Navigation
Search This Blog

Return to KLWines.com

Spirits Journal Podcast Archive

Spirits Journal Twitter Feed

K&L Uncorked Blog

K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

8/20 - San Francisco: No Tasting

8/20 - Redwood City: K&L Signatory Single Malts

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

Kilchoman K&L Exclusive 100% Islay Single Bourbon Barrel #344 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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


1990 Glenfarclas K&L Exclusive Single Malt Whisky PRE-ORDER


Glenfarclas "The Faultline Casks" K&L Exclusive First Fill Oloroso Sherry Casks Single Malt Whisky PRE-ORDER


1997 Bunnahabhain Heavily Peated 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Chieftain's Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1998 Laphroaig 15 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1983 Caol Ila 30 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2002 Bowmore 11 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Hogshead Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW


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 IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Benrinnes 17 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Dailuaine 16 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glen Elgin 18 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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 IN STOCK NOW!


1996 Bowmore 16 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Bladnoch "Young" K&L Exclusive Heavily Peated Single Barrel #57 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glengoyne 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #172 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive Single Bourbon Barrel #74 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2013 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky Still Available

2005 Island Distillery 7 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


2001 Royal Lochnagar 10 Year Old Faultline Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glendronach 18 Year Old Single PX Barrel Cask Strength Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1994 Benriach 19 Year Old Single Bourbon Barrel Cask Strength Blended Scotch Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!


1992 Longmorn 21 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1987 Mortlach 25 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Thursday
Aug022012

New Arrivals Today

A couple of fun new items that just landed today.  We've been anxiously awaiting their arrival:

Tequila Tapatio 1L $29.99 - "Tapatio" is a word that refers to a man from Jalisco, the Tequila-producing state in Mexico. In this case, it refers to Don Felipe Camarena, who opened the La Alteña distillery in 1937 where his grandchildren now make Tapatio tequila. The family has roots of making tequila that reach back to the 1800s, but the family's destillery was destroyed during the Mexican Revolution. The blanco is wonderfully vibrant with plenty of spice and a clean finish.  Wonderful for sipping or for a killer margarita.

Charbay R5 White Whiskey $49.99 - Marko from Charbay distillery in St. Helena bought 6,000 gallons of the famous Racer 5 IPA a few years back and decided to make whiskey out of it.  The aged expression spent over a year in stainless steel tank and really captures the hoppy flavor of the ale in a clean, vibrant white dog version.  A wonderful crossover for the beer geek/whiskey geek.

Charbay R5 Aged Whiskey $69.99 - Marko from Charbay distillery in St. Helena bought 6,000 gallons of the famous Racer 5 IPA a few years back and decided to make whiskey out of it.  The aged expression spent over a year in new oak barrels to soften up the palate, but the hoppy goodness of the ale still shines through.  A wonderful crossover for the beer geek/whiskey geek

Bunnahabhain Toiteach Peated Single Malt Whisky $85.99 - The first heavily-peated whisky to ever hit the U.S. directly from Bunnahabhain, the Toiteach is an unchillfiltered small production offering from the most underrated distillery on Islay.  Oily and resinous, with lively phenolic notes, the nose is floral and peppery, while the palate is thick and buttery.  A fantastic new expression from a distillery with a lot to prove.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Aug022012

More on the Midwest Corn Shortage

I don't know why I didn't tackle this subject sooner because it appears the current drought in the midwest could put a serious dent in Kentucky's Bourbon production.  The more I talk to people at the major distilleries, the more I'm beginning to break out in a cold sweat.  Yesterday afternoon I communicated with Jim Rutledge, the master distiller for Four Roses, and he had the following to say:

 I don’t think I’m telling you anything you haven’t already heard, but my three main concerns are: 1) will we, the Bourbon industry, have a sufficient supply of corn, 2) will the drought have a negative impact on the quality of corn and 3) the cost. I’m pretty sure we’ll see prices per bushel that we’ve never seen before, but the cost is a minimal concern relative to the supply and quality of corn. Relative to quality – it’s not worth producing and barreling a proof gallon if the quality is not excellent. My philosophy has always been: quality is always premier to quantity, and do it right the first time when filling up a barrel. My focus has always been on the distillates, the white dog, versus what comes out of the barrel. If you do it right from the get-go there aren’t many worries with matured barrels of Bourbon.

