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Store Picks

Leopold Bros Single Barrel Bourbon Pick – How & Why

Published January 31, 2022

Haven’t heard of Leopold Bros yet? You won’t forget the name now! A lot of great whiskeys are being produced in Colorado and we are so proud to have a Leopold Bros Bourbon Store Pick Single Barrel here at First Fill Spirits.

Todd & Scott Leopold relocated the distillery from Michigan to their home state of Colorado in the mid-2000s and began small-scale distilling. Then in 2014, they would build a custom distillery where all of their whiskey is made today. They have become famous for many things including their own malting floor on site which is extremely rare to have here in North America and the only one in Colorado along with their 3-Chamber Still. Just take our word for it and YouTube this still, it is an engineering and historical masterpiece.

Charles and I weren’t necessarily seeking a Leopold Bros single barrel but when we were presented with samples and told there were only 3 single barrels being released to upstate NY we knew we had to at least try them, just in case.

Their Bourbon is composed of predominantly corn along with malted barley and heritage rye called “Abruzzi”. They utilize wooden, open fermentation tanks and an indigenous yeast strain. This Bourbon has been pot stilled and matured in their unheated, dunnage style warehouse in Colorado.

Leopold Bros Bourbon First FIll Spirits Single Barrel
50% ABV / 100 Proof
Barrel # 69
Mashbill: 64% Corn 21% Malted Barley 15% Abruzzi Heritage Rye
Years Old: 4
Bottles:Β 198 bottles
Tasting Notes:

Holly..
Nose – Honeycomb, toast with butter and peanuts.

Palate – Creamy roasted nuts, fresh camp wood char, Buckwheat honey – that musty and malty sweetness.

Finish – Definite chai spice on the finish with some menthol lingering. Super clean finish!

Charles…
Nose – Hay, straw, honey, brown sugar, and cabinet spice.

Palate – Citrus, honey, cedar, butterscotch, and malt balls.

Finish – Medium to long, spice, mint, anise, and cherry.

 

Wondering why it was bottled at 100 proof as well? See the explanation below from Scott Leopold.

“One of the unique things about our whiskey program is that we have adopted the Pre-Prohibition standard of a low barrel entry proof. That is, the whiskey comes off the still at about 125 proof and we cut it with water down to 100 proof before we introduce it into the barrel for aging. In our dunnage-style warehouse, it maintains that 100 proof standard throughout the aging process, and thus, when we withdraw it for bottling, it is already at 100 proof. For us, 100 proof is both cask strength and bottle strength. This is the way it was done by most distillers prior to the 1960s when the TTB changed its rules on aging to allow distillers to put new make whiskey directly into the barrel at 125 proof without cutting it with water.

The primary reason why we adhere to the old traditions is taste. Alcohol is a wonderful solvent and at a higher proof of 125, it will reach into the barrel and extract not only the nice wood sugars you are after but also tannins and other compounds that we are not really interested in obtaining. Once extracted, the only way to temper these compounds, which in our opinion cause the whiskey to taste β€œsharp”,Β  is with age and oxidation. This is one of the reasons why many believe that older whiskies are β€œbetter” whiskies because time allows these oxidation reactions to take place to effectively reverse the effect of tannic extraction due to higher alcohol proofs.”