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Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

10/29 - Redwood City: Alexander Murray Single Malts

11/5 - San Francisco: Alexander Murray Single Malts

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

1988 Blair Athol 26 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2001 Bowmore 13 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1990 Bruichladdich 24 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!


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Tuesday
Oct012013

Dealing With a Person

We, the K&L staff, often discuss the impact the internet has had on our jobs here at K&L. With so much information online about alcohol --tasting notes, background information, ratings, etc-- we're all afraid we might someday be irrelevant as actual people on the sales floor. All we'll need is a cashier and someone to fetch will-call orders. Yet, getting to speak to an actual person, someone who knows the products and has experience with them, is an added benefit of shopping at K&L and it's an element whose importance cannot be overstressed. There's simply something special about getting to talk to Joe about Spanish wine because he's been to Rioja and met with the producers. There's no substitute for talking to Gary about Champagne, whose knowledge on the chalky soils and vineyards of each producer can make or break your final decision about a wine. Dealing with an actual person at K&L is simply more helpful, more meaningful, and more comforting when spending your money on something expensive or rare.

The same thing goes for our relationships with producers. Going to Armagnac and getting to meet with the owners of each Chateau is an incredible benefit of working with spirits from that region. You get to actually talk to the people making the product day-in and day-out. Contrast that with Scotland where a distillery visit will generally be conducted by a paid tour guide or brand representative, rather than the distiller himself or the owner of the distillery. Part of the reason you'll never meet the owner of a Scottish distillery is because nearly every distillery in Scotland is under corporate rule. Therefore, the relationships we at K&L have with single malt producers are usually tied to the brand ambassadors and corporate salesmen, rather than the guys in charge or in the distillery. Today, however, rather than a sales rep or travelling spokesperson, we were visited by George Grant himself: the owner of Glenfarclas distillery. When we deal with Glenfarclas, we deal with the actual family that has been in charge since the mid-1800s.

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to deal with an actual distillery owner. You can pitch an idea and get a simple "yea" or "nay" answer without needing approval from a gigantic corporate entity. Like when I asked George about putting together a new project between K&L and Glenfarclas that went outside of the standard "Family Cask" label. George thought it over and simply said, "Yes." No running it up the food chain or dealing with the marketing department, just a business owner meeting with another business and making a decision that's beneficial to both sides. It's awesome.

I'm very thankful to have close relationships with my larger producers, but we both know there's not a whole lot we can do outside of the box. We can put together a deal on existing products, but there's no room for creativity or exploration because larger companies cannot offer tailored design. There are too many people in the picture to do something specific, like a single cask or special marriage of whiskies. With independently-owned distilleries, however, like Glenfarclas, we can always think outside the scope of the every day. We're free to brainstorm and come up with something new. Plus, there's the added benefit of getting the scoop straight from the horse's mouth. Getting to meet directly with George is really fantastic and it helps to solidify our relationship each time we do it.

There's no substitute for direct access in the booze world. People are important at K&L and they are the foundation of what makes spirits appreciation so satisfying.

-David Driscoll