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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

7/9 - San Francisco: No Tasting

7/9 - Redwood City: Ron Zacapa Rum

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

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


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 26 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky PRE-ORDER


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 PRE-ORDER


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 IN STOCK NOW!


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!


Bladnoch 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive Lightly Peated Single Barrel #303 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2005 Glenrothes 8 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Sherry Barrel 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!


1989 Cragganmore 23 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 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!


1983 Miltonduff 30 Year Old Faultline Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750m IN STOCK NOW!


Tuesday
Jan172012

France Day 1: Surviving the Night

We arrived at the small Armagnac village of Montreal around 7:30 PM.  An hour and a half drive from the Bordeaux airport through dark country roads and a winding backwoods, Montreal is where Charles Neal was married.  His wife grew up here and her family still resides in the town center.  Charle's brother-in-law operates one of the finest restaurants in the region and that is our destination tonight.  But first - we must visit a local winemaker who is sampling some of his very special selections with close friends.

At the back of a small racking warehouse we met local winemaker Dominique Andrian, a man who is making wines somewhere in between Lopez de Heredia and Sherry.  Oxidized, all bio-dynamic, and delicious as hell.  Some of these wines were the most exciting wines I've tasted in over a year.  We talked shop while we sipped, but it soon became apparent that we needed some food to pair with these amazing specimen.

By the time we walked over to the restaurant, Charles's brother-in-law Bernard was already there slicing the jamón.  Thin pieces that melted on our tongues.  Good God!  What were we in for after already braving 30 straight hours of sleep-deprived travel time?

The ham.  It was so soft and tender.  Oh God.......

Homemade rabbit terrine with a delicious savory sparkling wine.  We took this down fast.

Artichokes with a truffle butter sauce!  Paired with an oxidized rose that tasted of truffles!  Dip your bread in that!

Foie gras ravioli in a pumpkin cream sauce.  Are you kidding me?  I about died right there.

I didn't get a picture of the beef sandwiches with the tangy pickle sauce, but I had to snap these fois gros sliders with carrot and celery.  There were two more courses still on the way - duck confit and veal with mushrooms - before I excused myself and headed back to the hotel.  David OG is still out with them as they plan on driving over to a local distiller and drinking until God knows when.  I am far too spent for that.  DOG managed to sleep on the plane, so he's refreshed and ready.  I, however, need 10 hours sleep and a good walk in the morning.  I'm exhausted.  But I'm well fed, that's for sure.  Tomorrow is Armagnac - five appointments with the best farmers/distillers.  More after we get back.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Jan172012

France Day 1: The Hunt for David Girard

We've got a four hour layover in Paris and I've already been here an hour and forty minutes.  Girard landed at the same time I did, but there's no sign of him so far.  This is a big airport.  I battled the flu I caught Thursday night all ten hours of the flight over here, the pressure threatening to collapse my sinuses, but I emerged unscathed.  A good night's rest and I should be over this wretched bug.  What a time to get sick.  I am somewhat happy to have a stuffy nose at the moment, however, because were in perfect health I would march right over to the Ladurée and eat an entire box full of macarons.  The best cookie on earth is but a few yards away, but to eat one at this point would be a waste.  After a few more hours of book reading, DOG and I will be on our way south to Armagnac country.  Charles Neal is set to grab us once we land and we'll make the trek down from there.  Good in-flight movies on Air France, by the way.  This was the first time I had flown with them.  Three films I wanted to see, but hadn't: Super 8, Warrior, and Drive.  Gotta keep my eyes peeled for David Othenin-Girard.  Until later.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Jan132012

Faultline Gin Update

I made my way over to Alameda yesterday to check up on our latest collaboration with St. George distillery - our very own Faultline Gin to be sold exclusively at K&L.  We've got the labels designed, the gin has been distilled, but we needed to put a few final touches on the product.  I met up with Dave Smith in the lab to discuss a few specifics and cross a few T's.

The base of the gin is beautiful - soft and gentle with a beautiful juniper bouquet and hints of foresty botanicals in the background.  My only concern was that the flavor was too soft.  The finish is a bit light and watery, which while pleasing to fans of more easy-going gins, is not quite the profile I'm looking for.  After playing around with some citrus hops and minty distillates, we decided to tweak the gin with a bit of celery salt-macerated spirit.  The first batch was too strong, as the savory notes overpowered the beautiful botanicals.  We decided to dial it back a bit and the result was fantastic.  The empty spots were gently filled with a salty spice and the finish was far more satisfying.  I'd say we're about ready to go! 

Now we just need to get those labels over to the printer.  1,000 bottles of Faultline Gin on the way!

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Jan122012

Amrut Portonova

Strong reviews from most major critics.  Better packaging than any of the previous Amruts.  Plus, I like it even more than the Fusion (which we all know it pretty darn good)!  There's not much of it to be had, but it's here while it lasts.

Amrut Portonova Indian Single Malt Whisky $115.99 - The newest release from Indian single malt producer Amrut was aged in Bourbon cask, then port pipes, and then back to Bourbon cask again for a triple maturation. At cask strength, the result is a powerful and rich malt that should impress whisky lovers even more so than the Amrut Fusion. Dark chocolate notes mix with red fruits and loads of spice on the finish. A slight herbacious note lingers in the distance as well. Very impressive.

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Jan112012

Our Mission in France - A Brief Overview

I've been asked by numerous customers so far which distilleries in France we'll be visiting.  Technically, the answer is pretty close to zero.  While Scotch single malt whisky is the practice of large corporations or independent companies, the brandy we're searching for is not.  That's not to say that large distilleries aren't making Cognac, Armagnac, or Calvados, it's just that we won't be visiting any of them.  That's not the goal.  That's not why we went to Charles Neal for help.

We're heading to France in search of the producteur agricole, the farmer who harvests his own fruit, makes his own wine or cider, and distills, ages, and bottles the resulting spirit himself.  Why are we limiting ourselves to this type of producer?  Well, first and foremost, because large companies are not in the business of working out special deals with American retailers.  However, that being said, we're also not flying all the way to France just to taste brandy that we could already purchase here.  Look at it this way - if a friend went to France and brought you back some French cheese, would you be more excited if he bought it at a small farm in the countryside, or at a grocery store in the airport?  Even if the latter tastes better, I'm guessing it's the former. 

Most of the reason we're interested in meeting the small farmers, however, is because of their unique, small production flavor.  The mass production of booze that goes on at the larger distilleries simply isn't as interesting - technically and flavorwise.  It may be smooth, but we got over "smooth" about three years ago.  As many of you witnessed with our first ever Faultline Spirits single barrel Cognac, the good stuff isn't sitting in a factory warehouse - it's in some small farmer's basement.  There's a significant boutique factor here, but we've all tasted the difference.  Walking outside one's door, harvesting grapes from one's own backyard, making wine from these grapes, distilling brandy from this wine on a still in one's barn, and then transfering it into barrels which are then rolled into one's own house is simply more intriguing and, from our tasting experience, seems to yield brandies with significant character.

According to Charles Neal, the producteurs agricoles feel that many of the industrial products lack authenticity while their own products are completely attached to the terroir.  If a wine maker buys some Napa grapes and then trucks them over to Modesto for the actual winemaking process in a large industrial complex, is that really still a Napa wine?  We're going to find out if the same analogy holds true for French spirits.  Maybe we're overblowing the importance of small producers and their antiquated methods, or maybe we'll find the most heavenly elixer known to man. 

-David Driscoll