Navigation
Tuesday
Oct282014

Free Alexander Murray Tasting Tomorrow 

With all of the new stuff coming in right now it's hard to keep everyone up-to-speed! Tomorrow night you'll want to come by the Redwood City store between 5 PM and 6:30 if you can. William Lipp, former professional rugby player and nephew of Duncan Taylor boss Euan Shand, will be in the store to launch his Alexander Murray label in California. Surely you've noticed that Costco and Trader Joe's have been doing their own generic single malt expressions as of late. Alexander Murray has been the source of this whisky, providing larger retail outlets with the volume they need to make these deals worthwhile. Costco and Trader Joe's have not been interested in smaller quantities of single casks, so now William has set up base in-state to start peddling these more-niche items. 

They're offering some pretty amazing prices for these whiskies. Sure, they're chill-filtered and bottled at 40%, but man are they tasty, and man are they cheap! I'm going to make these available to in-store shoppers first, so if you come by the tasting event tomorrow you'll get first dibs. And I'm going to pass along the aggressive pricing to all of you. How about a knockout expression of Longmorn 21 (that tastes eerily similar to our Exclusive Malts cask a while back) for around $85? How about ripe-fruited, luscious 19 year old Tobermory for the same? 

Come taste tomorrow. You'll be happy you did.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Oct282014

Fuenteseca 2014 Edition

Here it is. The sequel to Fuenteseca part one:

Fuenteseca Reserva "2014 Edition" K&L Exclusive Extra Añejo Tequila $99.99 -While our last batch of Fuenteseca K&L Extra Añejo Tequila was a huge hit, instantly becoming the most successful agave spirit in the history of our store, there were two factors that made some Tequila lovers hesitant to pull the trigger: the price and the richness. It was an anomaly in that it was so rich and beyond anything we were familiar with, it almost resembled a whiskey more than a Tequila. The next time around we not only wanted to craft something entirely different, we also wanted to showcase both value and how much Enrique's mid-range spirits retained their pure Tequila flavor. This past Spring we met with Enrique at his gigantic hacienda in Atotonlico, Jalisco to work on a sequel. Once again, working with the rich and butterscotch profile of his stupendous four year old Tequilas, we wanted to accent that flavor with spice and intensity. Using 60% four year 20% seven year, and 20% eight year old Tequilas we managed to build an extra añejo that offered all the complexity of extra maturation with all of the pepper and panache of true, unadulterated, rustic Tequila flavor. This 2014 edition of Fuenteseca is an explosion of intensity. It begins with a blast of black pepper, lime, salt, and clean agave flavor (like chewing on the sweet, cooked fibers) and quickly moves into a flurry of clove and cinnamon. The finish, however, is where the magic happens: holiday spice cake, cocoa, and cinnamon warm the minute-long finale. It's the best of youth and age in one Tequila.

It's all the vivacious, expressive, and endearing flavors of blanco tequila on the entry, with the warming, mellow, complexity of age on the finish. It's entirely different than the first Fuenteseca, yet it's no less exciting. This time around, however, it's half the price. Whereas the goal last time around was to make a ultra-mature tequila for whisky drinkers, the goal this time was to make an ultra-mature tequila for tequila drinkers.

I really hope you all enjoy this. I'm very proud of our effort.

-David Driscoll

Monday
Oct272014

Fuenteseca Numero Dos

The first things that strike you about the Highlands of Jalisco are the shadows: the way the clouds block out the sun, creating contrast between the plateaus, the scattered brush, and the rising hills. There's an atmosphere in Atotonilco that feels authentic; like you're truly in Mexico and the home of all-things Tequila. The vistas are all picturesque along Route 90 as you drive east of Guadalajara into the mountains. About an hour east of the metropolis, you'll find the town of Atontonilco El Altowhere tequila maker Enrique Fonseca livesand you'll also find one of the largest collections of aging agave spirit anywhere. Despite the fact that his distilleryLa Tequileñais on the other side of Guadalajara, in the Lowlands near the town of Tequila, Enrique chooses to keep his most treasured stocks close to home. This past Spring I got the chance to visit his rustic hacienda with ArteNOM boss Jake Lustig, where we both hoped to pow-wow with Enrique about a second Fuenteseca blend for K&L—a sequel to our initial release that won the hearts and minds of Tequila drinkers everywhere.

