Monday, November 1, 2021

Leopold Bros. Three Chamber Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes


There exists a gentleman who distills whiskey in a Denver suburb. He’s one of the most highly-respected distillers in the country. He has taught and mentored so many in this industry. His name?  Todd Leopold. His distillery?  Leopold Bros.


Leopold Bros. is distinct for several reasons aside from Todd.  Founded in 1999, the distillery has the largest malting floor in the United States. Everything is done in-house. There’s no sourcing of anything, including the botanicals in the garden just outside the open fermentation tanks. Those botanicals create the wild yeast used in, well, everything.


It also houses the only working three-chamber still in the country, the kind that was super-popular among American distillers…


“For over a hundred years, American rye whiskey was commonly produced in what was called a Three Chamber Still to extract not only distillate, but also oils and aromas hidden in the grains. The resulting spirit was marketed as “heavy-bodied” whiskey, but production stopped just after World War II and the still in which it was made became a lost American tradition.

Leopold Bros. painstakingly re-engineered a Three Chamber Still from old manuscripts and grew the heritage grain Abruzzi rye that was favored by Pre-Prohibition distillers to resurrect this one-of-a-kind whiskey.” – Leopold Bros.


That one-of-a-kind whiskey is aptly named Three Chamber Rye Whiskey.  It starts with a mash of 80% Abruzzi rye and 20% malt from the malting floor. It was (obviously) run through that still, then aged four years in new, charred oak barrels. As a bonus, it is Bottled-in-Bond, which means, aside from other things, it is bottled at 100°. There were 5280 bottles made, and that wasn’t by accident. That’s the famous elevation of Denver. If you can find a bottle (and I’ve seen one very recently at a Binny’s in Vernon Hills, Illinois), you can expect to pay about $250.00 for it.


I’d like to thank Leopold Bros. for providing me a sample of the Three Chamber Rye Whiskey in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. The only way to see if this is worth all the trouble Todd and his team have gone through is to #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: Poured neat in my Glencairn glass, this Rye presented as the color of rich topaz. It formed a thicker rim that generated fat, slow legs that crawled back to the pool of liquid sunshine.


Nose: To suggest this whiskey was fragrant would be unfair to the term. It filled the room with aromas of orange peel, vanilla, peach, nutmeg, and toasted oak. It even smelled oily! When I took the air into my mouth, I experienced dill. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was there.


Palate:  The mouthfeel was heavy and oily. It slid down my throat, almost anticipating my desire to swallow. The first things I tasted were vanilla, dark chocolate, and toasted oak. Next up were rye spice, orange citrus, and peach. The back featured leather, tobacco, nutmeg, and white pepper.


Finish:  You’d never guess this one was 100° because there wasn’t even a hint of burn.  Rye spice, leather, tobacco, cocoa powder, oak, nutmeg, peach, and, finally, vanilla, gave this a spicy-to-sweet, medium-length finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  The Three-Chamber Rye is one of those dangerous whiskeys. It goes down way too easily. After several sips, the proof is like the Kool-Aid Man as he busts through a wall. Before you even know what happened, you’re feeling it in your head. There was absolutely nothing not to love, except perhaps the cost.


I realize that the Three-Chamber Rye is an absolutely unique whiskey. That’s always a turn-on for me. But with American whiskeys, and even Scotches, $250.00 is a big hit to my wallet. Can I see myself spending that on this Rye?  No.  Do I think you need to experience this for yourself? Absolutely! If you can find it, try it. You’ll fall in love, and you’ll then have to decide if this is worth the purchase. Due to the price and only the price, this one takes a Bar rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

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