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Wednesday
Mar292017

Gifts from Burgundy

Don't think I went all the way to Burgundy and didn't bring you spirits drinkers anything fun as well! While I spent most of my time tasting and working out deals for wine, I did manage to grab what is in my mind the ultimate Burgundian spirit: superbly-splendid fruit liqueur. Many people don't know this, but there's a designated and protected appellation (just like Champagne or Cognac) for both Crème de Cassis and Framboise from Burgundy. It's more prestigious because the quality and standards are on another level. In order to call your spirits "Crème de Cassis/Framboise de Bourgogne" you have to of course source all of your fruit from within the region and adhere to certain standards of production. I tasted a number of different options from which we could import directly, but the stand out for me was Jean Arthaud. I didn't even know crème de cassis and framboise could taste like this! It was like having my brain rewired as my mouth began to comprehend layer after layer after layer of complex and intricate decadence. First off, both of these babies have real acidity! Like a sweeter riesling or Sauternes, any great wine must balance sugar with acidity; otherwise it's what we call "flabby". I'm not used to tasting true tartness in my liqueurs, but it's here in spades. Then there's the level of depth in the concentrated fruit flavor. These are up there with some of the better Tawny Ports I've tasted. I mean, these are sip and contemplate liqueurs! They're almost too good to mix with. Each has spent five weeks macerating in 192 proof alcohol before being filtered and sweetened with beet sugar before bottling. Both will blow your mind. 

You might expect higher end, IGP-designated liqueurs like this to cost a pretty penny (and you'd be right), but I brought these babies into California directly. That means you pay significantly less. One 750ml bottle will cost you the same as our regular Mathilde selections, it's just that one tastes like sweet fruit and the other tastes like a hedonistic elixir of the gods. Fellas—buy a bottle for your wife and watch her freak out. I'm expecting a similar result on the home front later tonight.

Jean Arthaud Crème de Cassis de Bourgogne Liqueur $26.99

Jean Arthaud Crème de Framboise de Bourgogne Liqueur $26.99

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Mar292017

A Lot of Action Today

Check the site frequently today as all kinds of limited Bourbons, Japanese whiskies, Taiwanese whiskies, and Scotch whiskies should be kicking around today in very limited amounts. 

Should be a few Yamazakis, Hakushus, Blanton's, Kavalans, even the new Bruichladdich Black Art, etc.

They'll go in and out fast, so stay glued to your screen!

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Mar292017

Back on the Wagon!

Now that my cold symptoms are finally starting to reside, I can start tasting that supreme deliciousness of malt whisky once again! Just in time, too. Our latest batch of Michel Couvreur "Peaty Overaged" just hit the shelves and each time I taste it I'm reminded about why we originally went to Burgundy to start this project. The sherry-aged whiskies of Couvreur are not your everyday sherry-aged malts. They're not sherry bombs, nor are they potent high-proof missiles like the Aberlour A'Bunadh. They're like velvet whiskies. They almost melt over your tongue with viscosity and a seamless nuance. We thought it might be nice to add a bit of peat smoke to that seductive character, and it turns out that was a pretty good idea!

There's a reason we've sold more than 1,200 bottles of this whisky over the last few years. Plus, who doesn't get all geeky when looking at photos of the underground caverns where the casks are stored?

Oh...and more good news! It's now ten dollars cheaper thanks to a more direct pipeline. We pass any savings like that over to you, of course. 

Michel Couvreur "Peaty Overaged" K&L Exclusive Malt Whisky $79.99 - The chance to work with Michel Couvreur on a special K&L whisky project was something that David and I had been dreaming of for years. We had heard the stories. This crazy Belgian had moved to Burgundy in the '60s, carved out a wine cellar inside a mountain, only to fill it with Scottish single malt whisky instead of Pinot Noir. He set up camp in Beaune, ordered new-make spirit to be delivered by tanker, and drove down to Jerez himself, selecting his own sherry butts to insure only the finest quality casks for his contracted spirit. Unfortunately, Michel Couvreur passed away in 2013 from pancreatic cancer, thus ending the career of one of the industry's most courageous pioneers. Luckily for us, however, apprentice Jean-Arnaud has carried on after studying under Michel for more than a decade. When we visited the underground cave, we were all in total awe. The tunnels of dripping stone go on forever, and the amount of whisky stored in this secret lair is jawdropping. We put our trust completely in Jean-Arnaud and are happy we did. Our peated version of the incredible sherry expression is a seamless creation that drinks like the best version of Johnnie Black ever, mixed with the most supple and soft expressions of Macallan. It's a lush, unfiltered, creamy, caramel-laden dream of a whisky composed only of malts 12 years and older. There's a bit of peat on the finish, but the soft sherry is the star. (NOTE: do NOT cut the hard wax seal, use a wine opener to go through it)

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Mar282017

Updates from Scotland's Future Distilleries

I woke up this morning to a lovely panorama of the future Ardnahoe distillery site on Islay. Stewart Laing emailed me to say hello and to let me know they were getting ready to pour concrete for the foundation. You can see the peaks of Jura out there in the distance. I'm really excited for this distillery to break ground. It's very exciting.

Not to be outdone by an exciting new distillery photo, the Morrisons sent me this awesome shot of their pot stills being brought in by crane at the new Clydeside distillery in Glasgow. I'm just as pumped up for a real single malt distillery in downtown Glasgow as I am a new face on the holy ground of Islay.

-David Driscoll

Monday
Mar272017

Drink & Watch: Mildred Pierce

How about a drink? Let's have a drink first. Have a drink and we'll talk about it. Who wants a drink? 

Those are all lines you'll hear repeatedly throughout the Academy Award-winning classic Mildred Pierce, an almost noir-ish account of a determined single mother raising a millennial daughter more than sixty years before we even knew what millennials were. Joan Crawford, in true Mommy Dearest form, drinks like a fish throughout the film. She drinks so much Bourbon in her role as restaurateur that it probably impressed the hell out of the judges who eventually gave her the Oscar for best actress. Of course, with classic liter-sized bottles of "Kentucky Hill" like the one pictured above, who could lay off the stuff? 

Once you get past the first twenty minutes, there's hardly a moment where Joanie isn't slamming down glasses of brown water with various eager gentlemen. At one point my wife said to me: "Jesus, is that all they did back then? Drink and look glamorous?"

Yes, and that's why we loved them.

That is until we found out they were also drunken lunatics who were secretly abusing their adopted children by whipping them with wire hangers, but that was real life Joan Crawford. I much prefer the fantasy version of Mildred Pierce on the silver screen. I broke out my 1.75 liter of Very Old Barton (an annual Walgreen's of downtown Louisville purchase) and went to town along with her yesterday afternoon. 

"I drink it straight now," Crawford says at one point in the film to the surprise of her suitor. Yes, you most definitely do, Joan. You most definitely do.

-David Driscoll