When we arrived, Enrique and his staff were preparing an epic meal for us on his incredible veranda. Everything Enrique eats is sourced from the farm next to his property. We were going to be feasting on hand-stuffed chorizo and carne asada, but first we opened a few inital beers and took a tour of the site. I had no idea how much Tequila was actually aging at Enrique's gigantic estate.

And then I entered warehouse number one. My goodness. The incredible sight of Bourbon barrels stacked as high as the eye could see was jaw-dropping. Yet, it was only one of many such facilities on sight. Not only are Enrique's mature stocks the oldest existing in all of Mexico, they're also one of the largest in volume. Our initial Fuenteseca release utilized Tequilas up to twenty-one years of age—making it the oldest Tequila ever released. While formulating that blend I was only able to work with the samples Enrique had sent to me in the Bay Area. This time, however, on location at Enrique's estate, I would have endless amounts of mature Tequila at my fingertips. It was an overwhelming feeling.

Many have asked me about the extended aging of Enrique's Tequilas; wondering if more than two decades in oak was too much for an agave spirit to manage. Would the oak eventually dominate the Tequila entirely? Possibly, but before that happens Enrique transfers the mature spirit into gigantic wooden vats. The larger vessels allow for extra maturation without the fear of over-oaking the Tequila. This transition is key in shaping the ultimate flavor of Enrique's expressions. None of Enrique's older Tequilas taste overly woody in any way.

So what happened that night? Did we eventually create a sequel to our much-heralded Fuenteseca Extra Añejo? Indeed, we did. We ate, drank, talked, and blended long into the warm Jalisco evening. This time around, however, we wanted to make a more affordable expression; one that wouldn't cost an eye-popping $189.99. By using a ratio of roughly half four year old Tequila, half seven and eight year old Tequilas, we were able to craft something quite delicious. How does it taste? How much will it cost?

I'll let you know tomorrow when it arrives.

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Oct252014

I Just Noticed....

As is the norm this time of year, I've been spending my off days revisiting some classic horror films from the 80s (when gore was at its all-time greatest). Encore has the entire Hellraiser series in HD on On Demand right now, so I've been reworking my way through the series. If you're unfamiliar with the Clive Barker cult classic, Hellraiser involves a puzzle box that, when unlocked, can open gateways into hell that are monitored by a group of demons called the cenobites. The box is covered on all sides by a series of golden patterns and indentations that can be teased and manipulated with ones fingers. In the center is a small circle that works as a button.

As I was watching Hellraiser 2: Hellbound last night, nursing my glass of Glenmorangie 10, I glanced at the bottle and noticed something incredibly coincidental.

Was the Glenmorangie label inspired by the Hellraiser puzzle box? If you rub the front label with the tip of your thumb will Pinhead appear in your living room, ready to deliver both pleasure and pain? If anyone's bottle of GlenMo Original ends up opening a gateway to hell, feel free to bring it back. Full refund.

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Oct252014

Please Forward This To Everyone 

It is impossible to know if a wine is bad before opening the bottle.

If you remove the foil and there's a bit of mold on the cork, the wine is probably still fine.

If you remove the foil and the cork looks like it's leaked a bit, the wine is probably still fine.

If the cork falls apart as you insert the corkscrew and disintegrates upon removal, the wine is probably still fine (just pour the wine through a sieve to filter out the bits).

If you pull the cork out and the bottom of the cork is covered with red sediment or crystallized particles, the wine is probably still fine.

If the foil itself is soaked from seepage, the wine is probably still fine.

Basically, unless you're trying to decipher the condition of an old bottle of wine (because the cork can help give you an indication of how much oxygen has penetrated the wine), don't worry about the cork. Corks are misleading. Corks lie. Forget the cork. Worry about the wine.

If the wine tastes bad, then put the cork back in and bring it back to where you bought it.

If the cork explodes in your hand, but the wine still tastes delicious, then drink it. You're not going to get sick.

If you bring a "bad" bottle of wine back to the store where you bought it, then the wine needs to have been opened. You can't know if a bottle is "bad" unless you've opened it, smelled it, and/or tasted it.

No one at K&L will ever make fun of you for returning an opened bottle of wine you think is flawed (even if it isn't).

People might snicker at you if you bring back a "bad" bottle of wine that has never been opened.

It is impossible to know if a wine is bad before opening the bottle.

-David Driscoll