Let me tell you what I am no longer interested in as both a whisky buyer and a whisky drinker. I'm no longer interested in buying a bottle that I plan on nursing over the course of the next decade. I already have too many of those. I'm not interested in collecting lost distilleries anymore or searching out rarities. We did that here in the K&L spirits department from 2007 to 2013 and, while it was fun and I am seriously nostalgic about that point in my life, the reality of what's happening now hits home every time I hear about one of our private Kuraizawa bottles (that we originally sold for less than $150) going at auction for four-figures. My main focus—and this goes way back to the original "Drinking to Drink" posts—is to find delicious, interesting, value-oriented, and most importantly consumable whiskies that our customers can enjoy freely without feeling the need to ration or hoard their supplies. I'm sick of allocations, one bottle limits, frantic phone calls about a torn label, a nick on the side of the gift box, or any other bullshit that has to do with the value and collectability of the whisky rather than the consumption of it.
I buy whisky so I can drink it. I like expensive stuff. I like cheap stuff, too. I drink it straight. I drink it with diet ginger ale sometimes. I like to visit distilleries and learn about the production. I also like to go to a bar and do shots of Walker Black every now and again while playing a few games of darts. If someone wants to sell me a cask of Brora that I can turn around and sell for $200 a bottle, I'm all for it. But I'm not interested in $1000 bottles of whisky at this point. Nor am I interested in $50 bottles of whisky that should be $15. I'm interested in hot value. I want mid-range whiskies with mid-range prices that taste way better than their price lets on. I want deals. I want whiskies that I can drink, finish, toss, and move on from. I want whiskies like this...
2002 Dailuaine 14 Year Old "Old Particular K&L Exclusive" Single Sherry Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky $59.99 - This past December we thought we'd uncovered the deal of a lifetime when we were able to sell a 9-year-old sherry butt of Dailuaine at cask strength for $49.99 thanks to the improved Brexit dollar-to-pound ratio. Now, however, with a new shipment of Old Particular single-cask selections upon us, we may have a new contender. The only thing possibly better than 9-year-old, cask-strength, sherry-matured single-malt whisky for $49.99 is a 14-year-old version of that same whisky for a mere ten dollars more! Dailuaine is one of Diageo's classically styled Highland whiskies used primarily for Johnnie Walker, but we've found over the years that the malt drinks pretty well on its own. Much like the 9-year-old edition, this version was aged in a refill butt, meaning the sherry influence isn't quite as overpowering. In this case, it works in conjunction with the creamy malt flavors of the whisky itself. It starts with notes of dark chocolate and spiced nuts before moving forward into cakebread and flavors of sticky figs and syrup. The nose is a pure essence of caramel, and the finish dances with cocoa and candied ginger. After years of finding the best single casks of whisky Scotland has to offer, there are few hidden gems for us in today's market. There's really not much left we can accomplish other than to provide better pricing. The dollar-to-pound ratio has significantly upped our quality-to-value ratio, and it's very possible we're still far from peaking on that front.
Who's with me?