Since David OG is in Italy, I'm taking care of Los Angeles area news today. This just came in from my friend Chris at JVS and I said I would pass it along:
Today we've got another new release from our most recent trip to Signatory, the whisky deal that just keeps on giving!
While this one may not shock the insider crowd, it’s going to absolutely kill with the general public. It’s just too good. Tooooo good. Everything you want from sherry-aged booze, in the style of Glenfarclas and Glendronach. We decided to proof this one down for the masses, however.
1997 Glenlivet 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky $66.99 - Although we didn't advertise it at the time, we actually selected this first-fill sherry barrel of Glenlivet from Signatory as part of our 2012 trip. We thought the whisky was simply outstanding, a shining example of what the classic Speyside distillery can accomplish when one fantastic barrel is isolated from the rest of the batch. What we wanted to do was wait until this cask hit its 16th birthday, then bottle it immediately. You could tell it was right on the cusp of greatness, but it just needed an extra year. While the standard Glenlivet expressions are soft and supple on the palate, they rarely exhibit the amount of fresh sherry influence that this 16 year old barrel exudes. The result is a whisky that's more like Macallan or Glendronach than what we think of as Glenlivet. Toffee, raisined fruit, baking spices, and cocoa came blasting out of the glass when we first pulled the sample straight from the barrel. This whisky was a beast! Since we knew that a cask of Glenlivet would encompass a larger tent of customers than some of our more esoteric selections, we thought that proofing the whisky down to 46% might be a good idea in this case. After tasting it we knew this was the right move. The spice and heat turn into creamy, unctuous sherry, melting over the palate at a slow crawl. While the whisky isn't at full proof, it is still unchillfiltered and from one single barrel. For the price, it's hard to find a single fault with this single malt.
This should be here by September with the rest of the Signatory releases. Also, we’re down to 22 bottles of Jura left for pre-order if you’re still on the fence. The Glenlivet will go out on a BIG email next week with the Miltonduff and Imperial.
Two brandies hit the store today! One old friend, and one new one. Both are products from our French spirits trips with Charles Neal. K&L direct, K&L exclusive, K&L value.
Back in stock:
1987 Chateau Pellehaut K&L Exclusive Tenareze Vintage Armagnac $79.99 - While Bas-Armagnac gets all the press, and the Haut-Armagnac gets completely ignored, the Tenareze region of Armagnac is quietly producing some of the best brandies in the world. Much like the Borderies region in Cognac, the Tenareze brandies seem to have more fruit and a bit more life than the more classic Armagnac style. We visited Chateau Pellehaut on our first day in Armagnac last January and were completely overwelmed by the quality of spirit. Using only new or first fill barrels for the beginning years of maturation, the Armagnacs have richness, weight, and spice. The 1987 vintage was one of the most attractive brandies we tasted on the trip, or what we would call a "sexy" spirit. There are gobs of fruit coming on the entry with a Bourbon-like spiciness that gently permeates the rest of the palate. Beautiful concentration and a fantastic finish of toasted nuts with more round stonefruit make this one of the most accessible Armagnacs we've ever carried. Pound for pound, I'm not sure any brandy under $100 can hang with this.
1973 Domaine d'Ognoas K&L Exclusive Vintage Bas-Armagnac $129.99 - 1973 continues to be a strong year for vintage Armagnacs at K&L. Fresh of the boat from our latest French expedition with Charles Neal comes this nearly 40 year old brandy from our favorite co-operative distillery. As a property that's been in existence since the 1200's, Ognoas spends much of its time as an agricultural school and a training ground for young distillers. Because of their status as a "co-op" of sorts, the operation is partly subsidized by the French government, which means the prices are insanely low! This 1973 selection is practically seamless. The entry is rich and warming, wood spices and dark fruits transition into caramel and toffee before you've even had the chance to notice. The flavors are never overpowering or cloying, however, despite the four decades this brandy has spent in wood. This is as good of a deal as you'll see for something this old and this good. Thank goodness K&L lets us go over the Atlantic to find this stuff!
What the heck are shrubs?
Shrubs are vinegar, sugar, and fruit macerations that work as soda bases with seltzer or as flavor ingredients for cocktails. They were big in the 90s - the 1790s. According to Wikipedia they were also known as "drinking vinegars." Up until a few days ago I had never even heard of a shrub. Now, they're available at K&L.
Shrub & Co. is a new adventure for us here in the cocktail department because it's the first time we've really been excited about something without alcohol in it. We normally just focus on the booze. However, these tangy, tart, and intensely flavorful "drinking vinegars" really captured the hearts of our K&L staff members and everyone wanted to have some around. So they're on the shelf.
What do you do with them?
You add them to soda water and make non-alcoholic aperitifs. Or you go to the Shrub & Co. website that I linked above and check out some of their cocktail recommendations. I'm going to take these home tonight and give 'em a whirl. Here's what we've got for you right now:
This recipe from the website sounds delicious:
Harvest Gold2 oz bourbon whiskey
.75 oz Tart Apple Shrub
.5 oz fresh lemon juice
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and serve in a cocktail coupe with a twist of lemon.
This is Jan Potocki. He's from Poland. He makes one of the cleanest, most-traditional Eastern European vodkas on the market and he's coming to our San Francisco store this coming Wednesday, May 15th. If you want to drink vodka with someone who can actually tell you about it, about how he uses his own home-grown rye and how his family has been making vodka for about 200 years, then you should come to the store next week. The tasting is free and the spirit is top notch.
On another note, Glenlivet will be hosting seminar on their whiskies in the Redwood City store on Wednesday, May 29th. This is an RSVP event and it will start at 5 PM. This will not be a walk-in event where you can come at anytime between 5 and 6:30. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to attend. This tasting is also free.