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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

8/20 - San Francisco: No Tasting

8/20 - Redwood City: K&L Signatory Single Malts

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!


Thursday
Mar312011

Good Morning...

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Mar302011

....And We're Back Up - Still Alive, Still Drinkin'

Glasgow looking towards Port Dundas

You must be thinking, "Good God!  These guys were posting every hour and then, POOF!, nothing for days. I hope they're safe.  I hope they didn't die in a fiery wreck going through the mountains!"  Don't worry, we're just fine, but it's been quite a few days.  We've had no internet for sometime as we've either been in the car, or in the sticks.  There's too much that has happened since then to go into strict detail, but here's a quick recap since we last left you:

- took the ferry back over from Islay

- went back through Glasgow down south to Ayr and met with A.D. Rattray

- from there went to a secret new source of whisky (shhhh! don't let other retailers know!)

- drove north through the mountains to Glendronach

- visited Gordon & MacPhail

- broke my camera and now have to use David OG's

- visited Duncan Taylor

- now staying at Edradour

We went from the heart of the Lowlands north into the Highlands and, believe me, they are two different worlds, which you can see in the picture below.

There can be only one.....

We took the scenic route through the middle of the Cairngorm Mountains and we are very lucky the weather was beautiful because had we gone today we would have been SOL.  Still fresh powder on the mountains with slopes still operating.  The valley along the Dee River can make you a wee bit teary-eyed and as we drove by Royal Lochnager, I found myself wanting a bottle just to remember the amazing trip through the Eastern Highlands region.

Because of the time change we had sunlight until after 8:00 when we arrived at the hauntingly gorgeous Glendronach distillery.  That was lucky for us because it is out in the middle of NOWHERE and it would not have been fun to try and find our way on those tiny roads in the dead black of night.  Think Wuthering Heights, but in Scotland, and just as sinister. 

I won't go into complete detail about the visit, but I can tell you that we will be buying a fantastic barrel of Glendronach directly from the distillery for K&L.  I can also tell you that the Glenronach 12 is the absolute best single malt that nobody is drinking.  I have a new replacement house bottle, no joke (sorry Springbank 10, but the Glendronach 12 is just toooooooo good and very reasonable).  They do everything by hand, they have a remarkable facility, and their wood program headed up by manager Alan is unmatched.  They do everything with the knowledge that their barrels are the most important element at the end of the day.  Fantastic stuff with an oily, fruity, fat-textured edge.  Recently revamped by a pair of South African entrepreneurs, this is a major distillery to watch.

To walk the grounds is to become lost in the bucolic splendor of the Scottish Highlands.  I kept waiting for Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery to come out of the shadows with their swords.  Their cooling system is run by the cold water stream going through the middle of the building and they have a large barley field growing right next door.  We might see some amazing local barley projects from Glendronach if they can re-establish their in-house floor malt.  Could be wonderful.  Did I tell you how much I love the 12 year?

I wasn't kidding about the Wuthering Heights reference.  The house on site (which we stayed next door to) is haunted by the ghost of spanish woman who was brought over in a sherry barrel.  Spooky, to say the least.  There's also a secret tunnel that goes directly underneath where I was standing as I took this picture.  They say that she walks through it at night.  Scary!!

Meeting with G&M was fantastic if only because I learned so much about how the indy system works.  I had no idea that indie bottlers were sending their own barrels to the distilleries!  I guess that's how the majority of the business got started and it's how they controlled quality.  If you buy a barrel from the broker market, you might get stuck with a 20 year old malt aged in a 4th or 5th fill barrel, which sometimes gives you nothing but 20 year old white dog.  Euan from G&M let us try an example of Glen Keith that was pretty worthless.  Easy to get seriously screwed, I guess.  Now that many distilleries are no longer filling barrels from outside clients, the market is all about past relationships and connections.  We tasted some good possibilities for K&L selections and are excited about working with such a historic company on a more direct basis.

Because we were so close, we HAD to drive over and see Loch Ness.  No monster however.

