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

10/29 - Redwood City: Alexander Murray Single Malts

11/5 - San Francisco: Alexander Murray Single Malts

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

1988 Blair Athol 26 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2001 Bowmore 13 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1990 Bruichladdich 24 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glen Ord 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glenburgie 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glenrothes 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1998 Mortlach 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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


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 SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


1997 Benrinnes 17 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


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!


Monday
Mar122012

Odds and Ends

I've been getting my body into shape for Spring after absolutely decimating it in France last January.  Six mile runs, four times a week with a shorter 5K jaunt thrown in there as well.  Drinking for a living will tax your corporal well-being if you're not careful.  There are too many opportunities to completely turn yourself over to the Dionysian elements and go wild in a Jim Morrison-like flurry of debauchery.  As Ice Cube would say, it's important to check yourself before you wreck yourself - exercise is my way of doing so.  Drinking and exercise can completely co-exist, you just have to discipline yourself a bit.  In fact, I actually enjoy my liquor more if I've done something to earn it, i.e. start the day off with long run. 

When I'm in training mode, I tend to drink less, so I've had less to write about lately regarding my experiences.  Recently, however, we've been holding back a bit due to some inter-retail spying.  Let me state again, as I have in the past, that David OG and I have absolutely no idea what other liquor stores are up to.  I know about other liquor stores, that they exist and such, but I have no idea who works there or who runs their liquor departments (except for Amy and Amanda at Cask because they're very nice, they're down the street from our SF store, and we run in the same circle from time to time).  With all the possibilities for creativity and entrepreneurship in this business, I don't see the need to check on the competition - I love working in our stores and with our customers too much to worry about others.  Our internal focus, however, doesn't seem to be the overall trend in the business.  I won't get into specifics, but we've been pushing the envelope again recently and it seems that another store caught word of it and got a little nosy.  I got a phone call from someone who works with other stores, asking me how it is we're doing what we're doing.  No comment. 

There is such a thing as overload - too much, too fast.  We have so many projects in the works right now that it wouldn't make much sense to bombard everyone with an unobtainable amount of booze all at once.  However, yes, there are some secret projects that are almost ready to be revealed.  We can't offer everything for pre-order because who wants to constantly pay for everything in advance?  Some things need to arrive before we inform people about their existence.  Since we're almost there, however, I'll give you all quick glimpse at what we'll be seeing in the next two weeks at K&L:

- Two new items under our own Faultline label - a gin from St. George and a 21 year old single malt from Cragganmore, single barrel cask strength.

- Two sherry butts from Brora and Clynelish, bottled by Chieftain's. 

- A new cask of Four Rose's bourbon, followed by a new Buffalo Trace barrel, followed by our first 1792 Ridgemont Bourbon cask.

- Some old and rare selections, including some 1948 bottles of Old Fitzgerald (Pappy made by Pappy!)

Once March Madness is over, get ready for the following:

- TONS of new Armagnac expressions, then Cognac, imported exclusively for K&L.

- A single cask of Willett 20 year old - the last of the SW juice.

Later this summer there will be some big surprises - many casks coming to K&L from some countries we've never imported from before.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Mar092012

Just In Time For St. Paddy's Day

This will sell fast.  We have a big email going out in about an hour, so this gives all you blog readers the headstart.

Redbreast 12 Year Old Cask Strength Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey $59.99 - Voted best Irish whiskey of the year by Whiskey Advocate Magazine with a 96 point review, this new and improved version of our most popular Irish malt is here just in time for St. Patty's day!  Gushing in their review, the Advocate writes: "A rich, bittersweet plummy, red berry, oaky-spiced delight, the increased strength gives an already great whiskey a richer, fuller, fruitier dimension, and makes an already complex whiskey even more complex. For me that makes it not just the best Irish whiskey of this year, but of any. An utter joy."  We couldn't agree more.  Redbreast has already become the go-to choice for serious Irish whiskey fans, but the new cask strength version only improves upon a malt that was already considered perfect.  The extra proof also allows rocks drinkers to cool down the malt without completely watering down the flavor.  Supply will be limited and demand has been through the roof so far.  We've had folks asking about this for months, so don't hesitate.  The price is fantastic and the quality is superb. Is it the best Irish whiskey ever?

Personally, I'm not really looking for cask strength with my Irish.  However, if you like the Redbreast as a highball, the cask strength really helps retain the flavor through any dillution via the ice.  Grab it while you can!

- David Driscoll

Thursday
Mar082012

Kyle Kurani's Weekly Update

(Video is now available - no longer on private setting as it was earlier)

Kyle Kurani knows his booze.  He's the guy who keeps the Redwood City floor in check.  He tastes everything I taste and has a knack for helping customers find the perfect bottle of whisky.  He's got a lot to talk about, but he doesn't always have time to write down those thoughts for this blog.  I thought it might be helpful to start videotaping him while he's filling carts, gleaning a bit of his take on things while he's in a thoughtful state of mind.  I'm hoping to make this a weekly thing - Kyle has a lot to add to our spirits department and I think everyone would benefit by hearing perspective from a new and motivated source.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Mar062012

More News Tidbits

Here are a few newsworthy items from today's run at the store:

- We'll be bringing in a handful of new whiskies tomorrow - some actual bargains!  If you're looking for something cheap, delicious, and affordable, then we've finally got some new options at your disposal.  The new Concannon Irish Whisky distilled by Cooley and finished in California Petite Syrah barrels will be $16.99, something far better than Jameson that actually costs about the same.  We'll also have Sazerac's new Royal Canadian for $19.99, a veritable steal when you think about how soft, smooth, and drinkable this baby is.  Sazerac's other project, the 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon, distilled over at the old Tom Moore distillery is also coming back at a reasonable $26.99.  I've been very impressed with their new distillates - so much so that I bought an entire barrel!  We'll have that in soon enough.  In the meantime, try out the regular bottling if you've never gone that route.  Another deal of a Bourbon is the new John B. Stetson Kentucky Bourbon for $24.99, an independently bottled 86 proof drinker that's goes down way too easily.  Soft, light, with loads of baking spices, this is a great addition to the whiskey drinker's bar.  All of these are set for delivery tomorrow.

