Traditional Style American Whiskey from Leopold Brothers
If you’ve been with us since our first post, you may remember we like to host whiskey parties as often as we can. We really enjoy sharing whatever bottles we have with friends and family, especially those who may have not tried whiskey outside of a cocktail ingredient. A side benefit of our parties is that we drain older bottles to make space for new ones. We also have generous and thoughtful friends, who despite our efforts to make sure no one feels the need to bring a bottle of something with them, will contribute some interesting bottles to our collection. One of our friends never fails to surprise, and we will review another one of his selections today.
This friend has a depth of knowledge of American whiskey that we can only hope to achieve. He introduced us to Quincey Street Distillery, the Chicago area company making delicious bourbon style whiskey. On another occasion, he presented us with another American whiskey from a small batch distillery. We had never heard of Leopold Bros., and he assured us we had never tried anything like it.
Leopold Bros. began as a brewery/distillery in Ann Arbor and eventually settled in Denver. The company focus on hand crafted spirits, doing everything from malting barley to bottling in house with a minimal impact on the environment. One of the more noteworthy features of the Leopold Bros. process is that the company uses open fermentation tanks. Essentially the mash is fermented in pine vats that utilize the natural yeast floating around in the air.
Leopold Bros. American Small Batch Whiskey
The mash bill for this whiskey is a mix of corn and rye, so we anticipated the flavor profile to overlap with that of a younger bourbon. We’re not sure how long Leopold Bros. ages the whiskey, but if we would guess it would be on the younger side.
On the Eyes:. The whiskey is pale gold, the color of a light lager beer. In the glass the liquid has a lighter texture but paradoxically leaves long lasting legs.
On the Nose: The aroma conjured very specific connections to baked apples and warm poached pears, heavily spiced. The nose is also pretty spirit heavy and a touch sour.
To the Taste: Initially, the whiskey was light and delicately sweet with the taste and starch texture of rice pudding. Heat builds mid palette as the oak takes center stage.
And the Finish: The flavors peter out and transform into a dry finish with notes of pepper and dry wood.
The aroma of Leopold Bros. Small Batch whiskey is unlike any American whiskey we have tried. While this is pure speculation, the open fermentation may have been the contributing factor in the sour, yeast heavy notes we picked up. The initial flavor of stewed fruit desserts was very pleasant and reminded us of the all to quickly approaching holiday season. The flavor of Leopold Bros. is a bit dry for our tastes, but the whiskey is very drinkable and offers a strong contrast to many bourbons which share a similar mash bill. We wonder what this whiskey would taste like finished in some European oak. In the meantime, Leopold Bros. offers another look at the thriving craft spirits market.