Copeland Merchant's Quay & Bonus Bottles
Based in Donaghadee, County Down, the Copeland Distillery story kicks off in 2016 with a crowd funding exercise to help them create infused gins initally. By August 2019 this crowd funding had paid off with the opening of the Copeland Distillery in it's 6,500 square foot home near Donaghadees harbour.
While still producing gin and also rum the lads at Copeland have been busy distilling single malt and pot still spirit too and plan to release matured spirit in 2024. In the meantime they have also turned their hands to blending sourced spirit and have released the Copeland Merchant's Quay blend off the back of that practice.
In full disclosure I was sent this bottle for free, gratis, I made no payment.....clear? Clear! Let's move on then....
The Merchant's Quay then is a blend of grain, double distilled malt and triple distilled malt matured in four different casks.....virgin oak, re-char bourbon, 1st fill bourbon and oloroso sherry. It's no age statement but the youngest component is the grain at just over 3 years. It's bottled at 40% abv and interestingly is both natural colour and non chill filtered! It can be picked up for around £32 a bottle.
Colour: bright gold
Nose: fresh oak, clove, red apples. Toffee, cinnamon, vanilla cream, clementines & lemon thyme.
Palate: not a bad mouthfeel at all - sweet caramelised red apples & some nectarine. Some spice from the virgin oak - mild pepper, clove & cinnamon. Brown sugar & almond notes.
Finish: a decent length with woody spice notes lingering and some cask char.
Let's start with the Merchant's Quay. I often get worried when a new Irish blend is released, so many lacklustre and highly priced pretenders have been brought to market (ahem Red Earl for example). Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised here. A solid, well crafted blend worthy of its £32 fee. Very much decent value at the price.While I'm glad to be positive about the Merchant's Quay it was the examples of Copeland's own distillates that excited me more - and I'm happy to report they were all good.