Taiwan: Day 1 – Kavalan Continued

Before heading into the distillery proper this morning, we gathered in a UN-style conference room to watch a short film about the King Car Company. No precursor could have been more appropriate to start the Kavalan experience. Many of us were giggling throughout the introduction; not because we were mocking the video, but because of how completely unpretentious the presentation was. There was not one trace of irony in any of the explanations concerning King Car's advances in pesticides, or the increase in food safety measures. Every aspect of King Car was detailed and given with complete admiration, even though much of the information was completely out of touch with what's currently trendy in the American spirits market. There was no talk about "handcrafting" or "small batch" production, and no mention of "hands-on" care. The automatized aspects of Kavalan Distillery were points of pride, not humor. Efficiency is key in Taiwan, just as it is in Scotland, but there's no attempt to romanticize the process. Quality is in the details, as it should be. After four years of complete rusticity, I found this utterly refreshing. The film made me so happy, that when we finally met with Ian in front of the entrance, I shook his hand and said, "Great video, man. Absolutely great." He was all smiles, as usual.

That's not to say that Kavalan is a distillery run completely by computers and robots, because it isn't. There are twenty guys there just working with cooperage, which is more than some distilleries in Scotland employ for an entire week's shift. The Taiwanese are proud of their technological advances and don't feel the need to remain rustic just because that's what's cool right now. In fact, I don't think they even realize that's what's cool right now. Do you know how wonderful it is to visit a producer completely lacking in pretense? It's incredible. That's Kavalan in a nutshell: completely honest and straightforward without any hipster chip on its shoulder. 

In a lot of ways, Kavalan reminds me of a combination of Caol Ila and Port Ellen; the way the distillery looks and feels. It's modern and mechanical like Caol Ila and the placement of floor-to-ceiling windows opposite the pot stills is very reminiscent of the way the Islay giant faces Jura in the distance. We were able to taste the new-make whisky off the still and I was taken aback by how fruit-forward it was. Since 2005, Kavalan has employed a long 60 hour ferment (much like Oban), helping to bring out the fruity elements of the whisky.

The pagodas are very Port Ellen-esque. Except instead of a cold Islay port next to it there are tropical mountains.

I'll probably end up doubling-back and getting more technical about the distillation process, but to me the most important aspect of Kavalan's flavor is the cooperage and the warehouse conditions at the site. They use a five floor warehouse to create different temperatures, resulting in various speeds of maturation. It's part of the reason they've had so much success with their fino sherry expression; a type of cask that Bowmore distillery gave up on after thirty years of lackluster results. Scotland simply doesn't get warm enough to release that delicate fino flavor upon the whisky aging inside the barrel. The intense and humid heat of Taiwan, on the other hand, seems to bring out the best in certain sherry butts.

That's part of the reason the fifth floor of the warehouse (where the temperature often reaches 108 degrees) is called "the church." Partly because the vaulted ceiling resembles a cathedral and partly because miracles seem to happen inside the sherry butts resting in this room. We were able to taste fino sherry-aged whisky straight from the cask. It was indeed heavenly.

King Car's convention center brings more than one million vistors per year, making Kavalan distillery a heavily-trafficked tourist attraction. They have a gigantic tasting area with every expression available for a very small fee. With the neon lights and vibrant colors, it resembles nothing like an old-school distillery or a low-lit Scottish pub. 

What's happening at Kavalan is distinctly Taiwanese, from the incredibly pure water being sourced from the nearby Snow Mountains, to the manner in which the distillery is presented and operated. It's not simply Scottish single malt being made in Asia. There's something deeper going on.

I'm going to dwell on this idea a bit more. 

-David Driscoll


Taiwan: Day 1 – Kavalan Compound

I woke up to a hazy, humid, tropical morning at the Kavalan distillery. We got in super late last night after an hour and a half drive from the Taipei airport (which I slept through most of). It was impossible to see much out the window as we landed--a typhoon in the area made the weather a bit rough--and I was too exhausted to do anything other than fall face-first into my pillow when we got here. I crawled out of bed around 6 AM, opened the shade to my bedroom window, and saw the distillery in the distance; the lush mountains lingering in the distance.

