Yesterday was staff training day and we had Diageo come by to let us play with their entire line up. This was a dream tasting for many K&L employees who don't get to taste as extensively as I do. They brought the goods and everyone acted like kids in a candy store. Auchroisk 20, Glen Spey 21, Cragganmore 21, Glenkinchie 20, and everything from the classic malts selection.
Diageo's Steve Beal took us through each expression and helped us understand what exactly makes each whisky unique. One new thing I learned was that Diageo likes to use 3rd fill barrels when making whisky older than 20 years, so that the maturation is gradual and not overdone with wood. I can't believe how good the Glen Spey 21 is. I need to get some more for the store, but I think it's all sold out. What to do!?
Angostura also dropped by in the afternoon to taste us on their rums, as it had been a while since the last time we carried them. The 1919 is coming back to K&L this week and should make for a breakthrough bottle to those unfamiliar with rum's complexity. This is as smooth as booze gets if that's your sort of thing. It's sexy, sleek, brimming with caramel and butterscotch, and finishes like candy without the overpowering sweetness. Very well made with good cooperage - all Jack Daniels barrels I believe.
The return of the 1824 should also please some rum fans out there. The bottle is labeled as a 12 year old, but the blend contains barrels well over 20 years in age. A bold, spicy, bourbon-like rum that could be thrown into a blind whiskey tasting and very well win first prize. Fantastic stuff.
The shocker of the day came in the form of these non-alcoholic mixers from Elixer. I don't even remember scheduling this appointment and I was NOT excited to taste these. I should have known from previous irony-filled experiences that this would turn out to be the highlight of the day. These floral-infused mixers are INCREDIBLE. I mean it - outstanding. They taste amazing just in soda water! Add them to sparkling wine and they taste like a professional cocktail. Add them with gin and lemon juice to make super complex drinks! The best part is that they're difficult to mess up, meaning that you can totally distort the measurements and it still doesn't matter. They're too good to mess up a drink, even if you add too much. I don't have pricing yet, but I will be bringing them in by Friday. The lavender won everyone over as a tasty replacement for Creme de Violette.