I don't always have time to write up every new spirit that we bring into the store. The stock is always in a state of flux with new things coming in and out, so it's easy to miss some of the less-anticpated whiskies if you're not paying attention to the website on a regular basis. With prices climbing steadily, I thought I'd focus on some of the more reasonable selections that I've been enjoying lately. These are bottles that didn't jump out at me immediately, but really grew on me over time. I'm finding that my favorite whiskies are becoming more and more of this nature.
- David Blackmore from Ardbeg/Glenmorangie was in the store yesterday and we retasted the forthcoming Ealanta. The delivery got pushed back a few weeks, but we should have plenty in stock come late February. The Ealanta is 19 year old Glenmorangie aged in virgin oak with lots of spicy vanilla. I really like this whisky. However, this doesn't really count as something you may have missed because it's yet to be released. I'm already off track and we're only on the first whisky.
- I think it's only natural for one's palate to evolve over time, usually from big, bold flavors towards more nuanced and subtle profiles. The latest Clynelish Distiller's Edition $69.99 didn't make too big of a splash, despite the fact that most of the Diageo reps I knew were hoping to buy back bottles for themselves. Finished in oloroso sherry casks, the addition of nutty richness to the waxy Clynelish profile is simply delicious. Well-balanced and quite restrained, this is sherried whisky for people who don't want that big Glendronach style. This is almost like amontillado sherry with a more alcohol in it. Rich and layered, yet still quite dry. Very tasty.
- In my mind, Aberlour is one of the most-improved distilleries of the past few years. Ironically enough, however, I'm not a fan of the A'Bunadh – the young, full-proof, high-octane sherried malt that put Aberlour back on the map. The two 12 year old expressions have been quite successful at K&L as of late, so I decided to add the 16 year to shelf as well. More delicate with less sherry influence than the 12 year, the 16 year old is quite a steal when compared to other 16-18 year old whiskies of similar quality. I'm guessing Pernod-Ricard will have to up the price at some point over the next 12 months, but we can enjoy it while it lasts. $65 is a great price.
- We're definitely planning on spending a day at Arran distillery this coming March. I've been so impressed with the island distillery over the past few months that I've added quite a few Arran selections to my personal stash. One of the Redwood City's staff favorites right now is the new Arran 12 Year Cask Strength. The sweet malty flavors really pop with the higher alcohol percentage and the wood adds extra spice on the back. There's not a lot of single malts that taste like Arran, sort of like Glen Garioch. They're simple and delicious, but there's a certain distinct malty note that allows one to easily pick them out of a lineup.
- The new Longrow Peated Single Malt from Springbank distillery didn't turn too many heads upon its recent repackaging, especially because it didn't come with an age statement. Nevertheless, the heavily-peated Campbeltown malt is really quite extraordinary. Lots of oily flavors, supple textures, and campfire smoke. If you're looking for a new peat experience this should be at the top of your list. Again, the price for the quality is quite reasonable.