Copper Rivet Distillery Tasting Part 2

Welcome to part two of our two-part series on Copper Rivet. In this segment, we will be reviewing their beloved ‘Masthouse Whisky’ and ‘Son of a Gun’ grain spirit by sampling the actual spirits. As the old adage goes, “Sharing is caring,” and thanks to Copper Rivet’s generous gift of 100ml bottles of their whiskies (including grain, column malt, and single malt), I had the opportunity to share them with Mike and Ciaran, enabling us to conduct a thorough tasting. Furthermore, I purchased their cask-aged grain spirit for a separate taste test, adding to the task.

Since there are four spirits to taste, we have decided to compile our notes instead of presenting three separate sets of notes. The following is a collective review of each spirit, consisting of our individual thoughts and opinions from myself, Ciaran, and Mike. The scores however are my own, although there was very little fluctuation between the three of us.

Son of a Gun Grain Spirit

ABV: 47.4%

Price: £32 (50cl bottle) available at Copper Rivet online shop

Nose: The nose presents an abundance of tropical aromas, including hints of dried and freshly cut mango. These fruit notes continue to dominate, with a burst of green apple and a touch of lemon zest also apparent. Although there is little spice at this stage, subtle hints of black pepper can be detected.

Palate: The mouthfeel and texture are really interesting, boasting a creamy, velvety texture that imitates spiced vanilla custard. As for the flavour, the spice notes become more prominent, with hints of clove, cinnamon, and a touch of aniseed reminiscent of Grappa.

Finish: While the finish is not as long-lasting as anticipated, a pleasant peppery note lingers on the palate. A finishing touch of chili chocolate emerges, adding a delightful warmth and required depth to the spirit.

Score: 5.5/10

Masthouse Grain Whiskey

ABV: 45%

Price: £42 (50cl bottle) available at Copper Rivet online shop

Nose: Is this bourbon? Wood has certainly done a good job of mellowing the spirit from ‘Son of a Gun’ out here. The dominant flavour here is caramel, and lots of it. Alongside this, there are additional notes of muscovado sugar and burnt honeycomb, creating a complex and certainly delightful flavour profile. Hints of damp hay and herbs add a unique twist, while the notes of panna cotta and lemon meringue pie with a side of vanilla custard make for a heavenly dessert-like experience.

Palate: The flavour is very reminiscent of bourbon, and it follows through with the same characteristics as the nose. There’s a dominant burnt caramel flavour, continuing the delightful dessert experience with the addition of crème brûlée notes, which are a welcome addition. As the flavour develops, hints of the grain spirit’s DNA come through, with burnt orange zest and vanilla flavours also present.

Finish: At last, something other than a traditional bourbon profile comes through and the spice notes finally emerge, providing much-needed depth to the flavour profile. A nice helping of cracked black pepper is particularly notable, while a subtle yet delightful note of Angostura bitters also comes through nicely, adding an extra and much needed layer of complexity.

Score: 6/10

Masthouse Single Malt Whiskey

ABV: 45%

Price: £47 (50cl bottle) available at Copper Rivet online shop

Nose: Summer-time has arrived with distinct nettle notes and freshly cut grass, evoking the essence of the season. As it hits the palate, an abundance of juicy fruit flavours dance on the taste buds, with succulent strawberries, honeydew melon, and a bright zest of grapefruit adding to the symphony. The overall effect is reminiscent of the classic Pimm’s cup, perfect for sipping and savouring on a warm summer day.

Palate: Upon sipping, the freshness of this beverage shines through once more, with subtle yet distinct undertones of freshly cut cucumber and a delightful hint of kiwi, rounding out a complex array of fruit flavours. A pleasing note of black pepper emerges, adding a touch of spice and depth that balances the sweetness perfectly.

Finish: The finish takes on a more rounded and complex flavour profile. The addition of rich dark honey and smooth vanilla create a luxurious mouthfeel that elevates the overall experience. But that’s not all – a surprising and delicious twist emerges with a subtle note of Werther’s Originals, adding a nostalgic touch to the finish.

Score: 7/10

Masthouse Column Malt Whiskey 45%

ABV: 45%

Price: £45 (50cl bottle) available at Copper Rivet online shop

Nose: A really interesting cacophony of flavours initially come through on the nose. At first, a distinct note of foam banana sweets dominates, evoking a sense of childhood nostalgia. As the scent deepens, tropical notes begin to emerge, with burnt pineapple, dried mango, and papaya adding a sweet and exotic twist.

Palate: Unfortunately, there’s a slight sense of unbalance with the spirit. While there are certainly notes of spice present, with hints of peppermint, clove, and cinnamon adding some complexity, there is a noticeable lack of depth and nuance compared to the notes we found on the nose. This disparity between the nose and palate unfortunately left us with a sense of disappointment, as the promise of the aroma fails to fully deliver on the palate, unlike the other spirits we had tried. We did add a little water, which opened up the notes for some, but killed it for others.

Finish: Fortunately, the whisky’s finish offers some redemption. A subtle note of pepper emerges, complemented by the delightful flavour of chocolate ginger snaps, creating a enticing heat and some depth. The angostura bitters also make a return appearance, adding complexity to the finish. To top it all off, the experience is rounded out with a final flourish of banana Crusha, leaving a sweet and satisfying aftertaste. The finish salvages what the palate lacked and delivers a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Score: 5.5/10, 6/10 with a drop of water


Overall, Copper Rivet’s performance is impressive. Despite operating in an absolute whisky minefield, their scores are noteworthy, especially for a distillery of this size. The Water of Life has frequently discussed distilleries attempting to run before they can walk, but Copper Rivet appears to have found the perfect pace. They are firmly in the walking phase, but with exciting special releases on the horizon and cask strength offerings available for the King’s Coronation, the potential for growth is promising.

Copper Rivet’s commitment to putting flavour first was evident in our tasting. The distillery clearly took great care in crafting the spirit, and the bourbon cask maturation was especially well-executed. Although the column still added some punchy flavours to the column malt, we felt that this spirit was ultimately overshadowed by the star of the show, the single malt. The range of flavours present in the single malt whisky was impressive, especially considering its price point. Overall, we were impressed with the complexity and balance of the majority of the spirits.

Stephen Russell, co-founder of Copper Rivet, shared in his initial email to the Water of Life that Masthouse Whisky is soon to be a featured product at Waitrose, adding to its current list of respected retailers such as Berry Brothers, Harrods, Master of Malt, The Whisky Exchange, and Hard to Find Whiskies. It is clear that Masthouse Whisky has made a name for itself and offers a distinctive whisky that is worth trying. I am personally excited to purchase a bottle on my next visit and savour the pride that comes with owning a bottle.

One thought on “Copper Rivet Distillery Tasting Part 2

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s