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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > General > The Entrance Hall
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Leopold
Hello,

I am a distiller in Denver, Colorado, having just moved from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I've been brewing for 13 years, and distilling for 7. We've been making Absinthe for a bit. I started research in earnest when the word around the campfire was that it would be legal soon. My mom has a soft spot for anise spirits, and absinthe in particular, so what better reason to distill it, right?

I felt like I had to say hello, and give some sincere thanks to the FeeVerte for helping me with some aspects of Absinthe production. As an example, the thread on "how does your absinthe garden grown" was particularly interesting in discussing varieties of specific plants. The photos were super.

Other discussions on chop.gif…that quickly grew into all-out battles…were great. I've enjoyed posts and reviews by Donnie Darko, Hartsmar, Oxygenee, and countless others that have helped me to understand what you all find appealing or not appealing in various absinthes. I could go on and on, but really, I just need to send my thanks to all of you. It wouldn't be right to NOT thank you.

As to my absinthe, it's made with brandy, and distilled at high proof in a potstill with plates and a dephlegmator. I add Star Anise, Iceberg Lett… (kidding, kidding)……

I add Anise, Fennel, Veronica, G. Wormwood, Coriander to the still, and R. Wormwood, Hyssop, and Melissa for coloring. I rest it in fairly neutral used wine barrels before release. In short, I tried to PTFA, as requested by the good people of Fee Verte.

I hope you all like it, but I've got zero control over that, obviously.


In the end, my Mom loves it, and hey, what else could a distiller ask?

Oh, and special thanks to Oxygenee for the wonderful photo essay on distilling over at Oxygenee.com. The close up photos of the herbs were critical to sourcing quality herbs, which we airfreight in, and pay top dollar for. Thank you very, very much. The distillers of the world owe you big time for helping to reconstruct how a nearly forgotten spirits is created. And then there's your recent peer-reviewed chop.gif article….good stuff.


Oh, and personally? I'm a music nerd, love Gin, hockey, and jokes about cows trapped in fences. I can also name 10 movies that features an ape in a starring role….which is an important skill, although I'm not sure why.

Pleased to meet you all.
Ricki
Welcome to the forums. What is the brand name of your absinthe and when should we expect it to be available?

Do you happen to have any photos of your distillery and the process of making your Absinthe?
Marc
Welcome!
Great to have another distiller here.
absinthist
QUOTE(Leopold @ May 4 2008, 09:40 PM) *

In the end, my Mom loves it, and hey, what else could a distiller ask?

That's the way it is and forever shall be. Welcome abs-cheers.gif Can you show any labels or information when your extrait is gonna appear? Which brandy base it is, btw?
Shabba53
Welcome! abs-cheers.gif
Wilson
Welcome.

You now have our complete and undivided attention.
The Standard Deviant
Welcome! I don't think you could have made a better first impression!
OCvertDe
Welcome indeed!
dakini_painter
Hi there! from upstate NY. absintheglass-glow2.gif

Jaded Prole
Welcome. Your product sounds promising, I look forward to trying it.



Steyr850
Yes, great to have you here!
Can't wait to get a taste.
Grim
Welcome to the forum…
Steve
Welcome, and thanks for P'ing TFA! Your stuff sounds promising, I look forward to tasting it.
Selmac
Hello there!

Absomphe
Welcome, indeed! abs-cheers.gif

I'll lookk forward to trying your absinthe, as well.
Doctor Love
Hey you're not all that far from Nuge country!

How much burnt sugar do you usually serve with your creation?

Welcome to the forum!
Leopold
Absinthist asked what kind of brandy I use.

I use Pisco, which is distilled from the Muscat of Alexandria grape. It leaves a very, very mild estery finish in the flavor. It is not distracting in the least, and IMHO, works quite harmoniously with the botanicals. I didn't like the result when I used my vodka as a base. My vodka is made from fermented potatoes, malted wheat, and malted barley. It's, well, too boring as an Absinthe base IMHO.

As to how much burnt sugar I use, Doctor Love, I was told it was poor form to burn the sugar. So I, instead, light the absinthe fountain on fire before serving. It's a lovely effect. Don't ask me how I get the ice cold water to burn.

It's called Leopold Bros. Absinthe Verte (I know, creative name, right?). It will be released in Colorado this coming week, and I am registering it for special order in WA, VA, WY as soon as I can. It will hit CA in a few weeks (small, small amount)…and actually try our other spirits in SF as we just started distributing out there just two weeks ago. I know that the bar Absinthe in SF carries our Gin, and I would imagine that they'll carry our Absinthe Verte, but I can't be certain, obviously.

We also distribute our spirits in UK, and are working on Austria and Germany with an importer. I don't know for certain if either the UK or German importer will carry the Absinthe at this point. GA and SC will follow in a month or two, and we are negotiating with a distributor around Daikini Painter's neck of the woods (love your paintings, btw).