Kavalan distillery is really just part of a much larger facility operated by the King Car Company. They make all kinds of other products here including breakfast drinks, coffee, even soap. The entire convention center is located at the base of the hills with what looks like rainforest beyond it. If I didn't know I was in Taiwan I might think I was in Columbia.

We're currently staying in the gigantic convention center that has private rooms, huge conference spaces, a full size theater complete with sound stage, a cafe, and a small restaurant area. Chris and I were both up early so we took a walk around the grounds before meeting the others for breakfast.

There are a number of barrels painted by various artists lining the walkway towards the main distillery.

Mr. Brown's Coffee is also made on site and, let me tell you, after finishing a few cups it's clear that Mr. Brown knows what he's doing.

There are gardens everywhere around the main square.

And even a vineyard tucked in between the distillery building and the mountains. We're getting ready to go on a tour shortly, then we'll head into Taipei for more sight-seeing. I'll be back later with more.

-David Driscoll


In Between Days

We just took off from SFO; moving north over the city across the Golden Gate, hugging the coastline until it was time to hang a left. It was an odd feeling, to say the least. I’ve never flown over the Pacific (not even to Hawaii), so when the plane just kept heading West, over the expansive mass of blue, it finally hit me that we were going to Japan. I met Chris Fu from Anchor at the airport a little after 10 A.M. this morning and we had some time to shoot the breeze. Both of us were so busy this week between our regularly-scheduled workloads, the work we needed to get done before leaving (I’ve been battling a fever on top of that), and the craziness of the World Series, that neither of us put much thought into this trip. We simply woke up this morning, put a few things in a suitcase, and had our wives drop us off at the terminal. Considering it’s going to be about 80 degrees in Taipai and around 50 degrees in Sapporo, we did need to coordinate our wardrobes a bit, but I’m surprised by how nonchalant I’ve been about leaving. It feels like any other day, to me. Maybe that’s what happens, however, when you do this type of thing for a living: you start taking it for granted, perhaps.

Continually-rising whisky sales are something that the industry has been taking for granted lately, but there were a few reports this week that Diageo put the breaks on their distillery expansions due to a less-than-stellar quarterly sales report. One minute they were building new distilleries like the future of single malt was certain, the next minute they’re canceling investments in that very future. You’ll hear various reasons as to why this is happening (the end of Chinese political gift-giving, the cyclical nature of whisky, booms and busts, etc), but really what you need to look at to understand healthy growth is consumption. How many people are actually drinking the whisky they’re buying these days? I don’t mean collectors who buy bottles to save or to flip down the road, I mean: how many people actually finish a bottle of whisky once they open it? With new limited edition releases coming practically every week, and the number of guys I know who buy every single one of them, I’m wondering how many people can actually ingest and consume all that hooch? More than likely what happens is a stockpiling of partially-drunk bottles until space becomes an issue. Either it becomes time to throw a giant party, give the leftovers away, or listen to your wife’s demands that you stop buying more whisky. The excitement being generated by the whisky industry right now is contagious; we want to taste and to know and to experience everything we read about. Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, however (or maybe our livers), and what really happens is: we buy, we open the bottle, we try a glass, and then we buy five more bottles before we’ve even put a dent in the last one. I know this because I am one of these people. But I also know this type of consumerism is happening on a larger scale because I communicate with thousands of others just like me on a daily basis.

My modest collection of bottles doesn’t bother me because I’m an equal opportunity drinker and eventually I’ll get around to finishing everything. I actually drink five times as much beer as I do whisky, and I drink ten times as much wine as I do beer. I usually do a beer after work (at work), a cocktail when I get home, a glass of wine with dinner, and maybe a shot of something after that. In my mind, that’s how the booze pyramid works: you’ve got all the food groups, which need to be consumed in certain proportions to maintain a balanced diet. I drink because I like to drink. This whole collectable, limited-edition whisky thing is just icing on my already-existing booze cake. But I know a lot of guys who drink only whisky because they’ve just discovered it. They didn’t drink that much of anything before and now—all of a sudden—they’re drinking whisky like it’s water. It’s become their life’s calling overnight. I have a feeling these drinkers have helped boost the whisky market over the last five years—the guys who are having fun with whisky just like they did following Phish around in college, or riding a skateboard in high school. It’s not a lifestyle they’re likely to maintain, however. It’s a fun phase that offers all kinds of hobbyistic (I just made that word up) pleasure, just like they felt when they were collecting baseball cards as a kid. Eventually all that shit goes into a shoebox, however, and life moves on into the next phase. You can’t depend on these drinkers to maintain this newly-found enthusiasm forever.

