With the holiday season on fully upon us, the buyers at K&L must be on the sales floor much more often to help customers with their shopping needs. This leaves us little time to keep up with the lastest products by meeting with vendors to taste their goods. However, I did have a quick minute to talk with JVS imports who handle the Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory whisky bottlings because I need some more interesting, intriguing, hard-to-find single malts for our shelves. Here are the details on some of the best malts I tasted which have now either been added as special order bottles or will soon be brought into the store for purchase.
1991 Rosebank 18 Year Old, Gordon & Macphail, Single Malt Whisky $110.99 - I really liked the idea of bringing in some more whiskies from now mothballed distilleries. There are still plenty of barrels out there from some former single malt legends, and this Lowland malt is a very fine example of the great drams that can still be found. The nose was delicate with citrus notes, but the palate was immediately showing saline, seawater flavors. It then moved towards more smoke and fruit and finished with bright floral notes and a touch of sweetness. Full bodied and luscious. Very good.
1992 Tullibardine Unchilledfiltered Single Malt Whisky $79.99 - This a 16 year unchillfiltered distillery bottled dram from a fine Highland producer. The nose was all honey and fruit and the body was light with lots of spicy floral notes. The back turns a bit waxy which isn't a bad thing, but it's very unique. The finish is lemon custard all the way. Very interesting and fun malt that distinguishes itself from the pack.
Benromach 10 Year Single Malt Whisky $55.99 - The first significantly aged whisky from the recently reopened Benromach distillery. Made when the stills were fired up again in 1998, this Speyside malt has everything going for it. The nose is full of intense toasty barrel aromas with loads of spice. The flavors are woody with cedar oak and rich, nutty accents that mingle together with soft hints of smoke. The smoke really kicks in at the back and the finish is long and satisfying. A great accomplishment for Benromach that shows their potential promise for further aged whiskies.
1995 Linkwood 14 Year Old Speyside Signatory Single Malt Whisky $69.99 - Linkwood has long been one of the malts in the Johnnie Walker blends due to its amazing fruity aromatics. This is an unchillfiltered bottle that is currently only available in California. The whisky itself is one of the most unique I have ever tasted. It literally smells like single malt version of Riesling or Muscat because the nose just sings of stonefruit and flowers. The palate is more of the same and the malt finishes like a Hungarian Tokaji without all the sugar. Very, very cool.
1991 Glen Scotia 18 Year Old Cambeltown, Signatory, Single Malt Whisky $99.99 - This is delicacy in a bottle. Light colored, light-bodied, soft and subtle, this rare expression of Glen Scotia shows the elegance of Cambeltown at the perfect age of 18 years. This is only for the most discriminating of palates. Every flavor is so fine and subtle that only the most careful tasters will appreciate it. Amazing stuff.
1991 Bruichladdich 15 yr Gordon & MacPhail Single Malt Whisky $105.99 - Unchillfiltered Bruichladdich in a bourbon barrel at 15 years is a treat. This has all the classic flavors of the Islay legend with more power. Bottled at 100.4 proof, this is unadulterated whisky without the sherried sweetness or Sauternes cask honey influence. This is old school Bruichladdich and it is delicious.
- David Driscoll