It seems like so long ago when David and I were sitting in the Bowmore cottage, talking about how cool it would be to have a private label for K&L. "Something with a cool name," we both said. That was the night we crossed "Crystalyne," Kristaline," and "Stillyne" off the list in favor of "Faultline." That would be the name of all privately-bottled K&L booze, we decided, as we went to sleep that night with a surge of energy rushing through our veins. Three years later, we've amassed quite a fun collection of Faultline gin, Cognac, rum (on its way), and Bourbon (on its way, too), but nothing quite as audacious as this year's project: nine new casks of Faultline whisky from Scotland!
Where would we even find nine casks of whisky where the bottler would let us use our label and not theirs? More importantly, how in the heck did we get these great prices? W-O-R-K. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the booze is out there if you're willing to put in the work. Sometimes the work requires three years of relationship building, so it's not that different from getting a bottle of Pappy. You've gotta make friends, meet people, ask around, and show support. In the end, the people who want to do business with you will make themselves known. That's how we've been able to do all this.
After securing the booze, we took to our trusted list of K&L graphic designers, most of whom are just loyal customers on our insider whisky email list. We sequestered design ideas and the labels came pouring in. What better way to make our customers part of the process? This is a whisky community we're building. We could never have done all this without your support. We can't bring in nine casks of whisky if no one wants to buy them! You trust our palates in sourcing the whisky, and the result is what you now see below. David OG has gone through his notes and typed up the reviews. I'll probably add my two cents in later. For now, however, grab what you want at the special "pre-order" price. We've already released the 1979 blend, Bowmore Palm Tree, and Royal Lochnagar. Here are the other six:
1991 Bunnahabhain 21 Year Old Faultline Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $79.99 PRE-ORDER - This is just stupid. It just shouldn't be this inexpensive. We were incredibly tempted to release this cask right where last years Bunnahabhain was: at $100. We could have and sold it all. This cask is richer and more expressive than the 22 year old we sold last year. It's got tons of the Bunnahabhain appley character, with subtle saline to balance the expressiveness and power of the fruit. Much richer texturally than the ultra light weight cask from last year. So why the hell aren't we selling it for more? Well, that's what Faultline is all about. When you buy this we guarantee that this is absolute best value we can get you on single malt. Believe it, because you won't believe when it's all gone. (David OG)
1989 Cragganmore 23 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $99.99 PRE-ORDER - Finally, the return of Cragganmore to the Faultline line up. One of our first bottlings was a fabulous 20 year old Craggy, from a hogshead. That was three years ago and we haven't seen another Cragganmore from any of our suppliers since, so when this one popped up as a potential Faultline candidate we jumped on it. We were surprised again by both the quality and the incredible price! Cragganmore is distilled from very lightly peated barley. Over the course of 23+ years in a refill sherry butt, that subtle smokiness has morphed into what can only be described as quintessentially Speyside. Imagine a highland shrub recently in bloom after months of dormancy during the long cold winter. Imagine the honey bee attracted to the tiny purple flowers, returns to her hive, which is situated precariously on the outstretched limb of knobby oak tree. The honey slowly drips out of the dense honeycomb on to the damp reeds below. This tiny florally flecked speck of honey trapped on a blade of grass flutters in the breeze to land on a damp stone on the banks of the river Spey. Droplets from the idly lapping river loosen the blade from its sticky perch on the wet stone, eventually releasing it into the meandering river as it twists toward the north sea. Now imagine yourself with a bottle of Cragganmore. You have a very good imagination... (David OG)
1992 Longmorn 21 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $104.99 PRE-ORDER - Oh Longmorn, you elusive lovely creature. Last year, we bottled a Longmorn from a fresh sherry butt that was arguably our most positively received whisky of 2012. All the whisky geeks went mad and snatched up every bottle moments after it arrived. This year we return with another Longmorn of a similar price and aged, but this time it's coming from a second fill butt. It's not the sweet up-front style of last year's, but instead a powerful whisky filled with fresh vanilla, dark dense fruit, and aromas of toffee and spice. This is a fabulously complex whisky with a roundness that's undeniably pleasurable. Again don't expect a redux of last year's cask, but a special whisky that stands tall on it's own merit. All lovers of this splendid Speyside distillery, located just south of Elgin, should buy now before the price goes up. A very welcome addition to the Faultline family. (David OG)
1996 Bowmore 16 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $92.99 PRE-ORDER - This year we were lucky enough to secure two different Bowmore Casks for the Faultline selection. As I've stated previously, Bowmore is absolutely one of the finest distilleries in Scotland and finding casks like this at reasonable prices is just not normal. This lovely whisky comes from a refill sherry butt. This is a lovely contrast to our other Bowmore, showing much softer aromas of candied fruit, densely wafting smoke, but with a subtleness that is not seen on the Hogshead cask from 1997. This barrel perhaps captures the current distillery profile more precisely because of the sherry influence (limited as it may be) and will make any Bowmore lover happy. It may also provides an opening for none Islay drinkers to appreciate a smoky whisky that is fully integrated and approachable without to much of the medicinal side. Similar casks are currently selling in Europe for upwards of $150, so don't expect this to be around forever. (David OG)
Miltonduff 30 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $139.99 PRE-ORDER - This baby will be the oldest single malt whisky we've ever bottled under the Faultline label. Miltonduff is certainly rare on the market right now, although we find casks regularly, the quality is highly irregular. This cask was just transcendent in my opinion. Aged for 30 years in a bourbon barrel, we really get to the essence of Miltonduff. Exhibiting exotic wood notes and powerfully aromatic qualities of incense, gentian, and spice on the nose give way to intense vibrancy and life on the palate. While this whisky is mature, it certainly shows no sign of slowing down, layering on the aromatic elements as the whisky finishes. Sandalwood, cardamom, bay leaf, and subtle honeyed sweetness soften the powerful masculine quality of this special whisky.
1987 Mortlach 25 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $124.99 PRE-ORDER - Here is a fun whisky from the fabulous and sought-after distillery in Dufftown. We've already had great success this year with Mortlach from various bottlers, but this cask was just too good a value to pass up. What we have here is a total turnaround from the sherry monster that we bottled via Chieftain's this year. Coming from a refill bourbon barrel, the savory quality of Mortlach is not framed by the sweet dried fruit of the sherry cask. Instead, the subtle influence of the bourbon barrels works to highlight the distilleries distinctive qualities. Just an all together stupendous value, if somewhat geared for the more expert drinker. The high proof will be a definite surprise for those not expecting it. I believe that many who liked our first Faultline - a Littlemill 21 yo - will enjoy this cask for its unflappable uniqueness and rich complexity. (David OG)
These are all due in at the beginning of December. "Due" meaning expected, not for certain! If you've got questions about a specific whisky then send me an email. I know it's tough to decide which ones to get.