You can’t beat a bit of good old fashioned sibling rivalry can you?! I think it’s probably fair to say that anyone who has been ‘fortunate’ enough to have a brother or sister will have their own stories to tell, anecdotes to share and battle scars to show – trophies of childhood war zone games of Cat & Mouse (with said feline vs. rodent roles generally defined by whether you’re the eldest or youngest!).
In my personal experience, the age card didn’t necessarily play as big a part as I’d have hoped…Despite being the eldest by several years, my ‘little’ brother’s penchant for Sports & physical activity led to him soon dwarfing me in stature. Indeed, at my Wedding, during his Best Man speech (spoiler alert – he turns out to be a ‘pretty good’ guy after all) he referred to himself as my ‘bigger little brother’, much to the amusement of my Friends & Family.
Still, when I look back on the years we spent together as partners in crime, both friends & foes in equal measure, there’s an entire back catalogue of memories (and ammo for future speeches of my own…). Whether that be:
. Finding ways to make each other laugh at the Dinner Table until the eventual loser was dismissed by our Dad before they could make it to desert.
. Screaming ‘get off me!’ (despite me being sat on the other side of the room) to trigger undeserved punishments from my unsuspecting parents (a personal favourite of my brothers!)
. Or subtly changing song lyrics to my Dads favourite songs on long holiday car journeys, with the aim being to avoid parental capture (to this day I think…hope…they’re none the wiser!).
And a simple gaze at the past will show a history littered with sibling stories of varying degrees of success.
. The Aviation exploits of the Wright Brothers
. The Footballing achievements of the Charltons & the Nevilles
. The musical harmonies of Noel & Liam Gallagher (though perhaps not so harmonious these days…)
. And as for Cain & Abel?…ok, they perhaps took the sibling rivalry thing a tad too far.
But you get my point.
Love them or loath them, it doesn’t matter if you’re the Blues Brothers (fun fact: not real brothers!) or the Williams Sisters (also not brothers) – there’s a blood bond there that means you’re stuck with what you’ve got!
But why am I banging on about siblings and what does it have to do with Gin?! Well for this blog, we go a little further than the ‘500 Miles’ suggested by our one hit wonder friends Charlie & Craig Reid (that’s the Scottish identical twins ‘The Proclaimers’ to you & I). In fact, we go all the way to Denver, Colorado and introduce ourselves to the Leopold Bros, and the creators of ‘Leopold’s’ Gin.
Todd & Scott Leopold originally started their ‘Leopold Bros’ brand as a Brewey in Michigan, 1999. This seemed like a logical first step, with Todd having earned his stripes in the world of brewing and beer production in his younger years. Following a quick rise to popularity the brothers decided to expand operations in to spirits distillation in 2001 (hurrah!) – an expansion that saw them move back to their home state of Colorado in 2008, where production continues to this day.
But what is it that makes ‘Leopold’s’ stand out from the crowd? Let me tell you.
This is small batch, hands on Gin making, at its very finest. If you take a look at their website, the brothers will proudly inform you that ‘we malt our barley. We mill our grains. We ferment our mash. We distill everything on site. We never add artificial ingredients. We barrel and bottle everything by hand’ (told you I was a sucker for hand written bottle labelling!). Painstaking. Meticulous. Impressive.
Perhaps most importantly of all is the distillation process itself. Where most Gins are made by chucking all of the botanicals in to the same Still Pot, effectively creating one big ‘melting pot’, Todd & Scott recognised the risk to the quality of their flavour. Whilst certainly quicker, the process of boiling everything together can lead to certain ingredients being over cooked or over worked. To ensure that each element of their Gin has the opportunity to shine in its own right, the botanicals are distilled individually to preserve their unique & delicate aromas. Add to this the fact that many of the organic botanicals are grown and farmed on site and it only serves to add to the backstory of a product that feels really, really special.
But is it worth it? Oh, you bet your life it is!
The vapours hit you instantly – there’s a citrus freshness to the Gin. Powerful tones of grapefruit zest, lemon & lime stand out, underpinned by aromas suggestive of fresh cut grass.
To the initial taste, there is certainly a spiciness present – though not in an unpleasant way. It comes across as a perfect blend of pepper and cinnamon, giving a slight sense of ginger to the pallet, that helps it linger long after the first sip. And this is where the distillation process really comes in to its own – given time to evolve in the glass, and on the pallet, that citrus powerhouse of lemon & lime make themselves known, with interesting subtle tones of berries that introduce themselves in to the mix.
When mixed with Tonic, and garnished with a generous chunk of lime, there’s a mellow spring time feel to the drink, with refreshing suggestions of cucumbers coming as a welcome surprise. The whole elixir feels perfectly balanced, representing a neatly and well thought through product.
It’s safe to say that I am fanatical about this Gin. Whenever I’m asked to list my ‘Top 5 Gins’, ‘Leopold’s’ always features prominently.
And whilst I would hazard a guess that Todd & Scott are no different to the rest of us, almost certainly with their own stories of adolescent sparring, this Gin is a family heirloom to be proud of.
They say that ‘blood is thicker than water’, a statement that is true in both sentiment and biological fact. And given that that’s the case, then this blogger suggests that Gin may well be thicker than both – and if ‘Leopold’s’ is fuelled by brotherly love, well…I’ll drink to that. Cheers.