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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


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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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Saturday
Dec282013

More History: Contract Whisky

The fact that single malt distilleries once operated on a contract basis, rather than by an ownership actively promoting its own product, is difficult to wrap one's head around for those used to the corporate structure we're familiar with today. However, contract production still continues today in regions like Champagne and Cognac, where brands like Hennessey, Remy Martin, Veuve Clicquot, and Dom Perignon purchase grapes, must, wine, and distillates from smaller farmers, vintners, and distillers and blend them to create their own line of products. Scotland, on the other hand, is full of companies with no interest in renting--they want to own their own source of production to ensure their demands are being met. What if one day the distillery decided to cut off your contract? Where would you go for whisky after that?

This exact problem happened to Lagavulin owner Peter Mackie back in 1908. For more than seventy years the Mackie family had acted as Laphroaig's marketing agent, purchasing the peated whisky on contract and taking responsibility for its financial growth. When Laphroaig owners the Hunters decided to put their son Ian in charge of the distillery, training him to become its eventual manager, he chose to take marketing responsibilities into his own hands (leading to a slew of legal battles) and cut off the contract with Mackie. So incensed was the former contractor with this new development (and unable to secure the whisky he had been representing to clients), Mackie decided to build his own version of Laphroaig inside of his own distillery. He immediately hired Laphroaig's distiller away from Hunter and put him to work at his new custom-built-to-Laphroaig's-specifications still, calling the mini-production Malt Mill.

Hunter went on to hire another agency to help with marketing, but would begin to travel the world in an attempt to sell Laphroaig whisky directly to the public. He convinced the U.S. government during Prohibition that Laphroaig's medicinal flavors were actually medicinal and managed to export product to America for doctors to prescribe. The man knew how to market his booze. Mackie, on the other hand, was never able to get the Laphroaig flavor exactly right and in 1960 DCL closed down the site and turned Malt Mill into the Lagavulin visitor's center. When Mackie passed away in 1924 his company name changed from Mackie & Co. to White Horse Distillers, in honor of the blended label Mackie had created with his peated Lagavulin and Malt Mill whiskies.

We've got an old imperial gallon that's been hanging around K&L since the 1970s. Maybe it's time to open it?

-David Driscoll