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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!


Sunday
May012011

New K&L Scotland Single Barrel Pre-Arrival Release

Another exciting day in K&L whisky history is upon us, as we make available another of the many barrels we secured during our recent adventures in Scotland.

Today we are bringing you the absolute best whisky we found.  In fact, I think it is one of the finest whiskies I have ever tasted, period.  Granted I have a specific style I like, but this magical gem of a malt should please just about every aficionado out there. 

Before I introduce it, I want to state that David OG and I are always wary about pushing more expensive malts upon our customers.  If there were ever two guys that tried to UNDERsell people rather than oversell them, it’s us.  My ideology as a whisky retailer is based on giving customers the best value for their money and making sure that their expectations are fully met. 

That being said, if I truly felt that one whisky was worth such a high price tag, this would be it.  David OG and took one sip of this whisky in a Pittlochry warehouse and simply fell in love.  There was no way we COULDN’T buy this barrel.  We knew it might be difficult to sell a barrel of $300+ a bottle whisky, but we also knew that once our customers tried it they would be completely satisfied.  It is absolutely worth $300 in every way.

What is it?

1974 Rare Ayrshire "K&L Exclusive" 36 Year Old Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Lowland Single Malt Whiskey PRE-ARRIVAL PRICE $299.99 (retail price to be $349.99)

Absolutely one of top two or three whiskies I've ever had the opportunity to taste.  David OG and I knew it wasn't going to be cheap, but we had a duty to bring great whisky back to the states so we couldn't let the price tag stand in our way.  Labeled as "Rare Ayrshire" because Signatory cannot disclose the name of the distillery, we're more than happy to let you in on the name of this rarely-seen and long-forgotten single malt.  One of the rarest and hard-to-find of distilleries, Ladyburn is a Lowland distillery that operated only between 1966 and 1975, inside the grain distillery of Girvan. The rare 12 year old distillery bottling sells for over $3000 at auction and the name Ladyburn has become synonymous with "cult whisky." Our 36 year old bottling is an orgasm of complexity that should send true whisky geeks into a ferverish frenzy of ecstasy.  Brandied fruit on the nose with honey and Cognac-esque aromas seeping into the mix.  The palate is light and soft with vanilla, baking spices, and flowers in complete harmony with the natural cask strength proof.  A drop of water brings out more of the spice and releases the vanilla into a bowl of fresh cherries that linger long on the finish.  Simply amazing whisky that demands the attention of the most serious of drinkers.  Classic in every way and worth every penny of the price.

Because this is such an old barrel, there are only 80 bottles worth of whisky left inside of it.  All 80 will be made available for pre-arrival.

Like I said above, I’ve never tried to convince anyone that they needed to pay $300 for great whisky.  I won’t try to convince you of that now either.  What I will say, is that if you HAD to pay $300 for ANY whisky, this is the one.

Ladyburn is so rare that it would cost at least $300 even if it were terrible.  Just to make sure I wasn’t crazy, I smuggled a sample back from Scotland and tasted a customer whose palate I completely trust to get his opinion.  He bought the first bottle, so now there are 79 left.

On another news note, the 1994 Glendronach 17 Year Old Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt $99.99 is once again available for purchase as we are now more certain that we have straightened out any complications.

Any questions?  Please let me know. 

More news later in the week and another barrel to announce! 

-David Driscoll

Sunday
May012011

Booze Is Like Vacation

I recently visited with a friend who had just returned from a vacation in Portugal.  We sat and had lunch while he told me of his adventures.  When I asked him if Portugal was a wonderful place he said, "Yes, amazing." When I asked him if he planned on going back any time soon, he said, "No, too many other places I want to see."

Brand managers, this is why selling a brand doesn't work at K&L. It might be the best brand in the world, but there are still too many other places people want to see.

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Apr302011

Elementary School Lessons

When I was teaching elementary school in San Francisco, I learned a great deal about human psychology in the face of choice and selection.  My first P.E. time was perhaps the best example of what could happen when supply and demand influenced behavior.  I asked all the kids to spread out so that we could stretch and do our warm-up exercises, but they still all clumped together.  To help solve this dilemma, I found some small, round, colored rubber mats that I could spread out evenly and then ask the students to find a colored dot to stand on top of.  There were yellow, red, green, orange, blue and purple dots.  Problem solved, right?  Wrong.

