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SMWS 36.82 Benrinnes 17 Year Old "Rare Release" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1988 Blair Athol 25 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


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!


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Kilchoman K&L Exclusive 100% Islay Single Bourbon Barrel #345 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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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!


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1995 Glen Elgin 18 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


1997 Glengoyne 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


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Sunday
Jan042015

Sick Drinks 

I hate getting sick; mainly because it happens so rarely these days I forget how draining it is. After teaching elementary school for so long, with little kids smearing germs on my bare hands right and left, my immune system is made out of steel. Getting sick at this point in my life isn't so much a biological battle with disease, as it is my inner conscience acting without my input or permission. I will sometimes go weeks without taking a night off from the sauce, so every now and then—when I refuse to be a responsible adult and give my kidneys a night off—my immune system will pull the rug out from underneath me and teach me a lesson. "You're not going to give your liver the vacation it needs? Fine, we'll take care of that!" it says in bold defiance of my wishes. Then—presto!—I'm sick. The problem with pulling a little stunt like this during busy December, however, is that my immune system also understands I'm needed at work, so it's torn between physical and financial security. It let's me off the hook—until January 1st, that is.

I got home from work on December 31st, the last day of the holiday season, ready to pop a bottle of Champagne and celebrate the end of another successful year at K&L. I was primed to rage; to really get a heat on, until my immune system scoffed and said, "Are you fucking kidding me? You've been boozing it up like Caligula all month long, you jerk! We need a break, buddy, and we're taking it now." And just like that—poof!—I felt the tickle in my throat. 

"Uh oh," I mumbled. "I think I need to go lay down."

"You're going to bed at nine on New Year's Eve?!" my wife asked, shocked and incredulous.

It was a good thing I did, however, because I have been holed up under a blanket ever since; sicker than shit. The thing I really hate about being sick is not being able to drink. I love drinking. It's my job, my love, and my life. When you take it away from me I'm forced to drink things like tea or juice, which can be interesting and delicious in their own right, but not in the same way as booze. I've never been much of a Hot Toddy person, but I decided to make one last night after deciding that being sick didn't mean I couldn't drink, it just meant I was limited to a specific genre of drinks: sick drinks. I grabbed my bottle of 1996 Giboin Fins Bois Cognac, a bit of honey from the fridge, and a lemon from the tree out front. I boiled some water, threw all four components into a mug, and sat on the couch watching some Werner Herzog documentary about life in Siberia; the heat from the mug warming my hands; the balance of sweet, sour, hot, and boozy goodness mellowing the stuffiness in my head.

Once again, I realized that drinking well is just a matter of understanding your situation and your condition. Let the moment dictate the drink and receive it with an open mind (and mouth). Go with the flow, and let the good things in life come to you. Because they will. Hot Toddies are delicious. I'm going to have one again in a few minutes.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Jan022015

Rage, Then Evolve Into the Machine 

Since I'll be jetting off to Paris in a few weeks (finally getting some much needed R&R), I've started doing little things to pump myself up—like searching the web for interesting restaurants around my hotel, or watching old Bourdain episodes about France. I happened to catch a rerun of the 100th episode special where Tony and chef Eric Ripert meet up with young upstarts in the radically-changing Paris bistro scene; kids who are rebelling against the stodgy old guard of Parisian cuisine with its dependence upon Michelin stars, rules, and etiquette. Tony keeps laughing at poor Eric, who ends up repeatedly having to defend his position as the head chef at a one of the best restaurants in the world; as if that were a bad thing (something these other youngsters wanted to avoid at all costs—it seemed).

"There is room for both casual and fine dining. You can go to a U2 concert and then the next day go to the opera. It's not black and white; you don't have to choose one or the other," Eric says.

"But if you're young and starting out, it's important to attack U2. I think you almost have to," Tony went on to say. 

"You don't run a three-starred Michelin restaurant to screw people over," Eric replied. "I do it because I have passion and I want to make people happy!"

I laughed out loud when I heard him say that because I understood exactly where he was coming from. I've come across that same attitude in my time as a spirits buyer; the people who analyze every aspect of whisky to figure out how the parent company is ripping them off (and ultimately how they can outsmart it!). Some of them thought buying a bottle of corporate whiskey meant they were selling out or getting duped, but really it just meant they were missing out on some really good hooch. Not every company that achieves success is being co-opted into a soulless system. Sometimes hard work and dedication simply move you up the ladder of life, where you try to make a larger number of people as happy as you originally made a smaller group. But we're always surprised to see how things can change when that happens ("I realize now that I am old," Eric says at one point).