In Wash DC, Best Cellars in Dupont Circle carries our Gin, Vodka, and Blackberry Liqueur. I'm sending them a few cases of Absinthe this week.

If any of you in control states wish for me to register our spirits for special order, let me know. I'm pleased that you are at all interested.

Cheers.
Jaded Prole
Hopefully it will make it into the official VA state catalog and I can get them to stock it in the local ABC.
Doctor Love

Definitely would be interested in finding out how I would go about getting ahold of some here in CA!

Absomphe
QUOTE(Leopold @ May 5 2008, 07:55 AM) *

If any of you in control states wish for me to register our spirits for special order, let me know. I'm pleased that you are at all interested.


In theory, that would be wonderful for those of us in Washington, but the problem with special orders of liquors here is that one is forced to purchase a case. Your brand sounds really promising, but I'd rather continue to eat than drink absinthe, as heretical as that sounds. wink.gif
Steve
I see the TTB gave you label approval last week (still with the Michigan address)! Congratulations.

I'll be in Colorado in September, though not in Denver. I'll definitely search the Liquor Barn in Grand Junction for it though.
Leopold
That's an updated approval on an older COLA. Between the TTB lab, formulation, and labeling, the TTB is REALLY confused when it comes to Absinthe. We had to resend paperwork on different letterhead, different forms, etc. to get them all on the same page.

Oh, and I forgot to respond to another poster…don't have any photos as yet, and our website is horribly outdated. We're in the middle of fixing that. We should have some nice photos in a month or so when the move from Ann Arbor is completed.

And, wow, a whole case from the State of Washington??? Good god, I thought that they were all about temperance.

I'm working with a really nice guy from the Liberty Bar in Seattle to get it on there. I'll keep you informed. The Liquor Barn has been carrying most of our line for about a year. That'll be a good place to look.

cheers.
Head_prosthesis
Are you missing Zingerman's.
I am.
GO BLUE!
Absomphe
Thanks much, Leopold.

I'll check the Liquor Barn periodically. abs-cheers.gif
Nephrite
Looking forward to seeing your brand at our local BevMo! Welcome abs-cheers.gif
Provenance
QUOTE(Leopold @ May 5 2008, 06:55 AM) *
In Wash DC, Best Cellars in Dupont Circle carries our Gin, Vodka, and Blackberry Liqueur. I'm sending them a few cases of Absinthe this week.


That's rather convenient. I'll pick some up as when it arrives.

Lord Stanley
QUOTE(Leopold @ May 5 2008, 09:55 AM) *

We also distribute our spirits in UK, and are working on Austria and Germany with an importer. I don't know for certain if either the UK or German importer will carry the Absinthe at this point.


Screw them. They've got enough choices over there already. Let's work on wider distribution within the continental US. wink.gif

Were you one of those antagonizing, winged-wheel wearers at the Pepsi Center last week?
That wasn't pretty.

Welcome to LFV and best of luck with your venture into absinthe.
speedle
Welcome aboard, and I can't wait to try some of your product! Oh, and please continue to PTFA, we love it when people listen to us.
abs-cheers.gif
Shabba53
QUOTE(Provenance @ May 5 2008, 12:10 PM) *

QUOTE(Leopold @ May 5 2008, 06:55 AM) *
In Wash DC, Best Cellars in Dupont Circle carries our Gin, Vodka, and Blackberry Liqueur. I'm sending them a few cases of Absinthe this week.


That's rather convenient. I'll pick some up as when it arrives.

As will I. I'm in DC at least 1 or 2 days a week. Giggity!
Leopold
QUOTE(Lord Stanley @ May 5 2008, 10:43 AM) *

QUOTE(Leopold @ May 5 2008, 09:55 AM) *

We also distribute our spirits in UK, and are working on Austria and Germany with an importer. I don't know for certain if either the UK or German importer will carry the Absinthe at this point.


Screw them. They've got enough choices over there already. Let's work on wider distribution within the continental US. wink.gif

Were you one of those antagonizing, winged-wheel wearers at the Pepsi Center last week?
That wasn't pretty.

Welcome to LFV and best of luck with your venture into absinthe.


US distribution is tough. There's been a ton of consolidation, and it is my belief that the Pernod Ricard's and Brown Forman's of the world are gearing up for cheap Absinthe production as I type this. If you wind up in the wrong 'house', you'll wind up getting buried by the distributor as they push the big bucks brand, and ignore yours. I've seen it happen to some nice people in other categories.

And nope, not a Red Wings fan. NY Rangers. They had a nice year before Malkin and Crosby showed up in the Garden and showed them what's what. I'm hoping for a Wings v. Pens Final.

Thanks for all the kind words and PM's, guys (and gals).


