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Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

10/29 - Redwood City: Alexander Murray Single Malts

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2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

1988 Blair Athol 25 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2001 Bowmore 12 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1990 Bruichladdich 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glen Ord 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glenburgie 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glenrothes 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1998 Mortlach 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive 100% Islay Single Bourbon Barrel #344 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive 100% Islay Single Bourbon Barrel #345 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1990 Glenfarclas K&L Exclusive Single Malt Whisky PRE-ORDER


Glenfarclas "The Faultline Casks" K&L Exclusive First Fill Oloroso Sherry Casks Single Malt Whisky PRE-ORDER


1997 Bunnahabhain Heavily Peated 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Chieftain's Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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 SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


1997 Benrinnes 17 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


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!


« Old Scotch, Back in Stock | Main | K&L Awards 2012: Most Improved Player - St. George Distillery »
Wednesday
Dec192012

K&L Awards 2012: Best Discovery - Jacques Esteve

While traveling to Scotland has given us the opportunity to purchase some amazing whiskies, everything we buy is a one-off. We have to buy barrels with finite quantities of juice that will last a couple months until we sell through. Then we have to hope we can do it again. Our French spirits program, with the help of our friend Charles Neal, has worked much like our direct import wine program - we find small producers that are not represented in the U.S. and import their booze right to our store. We can consistantly offer the same products from the same producers because we're importing their standard portfolio, not something made just once for our store. It gives people a reason to shop at K&L. You can't find these wines or these spirits anywhere else domestically and, over time, people begin to depend on them.

Normally when you're dealing with a smaller producer, you're getting something a bit different from the norm. When we buy a cask from Kilchoman, it's a much younger, spicier single malt. Same goes for when we buy casks from small independents. There's a big difference between our barrel of Bunnahabhain and the standard distillery expressions. In the U.S., there's a large chasm between, say, the rye from Old World Spirits and something like Rittenhouse. Cognac, however, is a big industry made of little producers. Remy, Hennessey, and all the large houses buy all of their product from the same little guys we're buying from. Take Jacques Esteve, for example. He sells a ton of his brandy directly to Remy and Hennessey. That's where his financial stability comes from. The income he earns from his big house contracts allows him to focus on making more serious Cognac under his own family label.

When you drink big house Cognac, you're essential drinking a marriage of many different brandies. If you drink Hennessey XO, there's probably some older Jacques Esteve brandy swimming around in there. However, why not buy it straight from Jacques Esteve himself and get an older, undiluted Cognac for less than half the price? That's what Hennessey does! That's why we wanted to go to France and that's what we did when we got there. The Esteve brandies are not different, unique, or outside the norm of standard Cognac. They're simply richer, more supple, more textural, and more delicious. The Coup de Coeur we imported costs about $90 and blows every other Cognac we have out of the water. I don't see how anyone could go back to big house Cognac after tasting it. It's a combination of 1979 and 1981 vintage brandies and the length and complexity of flavor are astounding.

The best part about Jacques Esteve's Cognac is that we can keep buying more! True, the Tres Vieille Reserve de Famille is a single cask of 1979 bottled under his standard label, but we're heading back over in March to find more sustainable expressions. The Coup de Coeur is fully-stocked and loaded for the holiday season. It's a brandy we hope to have on our shelves for some time. I can't remember a spirit at K&L that has had a larger influence on the category as a whole. There have been some fun single barrels in the past, but nothing we could continuously sustain. That's why discovering the Jacques Esteve Cognacs and securing their exclusivity for K&L was probably the best thing we did all year.

-David Driscoll