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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

9/24 - San Francisco: Monkey 47 w/Christoph Keller!

9/24 - Redwood City: Germain Robin K&L Exclusive Brandy!

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!


Saturday
Aug062011

Two Hot New Products

Finally got our hands on the tasty little blend David OG and I tried on our trip to Scotland.  While visiting A.D. Rattray they gave us a sneak peak of this delicious combo featuring four single casks of sherry-aged Bowmore, Benriach, Balblair, and Auchentoshan - all either 19 or 20 years old.  While this is a "blend" there is no grain whisky within it, but apparently the term "vatted" malt is no longer acceptable.  I'll tell you this however - this whisky DESTROYS any other old school blend on the market right now.  As you can see from the amount missing in the top of the bottle, the staff really enjoyed this one.  The flavors are classic and bold - hints of richness from the sherry, vanilla, and just the faintest touch of smoke from the Bowmore likely.  Basically it just tastes like Scotch - like really, really, really good Scotch.  It's also done at cask strength so adding an ice cube just puts you right where you need to be.  I had too much of this last night so I was not where I needed to be, but sometimes that happens.

While this is not quite available yet (we should see it next week) I was able to get an advance bottle of Dave Smith's new Firelit release while I was at St. George distillery.  The former two releases were made with Blue Bottle and Weaver's coffee giving them a bold, but traditional flavor.  This batch however was made with Verve coffee from Santa Cruz and they chose a far more interesting roast.  This new Firelit is more for the coffee geeks than the spirits nerds.  Lot's of earthy, spicy, fruity notes in this coffee which is not as dark or rich as its predecessors.  Because of its more rustic flavor, Dave decided not to use the Chardonnay brandy he had used previously, but instead to distill a new brandy from Syrah grapes - a varietal that shares some of the coffee's characteristics.  It worked beautifully.  Look for this in the near future.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Aug042011

MORE UPDATES: K&L Exclusive Dinner w/Dr. Bill Lumsden

Just finalized the details for our wonderful Ardbeg/Glenmorangie dinner with Dr. Bill Lumsden and it is going to be over-the-top awesome.  Tickets are going to go very, very fast as I am only offering 50 seats in advance. ON SALE NOW! Here is the link for tickets and the menu:

Thursday October 6th – Dinner with Dr. Bill Lumsden – La Boheme in Burlingame – 7 PM – Tickets $75 per person (plus tax)

(all tasting portions will be ¼ oz pours as we will be going through quite a few different expressions)

Meet and Greet: starting with a Glenmorangie cocktail and an Ardbeg cocktail

Appetizer:

Pan Seared Foie Gras with Blueberry sauce on Porcini mousse

Salad:

Mache Salad with Cured Salmon, Tuna tartar garnished with avocado, roasted pineapple, sesame seeds, chive and shallot oil 

Paired with tastings of Glenmorangie Quinta Rubin, Nectar d’ Or, Lasanta, and Finnealta

Choice of Entree:

Chilean Sea Bass, mashed Yukon gold potatoes and julienne of vegetables

or

Duck Confit, Grilled Duck breast, potato gratin and ratatouille

or

Rib Eye Steak (or New York steak), French Fries, grilled asparagus and Green Peppercorn Sauce

or

Jumbo Shrimps, PEI Mussels and Scallops flambee with whisky on a bed of house made pasta with cherry tomatoes, garlic and fresh herbs

Paired with tastings of Ardbeg 10

Dessert:

French mini pastries: napoleon, eclair, fruit tart, french macarons, opera

Paired with tastings of Ardbeg Uigeadail, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Glenmorangie Signet, and Glenmorangie 18

Coffee, tea

RUMOR: there may be a certain reptile in the house as well

See you there – order your tickets now to reserve a space

Thursday
Aug042011

UPDATE: New Barrel Announcement

If you read the earlier post below, you'll see that we are bringing in a very special cask, but these guys were so good about getting the pricing ready that we can already add it to our pre-arrival campaign.  So, here it is - live and for sale with a ten dollar discount if you order in advance!

1994 Bruichladdich 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Ardbeg Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky - PRE-ARRIVAL $99.99 - One of our good-natured business deals from Scotland ended up providing us with the chance to secure a single barrel of something quite special and unbelievably rare - an unpeated Islay whisky aged inside the cask of another peated Islay whisky!  This 16 year old Bruichladdich spent its first 13 years in hogshead, lending it the standard vanilla and sweet grains the malt is known for.  For the last 3 years however it sat soaking up the flavor from a barrel which had formerly held some super-smoky Ardbeg whisky.  The residue left inside the wood was enough to turn a mild-mannered Bruichladdich into something smoky and aggressive.  Very light in color, the nose is a combo of fresh malted barley and vegetal peat moss aromas.  The palate is lean and mean with spicy pepper and wisps of smoke meandering in between the salty vanilla notes inherent in the malt itself.  The finish is all peat smoke, but it's an unfamiliar smoke - not peated Bruichladdich, but not Ardbeg either.  As a fan of both distilleries, I find this marriage of the two styles exciting and utterly fascinating. This will be a big hit with Islay fans and collectors everywhere.