Provenance
I checked with Best Cellars and they are not sure when it's going to be in stock but they did offer me a sample of the Leopold gin which I liked.
Oxygenee
Welcome Leopold! It's always a pleasure to welcome another distiller to the Forum.

abs-cheers.gif
Donnie Darko
Welcome. Congrats on the TTB approval, and I look forward to trying your product ASAP. It's encouraging to see a US distiller intending to make a quality product using the traditional ingredients. You seem to "get it".

Out of curiosity, what proof is your brandy at prior to maceration? If that's getting too close to revealing important parts of your process, I understand if you prefer not to answer. I'm wondering if one of the (many) problems with St. George is that their macerating spirit isn't high proof enough, not that it matters since Star Anise obscures all the other distilled botanicals, but their alcohol base has this buttery thing to it that seems like drinking-proof Brandy after a first-pass rectification.

I hope the Pernod Ricard/Seagrams people aren't going to flood the market with cheapo piss Absinthe, but I fear they're probably already jealous that Tourment Vert beat them to the punch of flooding the market with mouthwash and will kick the door down any day now. No surprise though, I never expected the US market to contain mostly good absinthes…
Leopold
No problem telling how I do things. The brandy is at 92+% before maceration.

Pisco is a very low proof brandy which is at 63%. IMHO, it needed rectification before use as an absinthe base. So that's what I did. But the mild ester aroma is worth the extra work. I would have been impressed if anyone could have deduced that I used Pisco without being told as much. It's really just a whisper of flavor…but that's what crafted spirits are all about, IMHO.

Re: Pernod Ricard et. al. It's more a question of distributors. If there's anything a distributor/wholesaler loves it's a product (I use the word product rather than the word spirit on purpose) that has a huge margin, and requires zero effort to sell. In this case, there are crummy liquor stores all over America who just want a bottle that reads "Absinthe" on their shelves. They could care less what's in the bottle. If we make it to the holidays this year without the Absinthe flood, I'll be amazed.
Leopold
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ May 5 2008, 03:19 PM) *


I'm wondering if one of the (many) problems with St. George is that their macerating spirit isn't high proof enough, not that it matters since Star Anise obscures all the other distilled botanicals, but their alcohol base has this buttery thing to it that seems like drinking-proof Brandy after a first-pass rectification.



I think that this is a very astute comment. You'll note that St. George's Absinthe is classified as being made of "Fine Brandy…..etc. etc." Once you use the word Brandy on the label, TTB standards of identity dictates that the base spirit cannot be distilled at higher than 95% abv. (of course, this assumes that the TTB is consistent in their rulings, which is not always the case). Depending on the grape base, Mr. Winters could get quite a bit of grape flavor in his final absinthe.

I would like to add that I've never tried St. George's Absinthe, and I hold Mr. Winters in the highest regard. This is not meant as criticism. I'm just pointing out a labeling quirk that limits what Mr. Winters can do.

I have a bit more leeway with my spirit base, as it is classified as "Grape Spirit….etc., etc.". In other words, I can distill it above or below 95% with no restriction from the TTB. I can rectify the spirit all that I like, at whatever proof I like.

Probably more than you want to know.
Lord Stanley
Nah, people here love to know shit like that. The more the better.
Absomphe
Indeed!
Shabba53
Agreed.
OCvertDe
Your product sounds better with every post, I'm looking forward to it.
Kirk
Indeed, things might be looking up, welcome to the fray Leo!
speedle
Springtime in the rockies anyone? Thanks for every word! That kind of clarification and insight is music to my ears, that's for sure.
Marc
Glad to see someone who seems to know what absinthe is and how it should be distilled, this is really encouraging for the US market.
Congrats Leopold!
Nephrite
What he said! Some here are sick and tired of drinking St. George and Lucid when to broke to buy anything better. Of course, there's Arak for slumming still… no pun intended.
G&C
How about we taste it first?
Nephrite
Good point.
Marc
QUOTE(G&C @ May 6 2008, 07:53 AM) *

How about we taste it first?

Totally agreed.
I'm just saying that he seems to know what he's talking about, I'm not saying the stuff will surely taste good.
Leopold
QUOTE(G&C @ May 6 2008, 12:53 AM) *

How about we taste it first?


G&C is absolutely right.

If I've learned anything in all my years of brewing and distilling, not to mention what I've learned from reading Fee Verte, (I'll save you all the suspense)it's this:

There is zero chance that all of you are going to like my Absinthe. Zero.




Provenance
Good.
Provenance
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Leopold @ May 6 2008, 10:47 AM) *

QUOTE(G&C @ May 6 2008, 12:53 AM) *

How about we taste it first?


G&C is absolutely right.

If I've learned anything in all my years of brewing and distilling, not to mention what I've learned from reading Fee Verte, (I'll save you all the suspense)it's this:

There is zero chance that all of you are going to like my Absinthe. Zero.


Ha. Hammer hits nail squarely on head.

There's nothing wrong though with being enthusiastic to try an absinthe that on paper sounds promising.
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