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


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!


Tuesday
Jan312012

This Week's Wednesday Tasting

Just a quick notice about tomorrow's spirits tastings:

Redwood City will be hosting Lagavulin Islay Single Malt Whiskies!

San Francisco will welcome Four Roses Bourbon!

Both tastings begin at 5 PM and last until 6:30.  They are free of charge!

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Jan282012

The Artein is Good

As you'll read in my tasting notes, I was less than excited about Glenmorangie's new Sassicaia-enhanced project, the Artein.  A lot of talk about the source of the water, and how it runs through stone and whatnot.  Then, of course, the marriage with Tuscany's most famous high-end red.  More than ever, it seemed like Glenmorangie was relying on the LVMH side of things (luxury and image), rather than the Bill Lumsden side (creativity and excellence).  Once I tasted it, however, I changed my tune.  This whisky is very well made and the wine only highlights the inherent flavors built into it.  The price is also quite fair, so I bought everything I could.  Big email going out on Friday, so expect it to sell out by next weekend.

Glenmorangie Artein 15 Year Old Super Tuscan Cask Single Malt Whisky $79.99 - Another limited edition release from the folks at Glenmorangie and this one is perhaps their best effort yet.  I have to admit that when I read about Glenmo's new Sassicaia-finished experiment, I yawned.  There are a slew of wine cask-enhanced whiskies on the market and here was simply another one to add to the pile.  However, I should have had more faith in Bill Lumsden because this is one of the best Glenmorangie whiskies in years.  The aroma is full of red berries and sweet grains, but is also very delicate.  The flavors on the palate swim with stone fruit and soft caramel before finishing in a melting glaze of cherries and cocoa.  An ultra-smooth mouthfeel full of red fruits really warms the finish - this is great freakin' single malt! The Artein succeeds because the whisky is already of quality to begin with.  In this case, the wine simply adds complexity to what was already a great blend of 15 and 21 year old casks.  Even better is the fact that Sassicaia isn't actually written on the label due to legal restrictions.  Glenmorangie doesn't need to trade on the name of Italy's most famous Super Tuscan.  The Glenmorangie malt is the focus here and Dr. Bill has created enough of a reputation on his own as perhaps the best whisky creator in the business.  One need not look any further than the Artein as proof.  It's very, very good. This will sell out fast.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Jan272012

Exciting Scotch Dinner - Sunday, Jan. 29th

K&L's partnership with The Consortium continues this weekend with a special scotch dinner hosted by the Tar Pit on Melrose.  The Swirl Swig Sizzle program makes learning about the world's finest wines, spirits, and food accessible to anyone in the Los Angeles area.  Join the illustrious Johnnie Mundell as he walks you through a specially designed menu highlighting the single malts of Auchentoshan, Glen Grant, Bowmore, Glenrothes and Glen Garioch.  The Tar Pit's exceptional menu of re-imagined classics and whimsical comfort food will be the perfect compliment to some of Scotland's finest whiskies.  Don't miss this special one time event and look out for future events from SwirlSwigSizzle.com.

Here are the details:

Single Malt Scotch Dinner at the Tar Pit

When:  Sunday, January 29th
            6:00-7:30pm

Where: the Tar Pit
            609 North La Brea Avenue
            Los Angeles CA 90036

Price: only $75

Tickets:  please purchase your tickets HERE

Be sure to select SWIG in the drop down menu on the top left


HERE is the delicious menu for Sunday's event.  Pairings will be provided for each course.

Heirloom Beet Salad

humbolt fog goat cheese, cotton blossom honey,

pistachio vinaigrette

Seared Scallop

lobster veloute, tobiko, puffed rice

Octopus Bolognese

squid ink tagliatelle, prosciutto chips

Short Rib Mignon

chantrelle mushroom risotto, bitter greens, sunchoke puree

Bananas Foster

banana ice cream, rum caramel, candied pecans,

toasted marshmallow

Friday
Jan272012

We're Going to Vegas - You Should Too

Last year we got a call from a guy named Mahesh Patel who wanted us to help promote this thing called the Universal Whisky Experience.  "Where is it?" I asked.  He said Vegas.  "Ha!" I thought, "How the heck am I supposed to help promote a show that isn't in the Bay Area?"  We help John and Amy at the Whisky Advocate every year with WhiskyFest because it's a great tasting right downtown, so that makes total sense.  Was this tasting in Vegas really so great that K&L customers would be willing to take time off, buy a plane ticket, reserve a hotel room, and then pay for the tasting?  "How much is it?" I asked.  He said $500.  "HA!" I screamed in my head, "There's no way!"  I agreed to put some flyers in the store, but that was as far as I was willing to go.  The whole thing seemed too over the top.

After the tasting was over, David OG called me up from LA and asked, "Hey, do you remember that tasting in Vegas?  Well apparently it was the best tasting ever."  "Who told you that?" I asked.  "Some of my very best customers," he replied.  It seemed that Mahesh's bold attempt to create the ultimate whisky experience went over quite well with just about everyone we talked to who went.  Now we were curious.  Last month, when Mahesh called again and asked if we could help support him this year, we said yes.  We wanted to come out and see what this whole thing was about.  The selections looked great and the word on the street was the food made the ticket price worthwhile.  Mahesh said that if we were able to bring some customers, he could offer us a special deal on pricing.  "Why not?" we said.