The in-flight meal on ANA is awesomeMy question is: what happens when all these guys decide that the whisky party is over? I wrote an article for this blog a few years ago begging people not to fall into that trap. As Americans we can’t help it sometimes. One minute we’re eating pizza every night, the next minute we’re running five miles a day and eating gluten free. Then we injure ourselves due to unhealthy overexertion and it’s back to the couch for more pizza. We like to “get into” stuff and, like Drake, we go from zero to a hundred—real quick. When I write posts like “Drinking to Drink”, I’m hoping to remind people that booze is there to get drunk (and to get you drunk). If you don’t plan on drinking it, then maybe you shouldn’t be buying it (unless you’re investing, of course). I’ve noticed a trend at K&L lately when it comes to buyer’s remorse. Wine guys hardly ever complain about a purchase that failed to deliver. They’ll bring back corked or spoiled bottles, of course, but that’s what they’re supposed to do. When a bottle of whisky doesn’t live up to expectations, however, the whisky guys will sometimes mope about it for days—if not weeks! It’s like their whole life has been ruined by one bad experience, which cannot be repeated at any cost. I was trying to figure out why that was, why an underwhelming bottle of whisky made people more upset than a lackluster bottle of wine (even though wine is often just as expensive), and then one of my co-workers provided the answer: It’s because they don’t finish it all at once. The bottle continues to sit there on their bar until they decide what to do with the rest of it. Wine drinkers just throw their empty bottle in the recycling and move on. Bingo! 

Because whisky can remain fresh and drinkable for years after being opened, there’s no worry about finishing what we purchase. That’s a perk that most whisky drinkers enjoy, knowing that they can slowly nurse these bottles over a long period of time. I enjoy whisky’s durability as well, but ultimately I find that if I don’t consume the bottles on my bar within the first few weeks I’ll eventually tire of their presence. To me, wine is so much more fun because I get to open a new bottle every night! Each day when I wake up there’s a new adventure waiting for me later that evening. It’s a more healthy (not in the literal sense) way of drinking that’s more maintainable for my lifestyle. I open a bottle, I finish a bottle, and then I move on. The guys who obsess over every ounce, who pour their bottles into half-bottles over time to reduce the amount of oxygen, and who try to hold on to every drop like a hoarder who won’t throw away a movie ticket stub from fourteen years ago, they can't maintain the industry. I don’t think there were many people treating whisky that way ten years ago, and I don’t think many of those guys will be drinking whisky with the same ferocity ten years from now. Maybe they will be. I don’t know for sure, obviously. But I find that people who take this whole whisky thing too seriously tend to burn out and drive themselves insane rather than enjoy it. They’ll shop at K&L every week like crazy, for months at a time, then I’ll never see them again. Poof! They’re gone. That’s not good for the longevity of the whisky industry. I’m not looking to create temporary customers and max out their credit cards until they completely quit drinking in general. That type of hyper-consumerism will ultimately burn this new cycle of whisky enthusiasm out faster than we can ever predict. Nevertheless, this type of consumer is currently part of the new market. Will they remain loyal whisky drinkers into the next one, however? Will they come back to buy the same bottle again? That’s the million dollar question.

When I go on booze trips (like the one I’m currently on), I’m always looking for answers to these larger issues. What are other cultures doing with their whisky? How are they drinking it? Why are they drinking it? What are their expectations and what do they want from their whisky experience? I’ve got seven days to find out if either Taiwan or Japan can provide any insight. The more I go on these excursions, the less interested I am in how other countries are making spirits, and the more interested I become in how they’re drinking them. It’s the quality of the consumption of whisky that I think many Americans are missing out on these days, rather than the quality of the whisky itself.

-David Driscoll


West into the East: Asia Preview

I was supposed to go on vacation with my wife a few weeks ago (we'd had a Paris trip lined up for months), but we had to cancel last minute when she hurt her knee. I was really in need of that break; the chance to unplug and get away for ten days, but there was no getting around it: she couldn't walk and Paris is no fun when you can't walk.

