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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

4/23 - Redwood City: Ardbeg Single Malts (w/the chopper!)

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

1988 Littlemill 25 Year Old K&L "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Lowland 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!

Bladnoch 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #1054 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!

Talisker "The Speakeasy" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel 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

1991 Cambus 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!

2002 Bowmore 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml IN STOCK NOW!

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!


New Ardbeg Sale Begins.....NOW!


To celebrate Ardbeg the whisky, the new Ardbeg custom-built Choppers, the visit of Master Distiller Rachel Barrie, and the fact that we are pretty much THE place to go for all things Ardbeg nation-wide, we are dropping prices and putting on a sale that should blow every other retailer out of the water.  People are going to try and match our prices, but they'll be hard pressed.  We already sell more Ardbeg than practically anyone because we freakin' love it and we pass it on to everyone we know.  If you have never had the pleasure of tasting Islay's most flavorful dram, then you can attend one of our upcoming Ardbeg tastings on Oct. 5th & 6th, or you can invest in a whole bottle at these new sale prices.  We're going to extend this pricing as long as possible so hopefully there'll be enough for everyone.  If you need to stock up, however, now is the time.  Click on the links below to order:

Ardbeg 10 year old Islay Single Malt Whisky NOW $43.99

Ardbeg Uigeadail Traditional Strength Islay Single Malt Whisky NOW $58.99

1990 Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist Islay Single Malt Whisky NOW $68.99



 - David Driscoll


Slieve Foy 8 Year Irish - Best Whiskey In A While

As someone who gets paid to select whiskey for a retail store, I am really earning my salary by having a taste for what will sell, rather than for some expertise knowledge about what is good.  I am not a whiskey expert, but rather learn by getting the opportunity to taste frequently.  Believe me, any of you would know as much if not more than I do about spirits if you were in my shoes.  I like to think that the real trick behind my job is to know what people are looking for and then give it to them with a level of service that most people either aren't willing to provide or don't care enough to deliver.  It is why I stay up answering emails until midnight, or write this blog in my free time.  Why am I rambling on about this?  Because what I am normally raving about whiskey-wise is rarely what I actually drink at home myself.  In fact, I rarely drink whiskey outside of the store or tasting events.  That's the real tragedy of this position - it can be overkill.  After a long day I'm ready for a beer.  However, there is one new whiskey that has really blown me away and I went to some effort to track down every available bottle for our store.  The new release from Cooley has absolutely charmed my pants off (in this case literally because I just had some and now I am typing this in my underwear). 

The point of that long intro you just read was to really stress the irony that is how rarely I actually drink whiskey on my own and to therefore drive home the point about how good this Cooley actually is.  If you can get me to drink whiskey after a long day of drinking whiskey, then you have done something right in my book.  Cooley, recent winner of the Malt Advocate's distillery of the year award, is one of only three active Irish distilleries, with Bushmill's and Midleton being the others.  We all know there are more than three brands of Irish whiskey, however, so therefore these distilleries are making product for multiple brands.  Redbreast and Paddy's, for example, are made by Midleton.  Cooley is the only independent distillery however as the other two are both members of the Irish Distiller's Group.  They make Connemara, Tyrconnell, Greenore, and now this new eight year old release brought in via Preiss Imports rather than Young's.  When I tasted a sample that Preiss sent me two months ago, I was on the phone with them in a matter of seconds.  However, this time it was for myself rather than to get an edge on a particular product.  I knew K&L's fortunes weren't riding on an obscure Irish whiskey.

Two months later the whiskey is actually available and in our store, and currently in my house.  This is why I love this Slieve Foy bottling: it has character, drinkability, and complexity, and just about anyone can love it.  I've never taken a whiff of a whiskey that smelt more like wine - it has the stone fruit of Sauvignon Blanc and even that mineral component.  You can detect that bit of sweet malt, but it's really white wine dominated.  The first sip is all fruit - even more of what you can smell on the nose.  The hints of sweetness start to pass over the tongue, but then it all passes in an instant and the richer side turns over - sweet grains and caramel.  These are the flavors that linger with you on the finish as the whiskey slides down into your belly.  It's surprising that a whiskey that begins with such fruity wine components can end so sweetly.  Everytime I taste it I am more and more perplexed by this duality.  Every time I drink it I want more and more. 

Every day people come into the store and ask me what I like and I tell them.  No one, however, ever asks me what I drink at home.  If you were to come over to my house and drink with me this month, this is the whiskey I would be offering you.  Slieve Foy 8 Year Old.  I love it.

-David Driscoll


Stressed! So Much Going On!

I'm not ready to bury my head in my hands like the guy in the photo, but I have been piling on the pressure lately and it's mostly all my own doing.  Nobody sat me down when I got this job and said, "David, you need to do as many extra-curricular events as possible!" (that was actually what my high school guidance counselor told me so that I would get into a good college).  However, simply doing the minimum is so boring and I'm usually someone who can't sit still as it is.  In any case, all these events I've been donating my services to as of late have left me little time to do much with the blog here, so forgive my absence.  I will make it up by inviting you now to join us at one of the many upcoming tastings or dinners we are promoting.  Plus, there have been some more whisky deals to broker, so look at some of these new arrivals, as well.