I really enjoy watching Bourdain and his friend Eric because they see both sides of the coin; they enjoy both the top and bottom shelves of cuisine and they live in the moment. The older I get, the less radical I become in my beliefs and the more I look to simply enjoy myself; much like these guys.

No Reservations was a great show, by the way. I really miss it.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Jan022015

Dark Entries/Origins (Malt Goes Goth)

Caressing bent up to the booze again
Washbacks and mills invading all those stills
In a hovel of a bar I will scream not perry
Oh please, Miss Mary, just a bit of sherry

Went tasting through this Isle's peated flight
In fear of disguising my whisky seething
Pressure to drink the best, intangible of price
Trying so hard to find what was right

I came upon your store it stuck into my zeal
We lept into the deal, discarding all my vice
You took delight in taking down my shielded pride
And then exposed me to a darker side
Puckering up and down those flavorings of sin
Not cheap to ride, but still worth a try

If only for the old times, cold times
Don't go wasting this pretentious buzz

Dark Origins (sing it Peter Murphy!)

Highland Park "Dark Origins" Single Malt Whisky $79.99Once very limited, now more readily available! A darker, heavier, richer Highland Park that uses twice as many first-fill sherry butts as the standard 12 year. It's dark, sinister, and brooding, just like the figure shrouding in black robes on the front of the bottle. It's what I imagine David J drinking when he drinks Scotch during a magick ceremony (and I've heard he likes single malt).

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Jan012015

Drinking to Drink: The Interview Archive

This is a post I'll be using as an archive to the D2D interviews I've done, beginning with director Steven Soderbergh towards the end of 2014. Unlike the podcast series, these conversations are done with K&L customers and fans who do not work in the industry, are not interested in the production side of distilled spirits, yet have something valuable and interesting to say about booze: namely, how much they enjoy drinking it (hence: "drinking to drink"). Each time I add a new interview, I'll add it to this post which is linked on the right-side margin of the main Spirits Journal page.

D2D Interview: Director Steven Soderbergh

D2D Interview: Bauhaus/Love & Rockets founder David J.

D2D Interview: Animal Collective's Geologist

D2D Interview: Former NFL Quarterback Steve Bono

D2D Interview: Silicon Valley mogul Marc Andreessen

D2D Interview: The Jazz Butcher's Pat Fish

D2D Interview: Warriors Woman Nicole Curran

D2D Interview: Frontier Records owner Lisa Fancher

D2D Interview: Paramount Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Wednesday
Dec312014

2014: Day 365

We're almost there. Just another four hours and we can officially put this holiday season, and year as a whole, to bed. I'm gassed. Just totally spent—emotionally and physically—but all the hard work was worth it. The amount of support, great feedback, and good cheer from K&L customers over the last 31 days has been tremendous; nothing but outpours of well wishes and kind courtesy. It's been a wonder to watch and to receive. I'm pretty much at the point where I can no longer answer all of my email, which is exciting and depressing at the same time. I've always made it a personal point of pride to answer every single message that landed in my inbox, but there's just no way I can do it right now. I apologize to those of you who have taken time to drop me a line or start a new dialogue. I've always enjoyed the banter and back and forth, but there's just too much at the moment. If you've sent it, however, I've read it—that you can be sure of!

There are a lot of things to look forward to in 2015—both at K&L and here on this blog. We already have a number of new projects in the making that should please customers old and new—things that will break new boundaries and stretch the understanding of what buying a bottle of alcohol should entail. We'll be expanding into new genres as well, as it turns out that artists of all genres enjoy their hooch. It's amazing how many of these folks have found K&L via this blog or some of our unique spirits offerings. Starting next week I'll be posting an interview series with some of the people I've come into contact with over the last few years; to move beyond simply the practical knowledge of production and into the general application of enjoyment. I started off strong a few months ago with director Steven Soderbergh and the conversation we had about Singani, but since then I've added a few names to the list that should add to that dynamic. Musicians, athletes, and more public personalities will be adding their two cents to the mix.

There's a lot more to talk about, but all in due time. Right now, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in the store, on the phone, and via email; especially those of you who take the time to read the blog as well. It's a lot of work and it's demanding at times, but it's always worth doing when it leads to the type of interaction and relationships that I've encountered recently.

I wish all of you a happy new year and I hope you party soundly and safely tonight. Rest assured, I will be passed out on the couch before midnightexhausted, disheveled, and drunk. But I'll have a big smile on my face. And that smile comes from all of your support and general enthusiasm for good booze.

We love you all. Thanks again.

-David Driscoll