So here's the deal.  Tickets for this thing are $525, but not for anyone who books via us.  You'll receive a significant discount if you email one of us and go through K&L.  The actual tasting show is on Friday March 2nd at the Wynn Resort, and the master classes are all day on Saturday the 3rd.  You can click on the link above and view the website for more info about who's pouring, but the lineup looks amazing.  They really bring out the old stuff as well, and the crowd is supposed to be light and managable.  We've never been to the UWE before, so this will be our first impression and we hope it's a good one.  We're all about supporting whisky education and the discount that Mahesh has offered our customers makes this much more of a value.  I hope the event is as great as I've heard and I hope that some of you can meet us there.

If you're interested in going, please email myself or David OG.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Jan262012

France Day 9: Final Tastes & Thoughts

As you can tell from David OG's post below, we're now home safe and sound with much on our minds.  The trip was a huge success on many fronts - it boosted our own knowledge of France's great spirits, we met directly with small producers who will be bottling exclusive brandies for us, and we got to show our customers why we take the time to do business the way we do.  Our final morning in France, before making the drive to Paris, was spent with Mr. Giard, a cider producer that Charles imports and a distiller of fine Calvados as well.  After Camut, it was going to be tough for anyone to impress us, but we were quite taken with the Giard spirits.  His orchards are beautiful and he has a quiet, humble manner that I quite appreciate from producers.

When I wrote earlier this week that Calvados producers are using gigantic barrels, I wasn't kidding.  Giard uses the biggest barrels in Normandie as you can see from the above photo.  His orchards are all haute-tige and he makes certain that his fruit is ripe before making the cider.  His bottled ciders were impeccible, so we would only assume that his spirits would be as well.  Because he's so concerned about minimal wood contact, Giard is using the largest casks he can find.

While he has since updated to a more modern still, all of the Calvados we were able to taste from Giard came from this tiny alambic still in his barn.  His spirits have a very fine, delicate flavor that he attributes to it.

Sitting down to taste was a real treat.  Giard had lined up numerous single vintage selections to taste and we plowed through them with glee.  Despite his usage of large barrels, we found some of the older Calvados to be quite woody and dry.  His 15-20 year selections were fantastic, however, and we really went bananas for a 1984 vintage that smelled of tart apples and nutty almonds, with a lean, almost single malt-like sweetness on the palate. 

So what should you expect to see in a few months time?  We haven't made our final selections yet, but here's what I have on my shortlist at the moment:

1973 Pellehaut Tenereze Armagnac - Bourbon-esque aromas of vanilla and new wood, loads of fruit and caramel on the palate with prunes, toasted almonds, and barrel spice.  Earthy finish with big time length.  A real winner.

1987 Pellehaut Tenereze Armagnac - Rich and supple fruit right off the bat, subtle sweetness, glides across the palate with perfect balance of fruit and an almond skin flavor, very accessible and sure to be a big hit.

1985 Baraillon Bas-Armagnac - Wow! Amazing aromatics - stewed fruits, sandlewood, port-like richness with toffee and nuts on the palate, a long, warming wave right over the tongue with an exotic, lengthy finish.  One of the best Armagnacs we've tasted.  Think Glenrothes from the same vintage.

1900 Baraillon Bas-Armagnac - This won't be cheap (think $1000 a bottle) but man is it good.  Loads of rich, spicy wood, tons of fruit and spice, and absolutely delicious.  Anyone who wants to shell out will not be disappointed.  This is just an old demijohn from 112 years ago sitting in some rural farmer's barn!

1989 Domaine de Lassaubatju Bas-Armagnac - Very whiskey-like, with a warming richness of wood and fruit and a concentrated blast of almonds on the back.  The finish is lean and spicy with pencil wood and a Bourbon like finish.  Hints of Buffalo Trace Single Oak stuff. 

1988 Domaine de Lassaubatju Bas-Armagnac - Dried apricot aromas with vanilla and new oak, more rounded in its flavor profile, beautiful nutty finish.  A no brainer.

2000 Domaine d'Ognoas Bas-Armagnac - nose is pencil wood, graphite, and marzipan with cocoa on the palate and long, dry, spicy finish.  What a deal!  This should come in at less than $60.

Raymond Ragnaud Reserve Rare Grand Champagne Cognac - gentle richness on the entry, but concentrated flavors of toasted nuts, stonefruit and bits of caramel.  Wonderfully elegant, yet potent.  Something fun and new for our Cognac selection.

1988 Raymond Ragnaud Vintage Grand Champagne Cognac - maple syrup on the nose with a soft, but warming palate that moves slowly with deep concentrated richness.  A long and beautiful finish.

Esteve XO Petit Champagne Cognac (1979 single barrel cask strength) - the nose has pencil wood and baking spices, with an unreal palate of dark chocolate, almonds, and damp earth.  The finish is big, explosive, and woody with hints of candied citrus peel.  WOW!  Wow.  Give us the whole barrel!

Esteve Coup de Coeur Petit Champagne Cognac - a blend of 79 and 81.  Soft citrus on the nose, good complex character of wood and fruit, with more than just richness.  Fine and elegant finish with nutty flavors.  A real bargain.

Adrien Camut 15 year Pays d'Auge Calvados (K&L exclusive) - there is no 15 year release from Camut so this would be a first.  Smooth, juicy apple flavors, an ungodly balance of wood to add richness, and a haunting finish.  There's no amount of this I can't sell. 

1984 Domaine de Giard Pays d'Auge Calvados - lovely tart apple fruit with nutty almonds and fantastic length.  Almost single malt like at times with a somewhat grainy sweetness.  Very good.

-David Driscoll