Tastings & Events

September 22nd - Wednesday - Farmer's Market Cocktails @ Ferry Building in SF -$40 - 6 PM

September 23rd - Thursday - Cocktail Class @ Heaven's Dog in SF - $25 - 3 to 5 PM

September 25th - Saturday - Field Trip to St. George Distillery (Whiskey Club Members Only)

September 30th - Thursday - Four Roses Tasting @ Martin's West in Redwood City - 7 PM - FREE

October 5th - Tuesday - Ardbeg Tasting w/ the Chopper @ Martin's West - 7 PM - FREE

October 6th - Wednesday - 5 to 6 PM - Special Ardbeg Tasting w/ Master Distiller Rachel Barrie and the Choppers! @ Heaven's Dog in SF (needs RSVP via email w/me)

October 7th - Thursday - Amrut Indian Single Malt Tasting @ Elixer in SF - 7 PM - FREE (needs RSVP via email w/me)

October 8th - Friday - WhiskyFest SF @ Marriott in SF - 6 PM - $100 (tickets available @

New Arrivals!

1996 Caol Ila, Murray McDavid, 13 Year Old Chateau d' Yquem Sauternes Cask Whisky $65.99 - Just when you thought the cask enhancement revolution was over, Bruichladdich's Jim McEwan is still ready to say otherwise. While the combination of peat and sweet is nothing new to the single malt world, the latter has almost always come from sherry wood influence, adding a toffee and caramel balance to the smoky and spicy flavors. This very limited Caol Ila bottling uses the same formula, but in a whole new way. This is bourbon cask-aged Islay, further enhanced by the lush dessert wine of the world's most famous Sauternes: Yquem. The result is a flavor profile that currently has no comparison - rather than simply balancing the peaty campfire smoke, the wine cask seems to restrain it, transforming power into elegance. Stonefruits swim through the palate, bringing Highland flavors to an Islay malt, but the salty edge of the island style is never dilluted. This is beautiful peated whisky in the vain of Port Ellen rather than Ardbeg.

Slieve Foy 8 Year Old Irish Single Malt Whiskey $41.99 - Yet another fantastic whiskey from Cooley distillery, who is looking to retain its newly awarded title of "best distillery in the world," as recently deemed from Malt Advocate. The Slieve Foy is alive in a way that most other whiskies are not - zesty fruit, sweet spices, and soft vanilla are all singing upon the entry. The vibrant character fades towards the back as the softness of the barrel aging slows things down, but the memory of it stays with you on the finish. The Slieve Foy is an Irish whiskey that screams to be heard above the more mild Redbreast and Paddy-filled crowd, but without losing its traditional Irish character. A solid, solid whiskey. -David Driscoll, K&L Wine Merchants "Pretty pale yellow/lemon juice/sauvignon blanc/oyster color; superb clarity. Reminds me of white pepper, butcher's wax paper, and beeswax in the first pungent sniffs after the pour; six minutes of additional air contact bring out tropical fruit scents, most notably papaya, as well as cereal grains. Entry flavors caress the taste buds in silky smooth sheets of flavor, especially palm oil, unsalted butter, and sweetened breakfast cereal; midpalate is a study in whiskey elegance and power co-existing in harmony as the taste profile exhibits controlled grainy sweetness, light, fresh honey, baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), and light wood tones. Concludes with style and grace. Delicious and serious." Spirit Journal September 2010: 4 stars/Highly Recommended

Four Roses K&L Single Barrel Cask Strength Kentucky Bourbon $54.99 (special order for now - due in before Oct 1st) - Once again, we're teaming up with Kentucky legend Jim Rutledge to bring our customers a single barrel of his beautiful Four Roses whiskey. This time around we opted for yeast strain OBSO, which brings a different mash bill of 60% Corn, 35% Rye, 5% Barley. This bourbon is a liquid manifestation of the phrase "an iron hand in a velvet glove." The palate opens up to some big time flavor, rich sweetness, and fruity spice, enveloping the senses with sheer power and force. The finish is all nuance however as the whiskey dies down to a meer whisper and gently glides away, softly hinting at the beautiful barrage of flavors it battered you with only moments before. Another legendary whiskey for our K&L customers to enjoy!

-David Driscoll



K&L Teams Up With SF Cocktail Week!

*As Part of San Francisco Cocktail Week
Cocktails Through The Modern Lens - A Seminar w/ Jennifer Colliau & Erik Ellestad
Thursday September 23rd 3-5 PM @ Heaven's Dog in San Francisco  $25.00 per person
DO NOT MISS THIS.  This is a more expanded and hands on version of the sampler we did at Martin's West earlier this year.  If you don't remember, that was maybe the best event we've done in the last year or two - and we didn't even have a real bar!!  Now we're taking the class, expanding it to 2 hours, and doing it on their turf at the best bar in San Francisco - HEAVEN'S DOG!  I am so excited to finally be doing an event there because it is not easy to book these much sought-after venues.  Getting a private tutorial on cocktails is a fantastic experience. With the help of two consummate professionals, your domestic mixology can achieve loftier heights than you've ever imagined. Jennifer Colliau, a bartender at Heaven's Dog and the Slanted Door, is the creator of Small Hand Foods, a small company dedicated to reproducing forgotten sweeteners and mixing ingredients.  She specializes in pre-Prohibition drinks and is a master behind the stick.  Erik Ellestad is also a bartender at Heaven's Dog as well as at the Alembic and has garnered national fame for his Savoy Cocktail book project - making every drink in alphabetical order.  He makes a hell of a drink and is encyclopedia of classic cocktail knowledge.  They are going to get behind the bar and show you how, with just a few simple tricks, you can bring your home cocktail mixing to a new level. You will get $25 worth of booze easily, so consider the education and the experience free of charge!
Tickets are currently available through the website 
-David Driscoll


Old School/New School Part II

A few months back, SF cocktail blogger Camper English blogged about tequila being the new vodka on his site Alcademics.  This led me to eventually write this series of columns about Old School/New School spirits.  I'm not the only one who was inspired, however, as this article turned up in the Washington Post.  Read on!  This article works well as a pairing piece to the previous OS/NS Part I.  Simply more information about the current state of tequila.

-David Driscoll