When Mitch Abate, Matt Causey and Andy Causey opened Downslope Distilling three years ago, they didn't just start working on the variety of vodkas, rums and whiskeys that comprise their regular line. Almost as soon as they got their license, they set up a one-off and also put together a batch of single malt whiskey.
"I came from an experimental background," Andy explains. "I used to own a homebrew store, and I used to teach people to brew beer. I have a stack of recipes, and I've never made the same two recipes twice. When we started Downslope, we knew wanted to have our products, and we knew we wanted to do some stuff as experimental one-offs."
The partners knew their first experiment would be a single-malt whiskey, made from floor-malted barley -- because the quality is higher -- and a little Simpsons peated malt, which comes from a top-notch supplier in the U.K. They made the mash and ran it through their still, a double-diamond head pot still co-designed by Mitch and a guy called "The Colonel."
"You can make whiskey any number of ways, but we really believe that for whiskey to be really interesting, you need to run it through a true pot still," says Andy. "We ran it through in the manner of the Scotch to capture some of the flavor compounds along with the ethanol."
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The spirit was then aged in French oak Burgundy barrels. The team finally tasted it last week, and decided they had to release it. "It was so good, we would have tasted it to death if we'd let it sit any longer," says Andy, who likens it to a Highlands Scotch. They hand-bottled the whiskey, and will start selling it this weekend for $55 a bottle.
The distillery has fewer than 200 bottles of the whiskey, and the only way you can get your hands on some is by heading down to the Centennial tasting room -- where, yes, they'll also be pouring tastes -- starting this Friday at noon. If you aren't going to make the release, you can try to call ahead and order a bottle for later pick-up -- but the distillery is capping the number of pre-sales so that visitors who make the trek are sure to be rewarded.
And if you're debating whether the drive is worth it, here's a little more incentive. "We'll never make this exact recipe again," says Andy. "We'll do a variation, but it won't be the same."