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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!


Tuesday
Aug162011

National Rum Day

August 16th is national rum day and had I not been reading Wayne Curtis's And a Bottle of Rum I probably would have thought little of it.  Considering that rum is primarily made in the Caribbean and in South America, there seems to be little reason for Americans to celebrate it as nation.  I mean, why not have national sake day then?  However, the more I discover about the history of rum, the more surprised I become.  Like many others out there, I was predisposed to the idea that rye whiskey was the foundation of American distillation.  Old Potrero's 18th Century whiskey and other "frontier" style products have crafted the notion that to drink rye whiskey is to embrace our early American drinking habits.  While rye whiskey was certainly being distilled early on in the colonial era, grain was simply too valuable to waste on distillation.  These people needed rye for bread not booze!  However, the giant glut of molasses coming from the West Indies provided a cheap and effective product for the early settlers to ferment and then distill.  It was essentially a "trash product" - the remnants of sugar refining and "astoundingly cheap."  In response to the 156,000 gallons molasses that would arrive every six months just in Massachussets, settlers built distilleries as close as possible to the ports where ships from the Carrbbean would arrive.  The practice became very popular and Americans began drinking rum in gigantic amounts. According to Curtis, there were 159 rum distilleries in New England by the year 1763!  By 1770, the U.S. was importing 6.5 million gallons of molasses to feed the thirst for more rum!

Amazing.  Happy national rum day!  Drink some rum.  Celebrate our early drinking culture the right way!

-David Driscoll

Sunday
Aug142011

Whisky Wednesdays Start This Week

Now that we have our tasting license, we will be conducting free spirits tastings every Wednesday at the RWC store!  Our San Francisco license is still pending, but we plan to begin there as well as soon as the papers are cleared.  This coming Wednesday will feature some of the interesting products from Glenglassaugh distillery, a Highland legend that was recently brought back from the dead.  Mothballed from 1986 to 2009, the new ownership has put out several curious young whiskies in the meantime, as well as some drop-dead gorgeous aged expressions. We're trying to get a bottle of something older for the tasting.  If we manage to do so, you wont want to miss it.  We will be pouring three products over all between 5 PM and 6:30.  Free of charge to anyone who wants to stop by!

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Aug132011

LEGAL TASTINGS @ K&L START NOW!

LET'S DO THIS! More info to come.

-David Driscoll 

Saturday
Aug132011

Buffalo Trace Single Oak Tasting Notes

While we are not able to offer these bottles to customers due to their extremely limited quantity, I was able to secure one set of the first twelve releases from Buffalo Trace’s highly anticipated single oak project.  I definitely admire what BT is doing because as a whisk(e)y geek it’s absolutely fascinating – different bourbons being aged in barrels made from different parts of the tree, along with several other variables that all affect the flavor differently.  They even have a website you can visit after you’ve tasted your bottle where you can leave your own personal feedback in exchange for the DNA info of each whiskey.  It’s an ingenious way to get people involved in an education discussion of the product as well as obtaining valuable feedback from interested consumers.  There’s just one gigantic problem – they didn’t make enough.  

Even though the whiskies have been diluted to 45% and packaged in 375ml half bottles, there are still precious few of these whiskies available (when I finally logged into the BT website to leave my reviews there were only about ten to fifteen others – that’s nothing!) Each barrel is unique so imagine trying to supply the world’s demand out of one single cask! Tasting any one bottle on its own is meaningless because the goal is to understand them in conjunction with one another, so selling these single bottles as individual pieces was pointless. However, giving them all to one customer would be unfair as well as superfluous – these need to be analyzed in a group! I decided the only thing to do was buy the one set myself, call up seventeen friends, colleagues, and customers to split the cost, and divide the bottles up evenly.  That way we allow the maximum amount of people to taste each bottle side-by-side as intended.

I recently finished my tasting session of all twelve and have rather mixed emotions concerning these bourbons.  While I find each of them fascinating for what they are, I wouldn’t call any of them great or even worthwhile as a purchase.  I loved tasting them and I will definitely buy the next set to do the same activity, but had I purchased these to drink and enjoy over time, I would have been gravely disappointed. Anyone thinking that they’ve missed out on the world’s greatest bourbon, fear not – these are far from a finished product, in my opinion.  Others seem to agree because the average rating for most of these whiskies on the actual Single Oak website is around 70% which is a C- if I'm interpreting the scoring system correctly.  Below are my tasting notes if anyone cares to read.  All the whiskies in this group are eight years of age and the barrels were all toasted at #4 char.

Barrel #3 (top tree cut, rye mash) – all-spice, pencil shavings on the nose with vanilla, very peppery, resinous, and bright on the palate, finish is more pencil shavings and wood, very assertive

Barrel #35 (top tree cut, wheat mash) – brandied fruits on the nose with toasted wood and vanilla, an herbal, drying palate with toasted nuts, ashy finish

Barrel #68 (bottom tree cut, rye mash) – rich honey aromas blend into graphite with salted caramel.  Slightly sweet on the palate with balanced richness, vanilla, and sandlewood.  Saw dust on the finish,

Barrel #164 (bottom tree cut, wheat mash) – furniture store varnish with pencil lead aromas, green flavors, little richness if any, hints of grain, lean and lacking.

Barrel #99 (top tree cut, wheat mash) – unripe bananas on the nose with vanilla and Cognac, fatter textures and more developed flavors, spice and pepper on the finish

Barrel #4 (bottom tree cut, rye mash) – richer, more vanilla with sawdust underneath on the nose, supple palate with bolder wood flavors, green, vegetal, bitter on the finish.

Barrel #131 (top tree cut, rye mash) – green bananas with pencil shavings, paint thinner and Seagrams 7 on the palate, then all spice with a sandy, dusty finish.

Barrel #67 (tope tree cut, rye mash) graphite, pencil lead aromas with faint vanilla, good baking spices with supple richness on the palate, herbal and resinous finish.

Barrel #100 (bottom tree cut, wheat mash) ­– candy peanut aromas with oak, rich more balanced palate with salted notes, balanced and lengthy finish.

Barrel #36 (bottom tree cut, wheat) – Payday candy bar aromas, nougat, sweet spices, nice vanilla notes on the palate, glowing with honey on the finish

Barrel #132 (bottom tree cut, rye) – brown sugar and molasses aromas, totally different than of the others on the nose, nutty, sherry flavors on the palate, tobacco finish.

Barrel #163 (top tree cut, wheat) – Baby Ruth aromas, black pepper and earthy must on the palate, faint richness but roars to a bold, spicy finish.

I tasted all twelve at the store with my assistant Kyle and we both felt that there was an overwhelming woodiness to all of these, but not new oak or vanilla.  Most had a sawdust, pencil shavings, graphite, sandlewood element to them so I wonder where that’s coming from.  Overall a great experience and I look forward to the next batch!

-David Driscoll

Friday
Aug122011

K&L Spirits Podcast #16 - The Davids Talk Barrel Buying - Part 1

It's been a while since we've done some audio!  Now that we've finally secured all of our casks from Scotland, we thought we'd break down the list and talk about each of the 18 total barrels.  Listen to a few stories, tasting notes, and distillery information from our romp through the Celtic heartland.  To download click on the link here or visit our iTunes site.  For a complete list of previous podcasts please go to the link on the right hand margin.  You can also listen via our embedded player below.