Instead of getting the rest I was hoping for, I went back and hunkered down with our depleted staff, holding fast on the Redwood City sales floor while some of our co-workers went down with their injuries and flu bugs. That's when my buddy Chris from Anchor Steam reached out to me and said, "Hey man, I heard you had to cancel your vacation. We're going to Taiwan and Japan at the beginning of November. Want to come with us instead?"

Hell motherfucking yes, I do.

I managed to get my days off moved up a few weeks, got all my work done before the deadline, and got a last minute ticket to Tokyo on the same flight as Chris out of SFO. It's going to be a helluva trip.

Tomorrow Chris and I will head to Taipei, via Tokyo, where Ian Cheng from Kavalan will pick us up and take us around. We'll tour the distillery, grab some food, and check out the Taiwanese sights before heading to Sapporo on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The folks from Nikka will be waiting for us there to show us the Yoichi distillery, before sending us southward on a flight to Sendai where we'll check out the Miyagikyo sight. From there, it's a bullet train back to Tokyo and a night out on the town before we head for home.

I'll have my camera, my computer, and my storytelling skills with me, so make sure to check back in with the blog each day. I won't be available to help you with your ordering, but I will be here to share my experiences. Let's just hope I can get a few hours of rest before we leave. It's going to be one hectic schedule!

-David Driscoll


New Batch of Signatory Whiskies

Our new boat of Signatory exclusives just landed at our warehouse in San Carlos and I've got all the info you'll need to make an educated buying decision right here in this blog post. You'll notice a theme this time around: SHERRY! We really went for the big butts (ha!) this time around, which is good for all of you because sherry casks hold a lot more whisky than hogsheads or Bourbon barrels. That means we have a healthy supply of bottles, which in turn means you can pour over the notes, take your time, and choose the whiskies that ultimately interest you the most. I've included below the original notes written by David OG and myself, as well as updated reviews after tasting these whiskies again today. Take a look and see what you think:

1988 Blair Athol 25 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $154.99 - Blair Athol, known mostly for its role in Bell's Blended, is finally starting to get some recognition as a single malt. Diageo is scheduling a rare expression of the distillery for its next limited release and tourists visiting Edradour in Pitlochry are stopping by the quaint distillery on their way out of town; usually with a positive experience to report back. We're purchased a couple of younger hogshead casks in the past, but during our last visit to Signatory we dug out this ancient sherry butt of 26 year old Blair Athol that really blew our minds. The sherry influence is still quite fresh in the whisky as layers of cakebread and Christmas spices come quickly on the entry. That holiday flavor profile then moves into a round, resinous fruit flavor that coats the palate, revealing brandied cherries and oily, earthier notes. It’s the entire package. We left the Signatory warehouse pretty excited about Blair Athol, driving by the distillery on our way out of Pitlochry. We're even more excited about this heavenly 26 year old expression now that it's here. And, trust us, when the word gets about it won't be here long. This should be one of the first to go.

UPDATE 10/31/14: First off, I had to fix the age statement. We always assume we'll hit the next year in maturation; however, in this case the whisky was distilled in October, but bottled in September. So 25 years and 11 months, but not quite 26. Secondly, this is a first fill sherry butt, not a refill. It's big and dark and intense sherry. At 61.2%, this is a beast of a sherry butt, in the vein of Glendronach and Glenfarclas. It has that subtle mix of earth and cake on the nose with a bit of burnt sugar underneath. The palate is more of the same, and the finish is just big, fat sherry all night long. It's spicy sherry, though, not sweet sherry. The proof just kills any chance of sweetness. Water helps to release oils, creamy elements, and cuts out some of that heat so you can get into the malty center. Top notch whisky for slam dunk price. Can you imagine what 25 year old Macallan or Glendronach would cost at full proof? This is the star of the lineup. You buy this one first, and everything else second.

2001 Bowmore 12 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $99.99 - We absolutely killed it with the '02 Hogshead at 46% this year, but we're not done with Bowmore. This distillery is cranking out the most magnificent malt and Signatory gets these amazing high quality butts. This is more consistent with the house style than the last cask, bringing the nutty sherry slightly more to the foreground. It's a stark reminder that Bowmore should be considered one of Scotland's greatest distilleries. Treat this with the reverence it deserves and this whisky will make you feel like you're the special one instead of the other way around.

