Here’s a collaboration for the ages.

For the second year running, Cascade Hollow General Manager & Distiller Nicole Austin teamed up with Leopold Bros.’ Todd Leopold to resurrect a lost style of pre-prohibition whiskey. George Dickel X Leopold Bros Collaboration Blend combines Dickel’s light body rye and Leopold’s heavy style, Three Chamber Rye. While blending different whiskey styles is hardly uncommon, Leopold’s Abruzzi grain, an heirloom varietal grown in the 19th century, and his rare Three Chamber Still give this exciting whiskey its historical context.

Todd Leopold discovered the Three Chamber Still, which he calls a “oil extraction machine,” while researching Federal distilling records during the mid- 1800s. The Three Chamber is not a pot or column still. It’s more like a pressure cooker that operates under higher intensity than a typical distillation. Leopold didn’t care that the still is completely inefficient compared to modern distilling equipment, which says a lot about the innovative craft distiller. If whiskey makers of yore employed this still to make their whiskey, then he would, too. Leopold commissioned Vendome Copper & Brass Works in Louisville to recreate the still. When he first fired it up in 2015, it became the first of its kind to operate in half a century.

As if re-engineering a Three Chamber still and growing an old-time grain varietal to recreate 19th century rye wasn’t enough, it only told part of the story. Leopold’s research also revealed that distillers commonly blended this heavy-styled rye with lighter, column-still whiskey to balanced their spirit. To Leopold, this is the true historical standard of American rye whiskey. Without a column still, Leoplod needed to source a light bodied rye to make it. So he called his friend and fellow craft distilling alum Nicole Austin of Cascade Hollow.

“Todd and I have been friends for many years, and we share a passion for making great whiskey,” says Austin. “He asked if I would help him source column distilled rye for this incredible project he was working on. I told him we have been quietly distilling rye at Cascade Hollow that was coming of age and said, ‘hey, let’s do this together.’”

The collaboration was born. Cascade Hollow’s column distilled rye is a combo of two-grain recipes: one is 95% rye, and the second is 84% rye, 8% corn, and 8% malted barley. Leopold’s Three Chamber Rye is five-year-old whiskey born of an 80% Abruzzi rye mash combined with house malted barley. Leopold sent his rye from his Colorado-based distillery to Austin at Cascade Hollow in Tennessee, who handled the blending process. Austin laid down the light-style rye as the base and flavored it up with Three Chamber Rye. The first limited edition was released in 2021, and this year’s version was designed to taste exactly the same.

“Nailing the balance of this whiskey was challenging, but it was an incredible project,” she says. “This whiskey checks all the boxes of what a special rye should have: beautiful aromatics, a lovely palate, proper balance, and a long finish. But just as importantly, how often will you get the chance to taste a genuine historic style? It feels like Todd, and I have done something special, and I am so proud of how it turned out.”

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