NOTE: This is not an offical Bruichladdich bottling.  We are sourcing this from an independent source.  ETA of arrival is 11/15/11

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Aug042011

Thursday News

Viktor from Importers Without Borders came by today to taste us on the new blanco tequila from Hacienda de los Diaz.  We've always had their tasty reposado, but it's always been completely overlooked.  I think their new white version will be a bigger hit because we tend to do better with the pure spirit and this is one beautiful expression.  Very clean and quite soft, but packed with citrus, baking spices, and cloves.  I think blanco fans should take note because this will please an awful lot tequila drinkers.  Very, very good.  On the shelves now as I immediately bought it from him seeing that he had a few cases in his car.

Why is my finger hiding the name of the independent bottler?  Because this came to me from another super secret source and we're trying to add it to our Faultline collection.  I'll tell you, doing business with people you like and spreading good will tends to come back around in a karmic fashion.  What's so special about this little vial of 16 year old Bruichladdich you might ask?  Well, for the first 13 years of its life this single malt spent its upbringing in a hogshead just like any other basic whisky.  However, for the final three years of its maturation, this thing has been (and still is) sitting in an ex-Ardbeg cask and the peat from the residue has slowly made its way into this mild little Bruichladdich.  The conjunction of these two flavors is exactly what you would expect - mild vanilla, salt, and sweet grains mixed with vegetal peat moss, smoke, and charcoal.  It's familiar, yet at the same time totally unfamiliar.  Can you say ultra-rare and super collectable?  Oh, and it's good!  Add this to the second batch of pre-arrivals we'll be sourcing before Christmas - should be $99.99.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Aug022011

St. George Visit

Always one of the best views of San Francisco, the northern tip of Alameda holds one of the Bay Area's most prized establishments - St. George distillery: the home of Hangar One vodka and the mad laboratory for distillers Lance Winter and Dave Smith.  It had been a few months since my last visit, so I wanted to keep up with what was happening with these guys, as well as finalize the deal for what will soon be a new gin collaboration between St. George and K&L.

Right when we walked in, the distillation of gin was in full effect.  Fresh off the still, we were able to taste the future Mt. Tam gin, which was created using only local botanicals from the local nature reserve.  Terroir is an important concept to Lance and Dave, so they wanted to create something that reflected their local environment.  We were able to put in a glass and experience the gin at full proof - the flavors are vibrant and amazing.  This will be a big release when it is finally done.

Lance climbed up to the botanical basket and talked about the herbs and spices that were foraged for the new gin. 

Meanwhile, Dave resurfaced with a stainless steel tank full of another delicious gin that was the result of a previous experiment.  This is the future Faultline Spirits gin and the juniper flavors are bright with peppery accents. It is scheduled for a Fall/Winter release if all goes well.  Hopefully, we all will be making your holiday spirits a bit brighter.

Getting back into the single malt barrel room was another main reason for our visit to the distillery.  The success of last year's K&L/St George single malt release was so impressive that the pressure has been building for another similar bottling.  However, I don't want a future release to be anything like the previous one so that expectations can be managed. 

Dave brought out the rubber hose and started taking pulls of the barrels to coerce the malt into the glass.  We tasted a few younger releases at first that really caught my attention.  The quality of the booze going into the barrel at St. George is so superb that even the younger whiskies sing.  One of the best we tried was a two month old distillate of Sierra Nevada Bock beer that lit up our palates - full of earthy, skunky, beery flavors that danced all over our tongues.  If St. George ever got into the Bierschnapps market they would put everyone out of business in a heartbeat.  No one is even close to their level right now.  Another barrel that wowed me was a four year old malt that had spent two years in ex-bourbon and then an additional two years in Port - dynamite stuff that plays a role in their standard single malt, therefore probably not an option for a single barrel release.  There are plenty of fantastic choices here however as long as the public is open to a younger whiskey. 

Perhaps the most surprising moment of the day came when Dave poured me something out a giant green jug and I immediately recognized it as bourbon.  "Oh my God!  You guys made a bourbon!" I screamed.  It was delicious and it tasted unlike any other flavor on the market, so I was super excited.  Then Dave said, "Well, technically it's not ours, but we blended it."  That's when he revealed to me that St. George was currently preparing to become the Compass Box of American whiskey - an organization dedicated to sourcing the finest possible bourbon casks and then marrying them into unique blends of original flavors.  I couldn't have been more shocked or more excited.  The bourbon in the jug was definitely bourbon, but had a light, fruity character that was typically more subdued in other brand-market options.  It tasted like no other available release, yet still satisfied my bourbon desires.  It was exactly what they had hoped to do, and hopefully will please the public as much as it pleased me.  They're shooting for a $35 price point, which I think is fantastic.  This is a program to keep a watchful eye on.

At the end of the day we devoured some Betty's Bake Sale chicken sandwiches - a local phenomenon that has people lining up around the corner in the East Bay.  Wow, amazing eats.  Crispy batter, succulent white meat, fresh cole slaw with vinegar and jalepeños.  I couldn't eat it fast enough.  We sat outside, talked about the future projects with excitement, and admired the view.  It was tough going back to the store afterward.  Not quite as fun as hanging with the lovely folks at St. George.

-David Driscoll