UPDATE 10/31/14: For some reason we had this listed at 14 years of age, but it's a 12 year old. This one we did at full proof rather than 46% like the last barrel. The 59.1% is key to bringing out the best in this Bowmore. It's so powerful that the peat almost turns into that medicinal note, which is surprising given the level of richness from the refill sherry. It's nothing at all like the other Bowmore we brought in a few months back though. That was all campfire smoke and lazy vanilla, perfect for sipping on a cold winter evening. This is all high-tone phenolic notes with just a bit of sweet sherry that quickly explodes into something beyond all of those elements. It finishes entirely differently from where it begins. Bowmore collectors will be stoked.

1990 Bruichladdich 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $159.99 - Clearly, we went a little Refill Sherry crazy this year, but how could we resist. We been tasting this special cask every year since we first set foot in Signatory's wonderful warehouses and we finally felt that it had reached it's true peak. Bruichladdich is probably pretty soar that they don't own this cask because it's the perfect example of the unpeated Islay Malt. This hits every note without skipping a beat (while skipping the peat). The perfect amount of ripe round malty spice mixed with zesty citrus fruit. An ever so subtle oceany brine. The subtle nutty oxidative quality of the second fill sherry maturation. It's a gem and will likely go down as one of our most re-purchased casks (those Bruichladdich fans are loyal after all).

UPDATE 10/31/14: This one also needed a quick fix from 24 to 23 years and 10 months. Not quite 24, but close. Rather than fresh sherry, we have a refill which is really what Bruichladdich needs: just a bit of sweetness to help accent the salty goodness. In this case, it works like utter magic. There's a kiss of rich caramel on the initial sip, but the back end goes more towards the fruit and sea salt. It's absolutely charming and, if I were to do a blind tasting of all these whiskies, I think I would have chosen this first. There's something just perfect about the flavor profile. It's everything I want from single malt. This is right there with the Blair Athol. 54.8% ABV.

1997 Glen Ord 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $79.99 - We went crazy for a few casks from 1997 this year and this Glen Ord is top of the top. Classic oily Ord, with tons of wonderful unusual malt flavors. It's a goofy little whisky that shows all kinds of wild flavors. Tart white fruit on the nose, white cherries (do those exist?), linseed, wild flowers, waxed apples -not wax apples- the finest plum eau-de-vie. That aromatic fruit continues on the palate but is pointed by a spice that's not altogether oaky. This one is for the real "malt nuts." You know who you are.

UPDATE 10/31/14: We wanted this as comparison to the other 1997 barrels we bought so folks could do a horizontal. Glen Ord is a distillery that we don't see much of and we usually like it (partially because of the exotic nature of drinking Glen Ord). This is more subtle and less-pronounced than the other casks on this list. There's a lot of straight-forward sweetness and soft fruit, but it will take a discerning drinker to appreciate the nuance. It's worth having if you've never had Glen Ord, but it will probably get lost in the shuffle. That's fine, though, because there are easily 272 guys who will really enjoy this bottle. 58.3% makes this a great rocks whisky.

1995 Glenburgie 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $89.99 - Signatory has an incredible selection of barrels from the mid-to-late 1990s; a number of 16-20 year old whiskies from less-appreciated distilleries that simply shine. We've already released a number of them to the pubic (Benrinnes, Glen Ord, Dailuaine), but this marks the first time we've ever purchased a cask from Glenburgie distillery; the Speyside distillery owned by Pernod-Ricard that has been periodically shutdown when not needed (most recently from 2000-2004). Few whisky drinkers, if any, expect greatness from Glenburgie, but we wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't taste every cask! In this 19 year old hogshead we found heady aromas of toasted oak and candied citrus, supple vanilla on the palate, and a spicy, fruit-forward finish that made us instantly crave a second sip. We don't usually argue about drinkable, delicious, 19 year old, cask strength whiskies for less than $100, but in this case the three of us couldn't agree: did we like it more or less than the Glenlivet 16? David D: yes! Kyle: no. David OG: unsure. In the end, we still bought it because it was too damn good to pass up. Especially for the money.