When Mark Brown told me the other day that each distillery would be affected based on "how they account for the corn used," this is what he meant.  Jim at Four Roses is very selective about his base product because he believes the distillate is the most important part of the process (others may stress cooperage over distillation).  If he's forced to use corn that doesn't meet his standards, that also happens to be more expensive (and that he may be lucky to even get anyway), he would end up making limited amounts of Four Roses Bourbon that he didn't like and having to charge us more to drink it!  That would be awful.  Knowing Jim, I think he'd rather make less whiskey than make Bourbon that didn't meet his personal approval.  So far, Four Roses has been one of the few Bourbon distilleries to avoid any serious supply shortages of aged stock, but that may change if they have to limit production due to a lack of corn.

Another interesting dilemma resulting from the corn shortage is the use of GMO (genetically modified) corn in distillation and if distilleries like Four Roses and Wild Turkey, who normally choose not to purchase it, will be be forced into changing their policies.  Again, I'll be posting more on this story as I find more information.

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Aug012012

Some Fun New Items

A few new things showed up today that I'm pretty jazzed about.  Number one would be the limited edition Ardbeg 10 gift backs that come with a free mini of the Uigeadail.  The price is the same, but we cannot ship them, so these are for in-store customers only.  At the current moment, we only have them in Redwood City, but if you want to pick one up in San Francisco or Hollywood then send me an email and I can put one on order for you.

I am very excited about this little guy. I've been trying to track down a few extra bottles of Biancosarti, the white Campari of Italy, but getting them from the motherland hasn't been possible.  No need, however, because the French have begun exporting their answer to it: the Aveze Amere Sauvage Liqueur.  It comes in a liter bottle, it's $26.99, and it's waaaaaaaaaaaaaay closer to Campari than things like Gran Classico (which I like very much, but I'm tired of everyone telling me it's a Campari substitute - it isn't).  There's less sweetness to the Aveze than the GC and it tastes very much like gentian, which is the main flavor component.  The bitter is more pronounced, but the weight and sweetness level are about the same as Campari.  Can't wait to try it in a Negroni later this evening.

Then there's this little sleeper made by Combier, the Loire Valley producer behind the famous orange liqueur.  Their new lineup of fruit liqueurs is impressive, but the Pamplemousse is going to be a permanent mainstay here at K&L (NOTE: the above photo is a 200ml bottle, but we have the 750ml).  It's f-ing deeeeeeeelicious.  Juicy grapefruit goodness with a touch of sweetness to balance it out.  At 16% alcohol, it's great right out of the bottle, but it will work well with a splash of soda or wonderfully in gin and tequila cocktails.  I can't wait to play around with it.  There aren't enough grapefruit products out there.

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Aug012012

How Will the Midwest Drought Affect Bourbon?

If you haven't been following the current disaster going on in the midwestern United States, then perhaps you should take a look at what we can expect when prices on grain start going through the roof.  Corn, in general, is taking a serious beating right now with analysists wondering how the shortage is going to affect food prices.  I was listening to NPR on the way to work the other day and the speaker was talking about how we should divert corn from projects like ethanol energy production, putting those supplies back into actual consumption to help stabilize the market.  What I didn't hear anyone talk about, however, was the American whiskey market and what we can expect when there's not enough corn for distillation.

We're in a very interesting dilemma right now.  Currently, we're experiencing a shortage of aged Bourbon stocks, so you would expect distilleries to up their production as a result.  However, how can they increase production to supply demand if there isn't any corn available?  If prices on corn start skyrocketing should we expect the price of whiskey to follow?  I've been corresponding with Buffalo Trace Distillery to see if I could get their take on it and Mark Brown, CEO and President, had this to say:

"High corn and grain prices in general, depending on how individual distillers account for the corn used in the making of their respective whiskeys will inevitably push prices higher, not by an exorbitant amount but consumers should definitely expect to see some price increases coming through."

It's definitely a subject of concern in Kentucky right now.  I'll be checking in with Four Roses and a few other producers very soon to get their take on it as well. 

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Aug012012

Tastings Tonight

Just a reminder:

Charles Neal will be invading the San Francisco store this evening to pour some Chateau Pellehaut brandies, including two K&L exclusive vintages!  Don't miss your chance to taste some of the best Armagnac we've ever carried - for FREE. 

Redwood City will be hosting Boyd & Blair vodka for another session on macerating your own herbs and spices into a collection of homemade bitters.

Tastings start at 5 PM and run until 6:30.  See you there!

-David Driscoll