 

When we finally made it over to Huntley today to visit Duncan Taylor, we were nearly tapped out of energy, but these guys got us energized fast with their insane selection of casks.  I'm a bit tired and can't go into to much detail, but Mark (pictured above) is a serious whisky geek just like us and he gave us all the stuff he would want for himself.  The octave program they have is awesome, and now that the prices are more inline with what we can afford, we might have 6 or 7 contenders.  The best part is, we'll be expanding our exclusive line up of rare mothballed/closed/destroyed distillery offerings beyond our most recent Imperial octave

Yes, you read correctly.  That says BANFF!  Why wait for the prices of these guys to go up to Port Ellen and Brora levels?  We're striking now and man was this whisky great.  Banff has been closed since 1983 and was completely destroyed by a fire in 1991.  Not much left.  Did we buy it?  Wait and see.  We're going to have serious collectors wetting their pants by the end of 2011 with some of the extinct whiskies we've found on this trip.

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Mar262011

Duffie's!!

In the town of Bowmore there is but one pub worthy of your time.  It's called Duffie's and it's run by Duffie.  Duffie has a shit ton of whisky.  Duffie knows a shit ton about whisky.  Best whisky bar ever.  Go to Islay, go to Duffies.  Everyone knows him, so you can't miss it.

I don't really need to add much to this. 

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Mar262011

Scotland - Day Five - Ardbeg

Finally getting to Ardbeg was an awesome thing, even though they're currently closed down and won't be restarting whiskymaking for a few weeks still.  Today was also Saturday so the distllery tasting room and gift shop was also closed to the public.  Luckily we had contacted distillery manager Mickey Heads in advance and, since he lives on site round the clock, he was happy to come over and give us a tour.  Ardbeg has perhaps the most beautiful location of all the Islay distilleries with picturesque looks over the southern coast all the way to Ireland.

On a quiet peaceful day like this one, the water was calm (even though it's the ocean) and the lack of tourist groups coupled with the empty distillery made for quite a solitary mood, completely unlike the loud, expressive flavors of Ardbeg's whisky.  Mickey took us on a complete tour of the facility and explained how Ardbeg is actually the second smallest distillery after Kilchoman, with its tiny barley mill and only two stills.

Everything about Ardbeg tastes like its location smells and feels.  We went on a walk through the warehouses and Mickey pointed out how salty the air is coming off the water, causing the rings on the barrels to rust and deteriorate quickly.  They have barrels going back as far as 1975 so make sure and watch out for that single barrel cask strength 36 year release we'll be coming out with soon (ha ha).

While we won't actually be barreling it, we did get to taste a little of it and Mickey made sure to bring the goods.  Ardbeg used to be like Bruichladdich and Springbank, having single casks in the gift shop that visitors could come and bottle themselves.  Sadly for us, the demand for Ardbeg has reached fanatical levels and people were coming in and buying everything they could, so they were forced to end what had been a fun bonus for enthusiasts.  Mickey also pulled some samples from the warehouse for us to taste which were fun and exciting for Ardbeg lovers like us.  Mickey is also quite a bourbon fan so we told him how we'd have to fly him out to California for some tastings.  We think Mickey should be the next big Ardbeg celebrity after Bill Lumsden and Rachel Barrie, considering he's the one who's there all the time!

After concluding a wonderful visit with Mickey (who is a fantastic down to earth whisky fan just like the rest of us) we went a little further down the road to visit the fantastic 1300 year old Kildalton Cross with its early Christian carvings and biblical depictions.  There is a bit of Twin Peaks-like eeriness to the place, which only made it cooler.  There were sheep running free all over the place and David and I did our best to chase them! 

Now we're back for our final night at the cotteges waiting to go have beers with Phil from Bowmore.  We're going over some of the casks we've tasted and wondering how we're going to ever decide on so many good options!

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Mar262011

Good Morning....

I've seen this view so many times from other people's photos, but this one was taken by me.  What a copycat I am! 

-David Driscoll