- I tasted a couple of new Hart Brother's Single Malt offerings this afternoon and was particularly impressed with their Glen Scotia 16 Year Old Single Sherry Barrel for $96.99.  Glen Scotia is one of those distilleries whose whisky either completely sucks, or shocks you because it doesn't.  This new Hart Brother's obviously falls into the latter.  Affectionately known as the "other Campbeltown distillery," Glen Scotia can also be rich and peaty, but it usually tastes rather dirty as well.  Luckily this bottling captures this distillery on one of its better days, which I actually find compelling.  It's like seeing your favorite, drunken, drug-addicted rock band making it through an entire set without messing up.  Smoky residue, oily and earthy undertones riddle this softer, more supple sherry-influenced malt.  Definitely worth trying out if you've never ventured into the Loch Lomand pool.  Also due in tomorrow.

- Tastings tomorrow!  Wednesday, as you all know, is spirits tasting day at K&L.  Free booze from 5 PM to 6:30 at the Redwood City and San Francisco stores.  We'll have Glenfarclas pouring their single malts in SF, while Laphroaig gets smoky down in RWC. 

That's it for tonight.  I hope you're all nursing one of our new Sovereign casks somewhere out there.  I can't get enough of them right now.  I'm nipping on the Girvan, loving the grains over rocks.

Nighty night.

-David Driscoll

Monday
Mar052012

Scattered Thoughts

The halflight of the late afternoon is permeating my apartment, giving the 80's new-wave I have pumping through my computer speakers a nostalgic glow that makes me sentimental.  It's either the music, or the gin that's making me completely relaxed and content in this moment - perhaps a combination of the two.  I've been making recipes from David Chang's Momofuku book all day, whipping up batches of ginger-scallion sauce and red dragon paste as I sip from the martini glass.  I'm all over the place right now - the perfectly scattered mindset I sometimes require to pump out an interesting blog post.  Here's the scoop:

- I didn't post about our second day at the UWE because there wasn't much more to tell.  We hit the workshops and visited with people mostly.  I've spoken with a few K&L customers who also attended and so far the feedback has been overwelmingly positive.  Much like we heard from last years participants, the UWE experience is incredible as long as you're alright with the entrance fee.  Some of our customers are already booking next year's trip. 

- David OG and I did attend the Springbank seminar on Saturday, which was a blast.  We went through several Longrow, Hazelburn, and older Springbank whiskies while hearing about the distillery itself.  I took more joy out of watching the room marvel in the experience than I did in participating myself.  Springbank is such an amazing distillery and I wish everyone could visit to see how fantastic their model is.  The whiskies simply tower over other malts.

- Speaking of Springbank, two quick pieces of news - starting in 2013 they hope to source all, or at least a majority, of their whisky from local farmers.  That means every whisky from then on would be a "local barley" release.  That's f-ing insane.  I hope they can pull it off.  Another quick factoid - they have halted their single barrel program.  This means that the 13 year old Bourbon cask and the 14 year old Madeira cask are the last two barrels we'll be able to source direct from the distillery.  Snatch those up while you still can. They're going to need all their whisky for official bottlings starting now.

- Back to the martini I've been slowly ingesting over the last twenty minutes - wowee wow!  The Faultine Gin is freaking delicious in a well-mixed martini.  I need to start tinkering with a negroni next.  Dave Smith, distiller for St. George, really out did himself.  He made a gin that might out-do his own official creations.  Dave, you're not supposed to make superior products for retailers!  You need to save those for St. George!  I cannot wait for this gin to drop.  You're all going to crap your pants.  This martini is concentrated with wonderful herbal flavors.

- Bruichladdich has come through with a replacement barrel for our Chenin Blanc catastrophy!  Simon met with David OG and myself at the UWE this past weekend and we went through some candidates.  There was a Jurancon wine barrel finish, a Calvados aged malt, and some other red wine-enhanced possibilities, but ultimately the choice was clear right from the get-go - a peated whisky from 2003 that was originally meant for the Bruichladdich 3D3 Peated release.  It's beautiful and it will turn nine years old on April 12th.  I'm excited to get this into the store and help Bruichladdich continue their dominance.  I've really been impressed with all the post-2001 distillates from them.

- So where did the DOG and I taste these Bruichladdich samples?  Most of the wine casks were tasted at the Frank Marino dragqueen Divas show in the Imperial Palace.  What a fun time!  Scotch and Cher! We got a lot of work done.  If you're in Vegas, there's no beating $60 front row tickets with free drinks at the Frank Marino show. 

- Speaking of Vegas, I will be flying back just to eat at Lotus of Siam.  It's one of the best restaurants I've ever been to - anywhere.  Not expensive, either.  Just plain good.

Back to work tomorrow.  Lots to do.

-David Driscoll