SoCal Legend Needs Your Help

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:

Martin O. Kari needs our help!  And you’ll have to drink for it!
Some of you know Marty.  Most of you don’t.  To put him in perspective, imagine my whisky knowledge and experience… his left pinky toe has more.  He has been lately dubbed the godfather of whisky, and given the gifts of drams he has bestowed upon many of us, that moniker is appropriate.  Marty knows whisky.  The whisky industry knows Marty.  When Wikipedia doesn’t have the answer for a whisky question, it says “for further reference, see Martin Kari.”  He’s even nicer than I am.  The only whisky category I excel over him in is pumping blood while drinking. 
Anyhow, Marty made the mistake of having a heart attack between insurance, and thanks to an economy that’s not ready to bring his AV business back to life, the bills aren’t very welcoming.  To top it off this happened at his favorite drinking event in Vegas (not Nth) and had he not been clairvoyant enough (RIP Admiral Motti) to have befriended a whisky drinking doctor, we may not have had a Marty left at all.
Enough of this!  We are going to have a benefit.  With Scotch, dammit.  May 12th downtown, and May 13th in Santa Monica.  Two different events with different donated bottles .  ALL PROFITS go to Marty.  This is a joint project with SCWS, LASC, LAWS and many donor persons and whisky shops without cool acronyms, but Chris Uhde of SCWS is the coordinator and handler of RSVPs. Email him at to reserve a spot.  Although we are only doing cash at the door, please understand that reserving and then no-showing without a prior cancellation hurts the cause because each event is LIMITED TO 40 persons.  Attending will make you a Whisky Mensch!
BTW, this isn’t a complete sacrifice, because these are great whiskies and you will get a solid pour of each.  Here are the details:
Marty’s Heart-y Party 1
7pm Sunday May 12th
Far Bar - 347 E 1st St  Los Angeles, CA 90012
Sunday at Far bar we will be trying some older hard to get expressions of single malt scotch whisky.  A burger or veggie burger will be included with the event
1. Miltonduff 1989 22yr Cheiftain’s 55.1% abv
2. Glenfarclas  1996 15yr  Traverso’s Bottling 46% abv
3. Highland Park Bicentenary 1977 American Release 43%
4. Highland Park 25yr 50.7% abv early 2000’s
5. Bowmore 28yr 1984 D&M Aficionados Club 50%
6. Bowmore 1989 16yr 51.8%
7. Laphroaig 1995 16yr Signatory 59.5% abv
Marty’s Heart-y Party 2
7pm Monday May 13th
Daily Pint Santa Monica
2310 Pico Blvd  Santa Monica, CA 90405
We will meet at the Daily Pint in Santa Monica to try some expressions that have been lost to history.  Now is your chance to cross some distilleries off of your bucket list that have kicked the bucket.
1. Dallas Dhu 12yr Gordon Macphail 40% (Distillery Closed in 1983)
2. Rosebank 10yr 1992 Murray McDavid 46% (Distillery Closed in 1993)
3. Glenlochy 1980 24yr Duncan Taylor 61.2% abv (Distillery closed in 1983)
4. Glen Mhor 1978 botled in 2004 56% abv Scotts Selection (closed in 1983, Demolished in 1986)
5. Imperial 17yr 1995 Duncan Taylor 53.2% (closed in 1998, Demolished 2013)
6. Compass Box Spice Tree first edition (the use of additional wood in the barrel was made illegal for scotch because of this release)
7. The Classic Cask 35yr 1964 bottled in 1999 blend – This blend is no longer available and that is close enough for me
Please email to reserve a seat!
-David Driscoll

New K&L Exclusive Single Malt Pre-Order Release


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.

-David Driscoll


A Pair of K&L Exclusive Armagnacs

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.

Brand new:

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!

-David Driscoll




What the heck are shrubs?

Good question!

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:

Shrub & Co. Grapefruit Shrub 16oz. $19.99

Shrub & Co. Spicy Ginger Shrub 16oz. $19.99

Shrub & Co. Tart Apple Shrub 16oz. $19.99

This recipe from the website sounds delicious:

Harvest Gold

2 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.

-David Driscoll


Two In-Store Tastings Coming Up

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 if you want to attend. This tasting is also free.

-David Driscoll