If you're on the Whisk(e)y Club Email List that we run here at K&L, then this is old news, but for those of you who read this blog and order whisky with us, we finally have the first round of our recently acquired barrels available and they are at special club pricing if you order in advance. The question most people have is: how do I qualify for special club pricing? We used to have a secret whisk(e)y club where you had to buy something every month to get these discounts, but we realized that we were growing too rapidly to sustain that system. We're now offering special pricing to anyone interested in getting it! That means those of you reading this blog! Basically, we're not using the official channels to advertise these selections, so they won't catch the attention of the casual shoppers. Only people who get our Club emails or read this blog should know about them, so that gives you all an advantage.
For each barrel we release, we'll be offering a limited number of pre-order bottles at a discounted pre-arrival price. Those of you who pay in advance will generally pay $10 to $15 less than the retail price will be once the bottles arrive. You can order online now and then pick up the bottles in the Fall when they arrive.
What’s in the first round of barrel offerings? Springbank and Glendronach of course! Now that we’ve got you all excited from our detailed blog postings and our podcast with Peter Currie, it’s time to release the only barrels we’ll be offering directly from the distillery. These whiskies are NOT independently bottled, they are straight from the source. Each distillery’s warehouse seems to give the whiskies a special terroir during the aging process, so having these barrels aged at the distillery proper honestly makes them more authentic. It’s crazy, but I experienced it firsthand so I am a believer. We worked hard to get you these fantastic prices and we think you’ll be more than happy when you finally taste how wonderful they are:
1998 Springbank K&L Exclusive 13 Year Single Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky PRE-ARRIVAL PRICE $84.99 (retail $94.99) - We purchased this amazing bourbon cask of Springbank directly from the distillery during our 2011 visit to Campbeltown. Both David OG and I wanted something that exemplified the true character of Springbank - that unmistakable dense mouthfeel, brimming with chewy, gum-smacking texture and viscosity. Springbank whisky from a straight bourbon cask is one of the true pleasures in life. While the heavily sherried versions of the malt are wonderful in their own way, the sweetness from the sherry tends to mask some of qualities we love so much. We tasted this 13 year straight out of the barrel and loved the rich tannins provided from the wood, the intense vanilla aromas, and the nutty flavors that intermingled with salty accents. Seeing that Springbank was one of the true highlights of our trip, we really wanted to pick a cask that faithfully represented just what we loved so much. This whisky does exactly that.
1997 Springbank K&L Exclusive 14 Year Single Madeira Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky PRE-ARRIVAL PRICE $89.99 (retail $99.99) - Upon our 2011 visit to Springbank, we knew we wanted to purchase a single bourbon cask, but we were open to other options were we to find another very special barrel. Of course, that's exactly what happened. One of the most beloved whiskies in K&L customer history was a 2000 Springbank that was finished in Chateau d'Yquem barrels, giving a sweet highlight to the chewy textures of the malt. This 1998 Madeira-finished cask is bottled at cask strength, and is the more muscular, more mature cousin of that lovely 2000. Golden fruits, a rich, oily mouthfeel, and long, supple finish all merge together and make this one of the easiest drams we've tasted in sometime. We can't imagine anyone not loving this, so we decided to go deep and buy the whole thing. Like the 2000, we expect people to talk about this whisky for some time to come.
1994 Glendronach K&L Exclusive 17 Year Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky PRE-ARRIVAL PRICE $99.99 (retail $114.99) - While ensconsed deep in the countryside of the Eastern Scottish Highlands, David OG and I sat at a small table in a low-lit guesthouse and marveled at the quality of the Glendronach single malts. I immediately blogged via the K&L Spirits Journal website that the 12 year old was the "best single malt that no one is drinking!" Very much like Springbank whiskies sans the peat smoke, Glendronach has an unctuous, chewy mouthfeel that isn't overly cloying or too saturated with sweet sherry. We knew that if we could find a single barrel that tasted similiar to the amazing 12 year, we would have a real winner on our hands. The next morning we scoured the warehouses in search of the perfect expression and we found it in a 1994 barrel that had been briefly finished in PX sherry cask. Earthy notes from the warehouse aging permiate the rich, oily flavors of vanilla, raisined fruit, and cakebread. The cask strength proof really keeps the sweetness at bay and the result is a fabulously balanced malt that should appeal to just about everyone. This is the barrel everyone will overlook, but I'd bet my salary it's the one that will get the best reviews.
That’s it for round one! Every time we secure another batch of barrels we’ll send out another email and do another blog post. There are many great whiskies coming, so if you want to hold off and wait to see what all is coming in that might be a smart move. HOWEVER, we’re only selling 150 bottles of each at the pre-arrival price, so once they’re gone that’s it for the special pricing.