Immediately all the girls ran to the red dots and all the boys ran to the blue dots.  The girls started screaming at each other about who had got there first and the boys began pushing and fighting over their territory.  I immediately blew my teacher's whistle and told everyone that they needed to find their own space, that there were enough dots for everyone, and that it didn't matter what color they received. While they listened and understood what I said, they didn't believe it for a second.  Every day there was a competition about who would get the red or blue dot first and those that got it would hold it over the heads of the other kids.  It soon became an obsession for some of the kids who didn't even know why they wanted it, just that they did.  The harder it was to get a red or blue dot, the more the kids wanted it and fought about it.  I eventually found some rubber dots that were uniform in color and that was the end of that. 

Another time a parent brought in popsicles for one of the student's birthday.  She had different flavors however and I told her that it wasn't going to work.  She looked shocked and asked, "What do you mean?  There are enough popsicles for everyone!"  She didn't see where I was going with this.  Wanting her to learn a quick lesson about children, I took a step back and told her to go ahead and pass them out.  Immediately the kids started screaming, "I want cherry! I want cherry!"  Once the kids figured out that cherry was the best flavor to have, the other kids who got grape or banana started crying and complaining that they wanted cherry as well.  The whole situation was about to blow up until I said, "You're going to get whatever you get, no choosing, and if you don't want the popsicle you get you can choose not to eat it."  It got them to quiet down, but it didn't end the teasing, the boasting, or the triumphant behavior of those who were able to secure the beloved cherry.  That was the last time the mom brought in different flavored popsicles.

As an elementary school teacher, I learned that if you didn't have enough red dots or cherry popsicles for everyone, you were only setting yourself up for disaster.  Children understand the basic rules of fairness and they will let you know when you're breaking them.  Kids would cry, scream, pout, and moan if they were left out, while the victorious kids would take every opportunity to rub their possession in the face of the have-nots.  I found it easier just not to participate in certain activities because playing referee all the time gets tiresome and the kids just get mad at you. It wouldn't be fair to choose favorites and let some kids get something special that they wanted. There either had to be enough for everyone who wanted one or else we didn't do it.  In the end, why would you want to make only some kids feel special when the goal is to make everyone feel equally special? 

I remember little Joanne saying, "Mr. David, why did you give one of the cherry popsicles to Lisa and not me?"

Yeah, Mr. David, why did you?

Those were valuable lessons.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Apr292011

Morality Issues With Booze

As I move into my weekend, my head is once again spinning as I take some time to contemplate the issues of the week.  So many different encounters, so many interesting conversations, so many questions I have for myself and for others.  Rather than toss and turn in bed while I try and push them out of my brain, I'm going to release a little of it here:

-If you love a company's whisk(e)y, but loathe the company that makes it, should you continue to drink it?  Can you separate a company's actions, policies, business model, or politics from their product?  This is a morality question that extends far beyond booze, but it doesn't really come up with liquor because the inner workings of the business tend to stay hidden.  I'm not here to expose them or judge them either, but it wears on me sometimes.

-What are the issues that would cause you to stop drinking a certain whisk(e)y? Besides price. Everyone can get priced out eventually, so that doesn't count.

-How many people actually care about the politics of booze as long as the booze keeps flowing and it keeps tasting good?

-Are hard-to-find, special releases exciting or just frustrating?

-Besides flavor, what are other factors that go into the enticement of a bottle? Does a company's image effect sales or are they irrelevant? (We're not talking distilleries here, but the companies that own them).

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Apr282011

1512 Barbershop? Where Did This Come From?

Just met with a representative for 1512 Spirits today, a little outfit that has been making illegal moonshine for three generations.  From what I've heard (from them and from others) the guy behind this project is a distillation genius.  Can't wait to meet him.  I just pre-ordered four cases of their newest white rye batch coming out in a few weeks.  Word is they may have some older stuff hiding away as well.  Mike Barber of our SF store actually met him at his barber shop a few years back and traded him some wine for booze.  This guy still works as a barber five days a week in SF and distills at night in Sonoma County.  In any case, Mike said the spirits are the real deal.  We'll have 48 bottles of this 100% white rye in a few weeks.  It's very, very good.  I hope it's an indication of what is to come.  I plan on doing plenty o' business with 1512.

-David Driscoll