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!


Friday
Mar232012

Things Are Complicated

I'm almost always thinking about booze.  Usually, it's in a philosophical sense - not about some deal I need to make, but rather about the role of alcohol in our lives and whether it actually makes them better.  Lately, I've been so bombarded by new arrivals and tasting notes that I've had little time to ponder much more than the cost of a bottle.  Some of you may appreciate that more, sick of reading my babbles about booze theory, but I hope there is an audience out there somewhere.  What struck me the other night, while watching an episode of the Colbert Report, was an interview that Stephen conducted with a prominent war journalist.  Colbert asked him for his stance (either pro or anti) on some of the confrontations he had involved himself in and the reporter responded with one of the best answers I've ever heard: it's too complicated.

Perhaps when you're young, bold, and opinionated, it can be easy to be either "for" or "against" the Iraq war, or to firmly side with Israel or Palestine.  What I found so relieving about the journalist's answer, however, was the fact that true experience taught him never to jump to conclusions.  While I've never been part of an armed engagement, I can only imagine the myriad of components to consider when trying to establish the truth of what's happening.  Yet, sitting here from far away, it seems like so many people believe they understand the intricate nature of each conflict.  This man, who had been there and experienced the war, could only say that there was simply too much to consider when trying to summarize a final opinion.  So what does this have to do with booze?

I think that perhaps I've let my own opinions about large corporations complicate my opinion about some of the products they own or produce.  Sometimes it's easy to lump an entire portfolio under the Diageo umbrella, or to dismiss big house Cognac as simply adulterated.  I've listened to other opinions about these matters and I've heard some interesting points of view.  However, the more that I work in this business, the more I am introduced to the people behind these products, many of whom completely throw a wrench in my firm-standing beliefs.  For example, last week, when Mr. Raguenaud from Grand Marnier paid us a visit - we were all less than enthused about this corporate giant and their "mass-produced" orange liqueur.  However, when we tasted with Patrick and we sensed his passion for the craft, we all left feeling a bit ashamed of ourselves.  Sure, Grand Marnier is run by luxury brand-owner LVMH and they run huge ad campaigns all over the world, but does that mean their product isn't any good?

Now that's not to say that you should support Grand Marnier instead of a locally-made or smaller-production orange liqueur.  It's just to say that things are complicated.  It's not easy to simply lump brands or products together based on an overall ideal.  I've had a few more of these experiences since Grand Marnier visited, including a run in with a tequila producer I was sure I wanted to avoid, but ended up being completely won over by his passion.  If you would have asked me six months ago how I felt about corporate-run, big-brand spirits, I probably would have given you a blanket answer.  Now, however, I need to analyze that question on a case by case basis.  There are too many facets of the booze business that cannot be summarized so easily.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Mar222012

The Kurani Kid Discusses Our New Liqueurs

Kyle Kurani breaks down three new liqueurs soon to be at K&L this week in another video confessional.  Look for all three starting tomorrow in the Redwood City store.

Thursday
Mar222012

Some New Things For Cocktail Fans

Tomorrow will be an exciting day for cocktail fans as we receive a bunch of new products in the Redwood City store.  First off will be the long-awaited arrival of Germain-Robin's Fluid Dynamics 1850 barrel-aged cocktail.  The absinthe in the mix puts it over the top as the absolute best of the FD offerings, a lovely drink.  We'll also be offering three packs soon with the 1850, Saratoga, and Brandy Manhattan at a discounted price.  Fun!

I'd been wanting to taste this for a while and it finally came my way today!  The Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth from Oregon showcases all the fruit of the area's Pinot Gris wine with the lovely bitter notes of something like Cocchi Americano.  Clear Creek makes the brandy for fortification and the marriage is quite seamless.  This is one of the most delicious apperitifs I've tried in some time.  It should come in at around $25 a bottle and I expect it to be a huge hit.

Kyle and I were also quite taken with this new Calisaya liqueur, also from Oregon.  Made from chinchona bark, botanicals, flowers, and Valencia oranges, this is one of the tastiest amaro-like arrivals in some time.  Again, this is so much more versatile for cocktails than most of the other amari we carry because of the wonderful fruit and the sweetness.  Think Grand Marnier meets Nonino Amaro.  This should come in at around $42.

Look for these products as early as tomorrow!

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Mar212012

The Shackleton Recreation

I'm sure most of you know the story about the new Whyte & MacKay release called MacKinlay's Rare Old Highland Whisky.  As the Shackleton expedition fled the coming Antarctic winter in 1909, they left behind some MacKinlay's whisky, which remained frozen until the cases were discovered under a hut by a team of scientists in 2006.  The whisky was flown back to the UK where it was analyzed and then recreated by Whyte & MacKay blenders, resulting in the limited edition bottle seen in the above photo.  The demand for the 50,000 bottle production has been outrageous and we were lucky to secure quite a hefty allocation.  The first batch sold in minutes and we've just received our second lot.  This time around I was able to taste the whisky and I found myself very impressed.  What's most interesting to me about the MacKinlay's is the fact that the grain whisky component comes from Glen Mhor distillery, just as the original Shackleton whisky did.  For those unaware, Glen Mhor distillery was completely destroyed by Diageo in the mid-1980s after being closed in 1983 (meaning the youngest possible age of the distillate would be 28 years).  It was a grain distillery in the Highland region that operated outside of Inverness, and after tasting our single cask bottlings from Girvan and Caledonian, I've become much more intrigued by the potential of more mature grain expressions.  

The grain whisky flavor completely dominates the MacKinlay's for my palate - and I love that.  It's almost smoky, but I don't think the Dalmore Single Malt used was peated, nor the Glen Mhor, but I might be wrong.  There's a wild grainy note that meanders in and out of peaty flavors before the stone fruits splash on the back palate.  The finish is classic grain, or classic well-made blended whisky - again, I was very impressed by it.  I think given a choice between something comparably priced, like Walker Blue, the MacKinlay's completely destroys the competition.  Plus, there's the fun historical and collectable elements to consider, so I'd definitely recommend the curious whisky fan to splurge on it.  I'm sure that a Google search can provide you with more detailed information, but for those interested in the whisky, have no fear - it's good.

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Mar212012

Wednesday Tastings Tonight!

Big time events tonight!  In our Redwood City store we'll be hosting Glenmorangie single malts who will be pulling out the big guns - the limited edition 15 year old Artein, the stupendous 18 year old, and the luxurious Signet mark.  If you're on the peninsula tonight then you don't want to miss this action.  San Francisco will host the always delicious Appleton Jamaican rums.  Both tastings will begin at 5 PM and will last until 6:30.  Free of charge, as always!  See you there.

-David Driscoll