UPDATE 10/31/14: Again, this baby is as advertised. WOW....does it deliver on the finish. It starts out subtle enough with standard single malt flavor, but then BAM the richness just comes rolling through on the finish, bringing vanilla, oak spices, and rich malty flavor like "a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant", to quote Christmas Vacation. There's nothing out of the ordinary going on here, just really, really good Scotch. And, my God, is it really good Scotch. 54.9%

1997 Glenrothes 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $79.99 - Sherry-matured single malt is big right now and if you can get it at full proof, even better. Glenrothes has always been a fan-favorite at K&L for its chewy, meaty, full-bodied character and rich, supple profile, but lately more folks have been heading for the Aberlour A'Bunadh due to the higher ABV. We thought: why not combine the best of both worlds? Why not buy a sherry cask of Glenrothes at nearly 60% alcohol and give the people what they want? Even better: let's double the age! Let's do a monster 17 year old refill sherry cask and bring all that chewy, cakey goodness for all those sherry-heads out there. And the price! Let's make sure it's no more than $79.99. Can we do that? Well, we just did. Classic sherry-aged Glenrothes at full proof for about eighty bucks. Sound OK?

UPDATE 10/31/14: This is everything we advertised in the notes. 55.4% big funky sherry action. There's that little bit of sulphur that will need to blow off (and it does), but I actually enjoy that personally. The fruit comes out when you go back, but this is simply a powerhouse sherry butt that does everything you want it to do. If you like Glenrothes, this is definitely your bag.

1998 Mortlach 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $99.99 - Can we keep the Mortlach momentum rolling? It seems that ever since we released that amazing sherry butt of Mortlach from Chieftain's all those years ago, we've been riding a wave of Mortlach enthusiasm for the sherry-aged Speyside beast. Diageo even released their own single malt version (maybe we had something to do with that, eh?) We're always on the lookout for more Mortlach, especially sherry-aged barrels, and it turns out that Signatory had a sherry-finished butt sitting in their Pitlochry location just there for the taking. The first sip is all you need to get excited: lots of gingerbread, cinnamon, holiday cookie goodness just explodes on the palate, with cakey, sherry flavor rounding out the back end. At full proof, it's as much of a beast as ever. But the fact that this cask was simply finished in sherry, rather than aged in the sweet wine from day one, is a big benefit. The maltiness of the whisky is still there at the core and the finish still sings of whisky. It's going to be a big hit; especially for $99.99.

UPDATE 10/31/14: So this guy started as a couple of hogsheads and was then finished in a sherry butt. You can tell because there's a lot of oak action on the nose, almost Bourbon-like with pencil lead, but then morphing into stonefruit. The sherry turns on however in the mid-palate, but as we saw with the Bruichladdich it only highlights the fruit. Holy shit, this is tasty. Lots of sweet apricot and pear notes, but like they were dipped in a bit of cocoa. I'm going back in again and there's another wave of sweet baking spices that washes over the finish. Wow, this is good. 667 bottles, so don't worry about it selling out too fast. 55.8%.

1995 Imperial 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $84.99 - Ok, so it turns out we are bringing you a rare closed distillery bottling after all, it's just not from a distillery anyone has ever heard! I'm totally in love with this odd little distillery, which was dismantled and eventually demolished in 2013. Plans to build a news distillery are in the works -what a waste- but nothing will be quite like the fine old gentlemen that was the Imperial distillery. This cask was the best of several excellent ones we found in the warehouse. Bone dry, with concentrated nutty flavors, it's fully bodied and lushes to the max. It's not altogether unphenolic, with a slight earthy smoke in the background. Incredibly complex and deep, not the sort of whisky you can evaluate in a mere few moments, so be sure to let this one breath in the glass. Give it time and let it expand before you. Perhaps my favorite bottling in this batch and look at the price.

UPDATE 10/31/14: This is just an updated version of a cask we bought a few years back. This one is both older and better. It's just everything you want: oily, resinous, fat-fruited, waxy, chewy, viscous, but never sweet. There's a bit of a tropical element on the finish, but it turns into something almost phenolic instead. Layers, upon layers, upon layers. 52.7% is perfect, so you don't need water. Imperial is no longer in operation, so there's a bit of a collectability factor here as well. One hot price. This is like cask strength Glenmorangie 18 (but for less!).

-David Driscoll