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1998 Laphroaig 15 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1983 Caol Ila 30 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2002 Bowmore 11 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Hogshead Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW


1992 Bruichladdich 21 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1988 Balmenach 25 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Benrinnes 17 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Dailuaine 16 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glen Elgin 18 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glenlivet 16 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!!


1981 Glenlivet 32 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1996 Bowmore 16 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Bladnoch "Young" K&L Exclusive Heavily Peated Single Barrel #57 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glengoyne 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #172 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #74 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2013 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky Still Available

2005 Island Distillery 7 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


2001 Royal Lochnagar 10 Year Old Faultline Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glendronach 18 Year Old Single PX Barrel Cask Strength Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1994 Benriach 19 Year Old Single Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1992 Longmorn 21 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1987 Mortlach 25 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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Tuesday
Mar082011

Focus On Celtic Heartlands

 

Every year when these special bottles get released, I usually get a few phone calls from customers all over the U.S. looking to stake a claim on their share.  It seems that the respect these bottles demand has permeated into regions far beyond the usual bloggers and malt societies.  Some people I've talked to drink ONLY Celtic Heartlands whisky and when I asked if they liked Bruichladdich as well, they answered, "Brook- what?"  It's a wild idea to me that one can be aware of the Celtic Heartland series, but not understand what makes these casks so special - they were chosen and enhanced by one of the world's best palates: Jim McEwan. 

Bruichladdich's independent bottling arm is called Murray McDavid and is known for taking whiskies from other distilleries, aging them further in various wine barrels, and then releasing them with to the world with a bold new flavor profile.  They are almost always released at 46% abv. The higher end of this series is the Mission Gold line up that features more mature single malts, bottled at cask strength, and many times without any cask enhancement.  The top shelf of the series is the Celtic Heartland label that does this same process as the Mission Gold, but with very old whiskies, usually turning out malts with remarkable, if not mind-blowing, quality.  Previous releases have been bottles like a 1975 Banff 33 year, a 1964 Dumbarton 42 year, and a 1968 Bowmore 35 year.  Search any of these whiskies online and you'll likely find a blog or two describing a near religious whisky experience.

Two of this year's releases really stand out as some of the best CH whiskies I have ever tasted, and I've sampled more than ten of the previous bottlings.  The 1980 Caol Ila 30 Year enhanced in Italian Amarone cask is sheer Islay perfection in my opinion.  The rich, thick, sweet fruit from the raisined wine barrel seeps deep into the core of the whisky and is now rooted firmly inside of it.  It's difficult to find the seam and understand where the true foundation of the Caol Ila lies.  The inital sip releases mounds of chewy red fruits and slowly leads towards smoked sweet grains and a roasted nut finish.  It's a true masterpiece in every sense of the word.

The best metaphor I can think of to accurately describe the fantastic 1977 Glenlivet 33 year finished in Chateau d' Yquem cask is a scene from Willy Wonka.  There's a moment where that madcap genius introduces the meal in a gum to young Violet Beauregarde and she explains the flavors as she chews - first it's a soup, then a steak and potato entree, and then a dessert.  The Glenlivet morphs in the mouth in much the same fashion.  The entry is very grainy, almost like single grain whisky, before suddenly changing into bright lemon custard with flowers in a viognier-like palate.  The mid-palate then becomes a faint serving of vanilla pudding before finishing off like an oily Highland a la Clynelish.  I usually don't get so descriptive in my tasting notes because I either don't taste specific flavors or I don't care to delve that deep.  My focus is usually on whether my customers will like it or not, however I had to sit down and just stare at the floor while I tasted this, and try my hardest to break it down.  It's one of the more fascinating malts I've had the chance to try.

I think we might pour these at Martin's West next week, so stay tuned if you want to taste greatness (at cost of course!).

-David Driscoll

Reader Comments (3)

Oooh, these sound good. A good deal for those who, in light of certain announcements, might be craving a very old Glenlivet but can't afford one bottled during The King's Speech era.

Didn't Violet Beauregarde turn into a giant blueberry though?

March 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersku

Yes, a much more affordable GL than say 13,000 pounds. She did indeed turn into a blueberry, which is probably better than what I'll likely become, which is flat broke.

March 8, 2011 | Registered CommenterDavid Driscoll

A nice bit of writing here as well David. You've done a great job expressing a physical taste - in words. I only wish I could taste for myself.

March 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSamuel Muindi

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