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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
May312011

Appreciating What's Around You

I went to college in San Diego.  There's probably some great beaches, wonderful restaurants, lovely hikes, and interesting culture there, but I couldn't tell you.  I spent most of my time in my apartment playing video games, smoking cigarettes, and eating Domino's pizza.  When I graduated I left because I was bored.  Later on of course I felt the pangs of regret as I cleaned myself up, lost the pizza weight, and quit smoking.  "All the opportunities I wasted!" I still think sometimes.  For that reason, I want to stress to everyone living in Northern California: Do not take what we have for granted!

I decided to open two bottles of local wine last night because, although I taste many domestic wines as part of our staff training program, I show little enthusiasm beyond what's necessary - and that's a shame.  It's a shame because, while I'm geeking out for the French Arbois or a small Burgundy plot, there really are many outstanding wines close by that we have access to.  I could visit these places on the weekends, take a drive to Sonoma, enjoy the landscape and its inherent beauty, but I don't.  No longer.  I will not relive my college apathy!!

It's not just wine either.  We've got St. George distillery, Charbay, Germain-Robin, Old World Spirits, and others still making their mark.  You can visit these places and sample their products, see how they're made, and embrace the local community.  When I traveled extensively through Europe as a young adult, I found all cultures enjoying and taking pride in their local wines and spirits.  Yet, here I sit, ignoring so many outstanding local vintners, lusting after products from afar that have no special importance or significance in my life. 

I vow to appreciate my Northern California alcohol community now by learning more about the wines from this region.  I work in the best wine store on the West Coast, located in NorCal, but I can't tell you details about the local wines?  That's pathetic.  No More!!

-David Driscoll

Monday
May302011

Vermouth & Amaro Tasting in SF Thursday

Beginning at 5 PM and lasting until 6:30 I will be in the SF tasting bar to sample ALL of the best wine-based spirits in stock.  Veteran SF bartender Todd Smith will also be on hand to help describe how to mix these enticing elixers.  For a mere $5 you get to taste these outstanding products:

Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambery $13.99 - The standard dry for the SF cocktail scene

Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambery $13.99 - The standard blanc for the SF cocktail scene

Dolin Rouge Vermouth de Chambery $13.99 - The standard rouge for the SF cocktail scene

Cocchi Aperitivo Americano $18.99 - This is a low alcohol, wine-based aperitif that does what so few purported aperitif's seem to do: it enlivens your palate and your appetite. What a concept! This is the original Americano, produced without a break in the Piedmontese town of Asti since 1891 and made according to an entirely natural recipe, which includes white wine aromatized with many herbs and spices, and no artificial coloring, flavoring or additive of any kind. It is produced in limited quantities and matured for a year before being put on sale. Serve chilled in a tumbler or in an appropriate glass with a twist of orange peel and if desired, ice cubes. A splash or soda is indispensable to make the full aroma and perfume come out at their best.

Cocchi Barolo Chinato $46.99 - Pronounced key-knot-o. To begin with, this specialized wine product will not appeal to every wine drinker out there. But for those of us with mature palates, and those who appreciate the natural flavoring agent that gives tonic water its distinctive bite (quinine), a glass of Cocchi's Barolo chinato is not a vinous experience you're likely to soon forget! In addition to quinine bark, rhubarb, gentian and a final addition of somewhat secreted spices, including cardamom seed, are added to this pleasantly bitter tipple, which ranks up there with Fernet Branca as the world's best digestivo.  Expensive due to the high-quality Barolo wine used to make it!

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino $19.99 - the newest sweet vermouth on the scene, brimming with character and cola flavors!

Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth $25.99 - From the Italian producer of Punt e Mes, a sweet vermouth, comes the Carpano Antica, a special, high-end, red vermouth. Smoother and not nearly as sweet as the Punt e Mes, the Carpano Antica can be served as an aperitivo, a digestivo or as a component of your favorite cocktail such as a Manhattan or Negroni.

Cardamaro Amaro $18.99 - This secret family recipe was developed over the last century by the Bosca Family.  Using Cardoon, Blessed Thistle, and several other botanicals, the Cardamaro is one of the most unique and interesting amaro currently available.  An absolutely fantastic price for a high quality, delicious amaro and a fantastic gateway into this world of Italian bitters.

