the nose we have fruit cake, citrus and burnt toffee, to taste oak, honey, fruity burnt orange. Apart from sipping it neat which we would highly recommend as it was awarded a Taste of the West 2022 Gold Awards, we like it with a light flavoured tonic over ice and a slice of lime. The light tonic allows the flavour of the fine rum to be at the forefront, while the lime helps lift the citrus notes. We’re not adverse to drinking with cola, although it can subdue the fine flavours of the spirit. Another like is with a good Ginger Ale, if you wish to heat up your approach to the rum. We’ve also created a Looe Island Iced Tea with equal shots of Looe Kumquat Gin, Copperfish Gold Rum & Vodka, Peach Schnapps, Aperol, Lime & Cola.”

Looe Island Iced Tea? Sold! That sounds amazing! As always, I like to ask if there’s anything else Andy would like to add. I’m pleased to say there is, and it’s very exciting news. “We’ve taken on additional premises that has gone through planning approval. This will be additional operational space and a visitor centre with a balcony on the quayside. This will allow us to run Rum and Gin experiences along with tours and tastings.”

Exciting times ahead for Copperfish Distillery. Yeghes Da!

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Bernadette Pamplin

Bernadette loves rum. She set up a gin focused blog Under The Ginfluence eight years ago. Since then, her passion has naturally spread from gin, to rum and other spirits too. You can find work from her on Gin Magazine, Distiller Magazine, and Spirits Beacon, as well as content for  The Gin Guide.

She’s also the editor of Rum’s the Word, writing articles on rums featured in the box, as well as other rum related topics. Bernadette has built up six years experience in judging for events like Gin of the Year, World Gin Awards, Spirits Business Awards, Gin Guide Awards, IWSC and the American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits and works behind the scenes, assisting with organising and participating in panels for the Craft Distilling Expo.