See you there!

-David Driscoll

Monday
May302011

Yet Another New Barrel Direct From Scotland!

This is another of the real gems from the trip.  One of the best whiskies we tried in Scotland, made even better by its collectable status!

1975 Banff K&L Exclusive 35 Year Old Duncan Taylor Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky PRE-ARRIVAL $199.99 - Getting to roam the warehouses of the Scottish Highlands, in search of forgotten treasures, was an experience that David OG and I will never forget.  Finding a hidden barrel from one of Scotland's most undervalued and unknown mothballed distilleries was just icing on the cake.  Banff was a Highland institution that was dismantled and demolished back in 1983.  Destined to become the next Brora or Port Ellen, malt enthusiasts are only now beginning to understand just what exactly we've been missing.  A good Banff whisky will usually exhibit some stong grainy notes, bright stone fruits, and a kick of vanilla on the finish.  The 35 year old single cask we found at the Duncan Taylor estate is the best Banff we've ever had the chance to taste. The initial flavors are saline and oily (think Clynelish at its best) before transitioning into a mouthfull of vanilla cream with cereal grain and white peach accents. The finish is ultra-delicate, almost transcendent in its grace, and at 45.2% there's no need to water it down.  Just sit back, pour, and enjoy one of the finest barrels we were lucky enough to stumble across.  Banff is gone and it will never produce any whisky again which adds to the collectability of the bottle, but you'll want to drink every drop of this, trust us. Along with the Ladyburn, this was one of the top whiskies from our trip, hands down.

-David Driscoll

Sunday
May292011

Heaven Hill Here We Come...

Hollywood & VineK&L Hollywood's first spirits tasting in over a year went off last night.  We finally found a great partner to host our events in their beautiful new restaurant Wood&Vine.  Despite the holiday weekend, we had a nice intimate crowd and some America's finest Bourbon and Rye.  The restaurant is lovely and we packed into the courtyard to taste as the sun was setting.  I think there were definitely a couple of surprises for the guests in the line up.  First, about 90% of the guests LOVED the Old Fitzegerald 100 Proof, which is the wheated bourbon brother of the infamously popular Rittenhouse 100 Proof.  It's out of stock at the moment, but represents one of the best values in bourbon.  It's easy going wheat based bourbon and bottled in bond.  Anyway, for $15 its a silly deal and nice to have something around that you don't feel guilty going through quickly or experimenting with.  Other highlights were more obvious.  Both the Rittenhouse Rye 25 Year and the Parker's Heritage Collection 27 Year showed incredibly well, as was expected.  These two bottles are considered legendary for a reason and anyone who loves american whiskey needs to try them.  We're on the last few bottles of the 27 Year and its sold out in distribution, so please don't wait.  Finally, something that I personally fell back in love with was the Parker's Heritage Collection 10 Year Wheated Cask Strength. We decided this was our bourbon of the year, but I have not touched my bottle in a few months and having a refreshly was very welcome.  Bourbon does not need to be 20 or 30 years old to be great.  In fact, for most bourbon 10 years is the sweet spot.  Parker Beam really shows of that fact with this lovely, complex, and viscerally pleasurable.  We should have our next tasting announcement in a week or so and we'll be ramping up the tastings significantly in the coming months.  We've got two GREAT new locations to work with, so hopefully we'll be doing AT COST TASTINGS, spirits dinners, and standard spirits tastings at three different locations throughout Hollywood  Thank you to everyone who came and thank you to Wood&Vine for being such great hosts. 

-David Girard

Friday
May272011

Thusday Tasting Review #2

This Rare Malt Edition of Auchroisk seemed to go over quite well.  The heavy, dense textures of the whisky were a hit amongst the tasters I spoke with and I think we all appreciated the chance to taste something we'd never usually purchase.  My new goal may be to taste every single distillery and move down a list, finding unique expressions from each one.  Not next week, though.  Next week we're at the K&L San Francisco store tasting wine-based spirits i.e. vermouth, Chinato, Amari, etc. 

-David Driscoll