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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

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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!


Wednesday
Mar092011

Podcast #10 - Buffalo Trace Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley

I was more excited for this interview than any of the previous ones simply because I've never really had the chance to sit down with anyone from Sazerac and openly discuss the products.  I had a great time talking with Harlen and he was very forthcoming both in his opinion about whiskey and the background of his products.  This is a must-listen interview for any whiskey fan.  We covered the philosophy behind maintaining a large portfolio, the amount of Stitzel Weller bourbon in the Pappy Van Winkle whiskies, and his love for the traditional Buffalo Trace formula.

This podcast episode can be downloaded here or from our archive as well as our iTunes homepage.  You can always listen with our embedded Flash player below as well.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Mar082011

Focus On Celtic Heartlands

 

Every year when these special bottles get released, I usually get a few phone calls from customers all over the U.S. looking to stake a claim on their share.  It seems that the respect these bottles demand has permeated into regions far beyond the usual bloggers and malt societies.  Some people I've talked to drink ONLY Celtic Heartlands whisky and when I asked if they liked Bruichladdich as well, they answered, "Brook- what?"  It's a wild idea to me that one can be aware of the Celtic Heartland series, but not understand what makes these casks so special - they were chosen and enhanced by one of the world's best palates: Jim McEwan. 

Bruichladdich's independent bottling arm is called Murray McDavid and is known for taking whiskies from other distilleries, aging them further in various wine barrels, and then releasing them with to the world with a bold new flavor profile.  They are almost always released at 46% abv. The higher end of this series is the Mission Gold line up that features more mature single malts, bottled at cask strength, and many times without any cask enhancement.  The top shelf of the series is the Celtic Heartland label that does this same process as the Mission Gold, but with very old whiskies, usually turning out malts with remarkable, if not mind-blowing, quality.  Previous releases have been bottles like a 1975 Banff 33 year, a 1964 Dumbarton 42 year, and a 1968 Bowmore 35 year.  Search any of these whiskies online and you'll likely find a blog or two describing a near religious whisky experience.

Two of this year's releases really stand out as some of the best CH whiskies I have ever tasted, and I've sampled more than ten of the previous bottlings.  The 1980 Caol Ila 30 Year enhanced in Italian Amarone cask is sheer Islay perfection in my opinion.  The rich, thick, sweet fruit from the raisined wine barrel seeps deep into the core of the whisky and is now rooted firmly inside of it.  It's difficult to find the seam and understand where the true foundation of the Caol Ila lies.  The inital sip releases mounds of chewy red fruits and slowly leads towards smoked sweet grains and a roasted nut finish.  It's a true masterpiece in every sense of the word.

The best metaphor I can think of to accurately describe the fantastic 1977 Glenlivet 33 year finished in Chateau d' Yquem cask is a scene from Willy Wonka.  There's a moment where that madcap genius introduces the meal in a gum to young Violet Beauregarde and she explains the flavors as she chews - first it's a soup, then a steak and potato entree, and then a dessert.  The Glenlivet morphs in the mouth in much the same fashion.  The entry is very grainy, almost like single grain whisky, before suddenly changing into bright lemon custard with flowers in a viognier-like palate.  The mid-palate then becomes a faint serving of vanilla pudding before finishing off like an oily Highland a la Clynelish.  I usually don't get so descriptive in my tasting notes because I either don't taste specific flavors or I don't care to delve that deep.  My focus is usually on whether my customers will like it or not, however I had to sit down and just stare at the floor while I tasted this, and try my hardest to break it down.  It's one of the more fascinating malts I've had the chance to try.

I think we might pour these at Martin's West next week, so stay tuned if you want to taste greatness (at cost of course!).

-David Driscoll

Monday
Mar072011

New Murray McDavid Stuff Coming In This Week

Very very busy day.  So busy I cannot do much more than the brief notes I scribbled down for these!  Tasted with the distributor today and got all the goods on these whiskies! All should be in stock as early as tomorrow!

Murray McDavid
 
1995 Tobermory 15 Year Climens Cask $57.99- oily entry with clean fruit flavors, dried fruits with spice cake on the palate with hazelnuts on the finish.  Fun and tasty, very complex - a true malt lovers dram.
 
1997 Mortlach 13 Year Yquem Cask $54.99- big melon and stone fruit flavors on the entry, vanilla then bubble gum on the palate, rich finish, but not as viscous or sweet as one would expect.  Interesting and makes me want more.
 
1995 Highland Park 15 Year Lafite Cask $79.99- rose color, smoky firewood on the nose, lots of dried fruit with campfire smoke on the palate with plums and cake on the finish.  This will be a big hit
 
1998 Laphroaig 11 Year Petrus Cask $79.99- PINK!  Rose wine scotch!  No joke, light, delicate, bright cherries and a gentle dab of peat smoke.  This is going to make Bordeaux people go crazy and Laphroaig fans as well.  Very different than any other red wine finished whisky I've yet tasted.  Very much like a rose wine with peat in it.  This will be huge.
 
1999 Bowmore 11 Year Yquem Cask $59.99- chewy raisins with smoke, then peaches with marzipan, tasty sweet wood on the finish but never gets too sweet.  A nicely made whisky
 
2002 Bowmore 8 Year Latour Cask $49.99- spicy entry, very dry almost like sandlewood, some bitter fruits lead into a big smoky finish with bright red cherries lingering at the end.  Amazingly different from the way it begins.  A monsterously intense entry leads into a juice box finish!
 
2004 Ledaig 6 Year Sherry Aged - No ACEing $43.99 - young peated 6 year sherry aged all the way!  Honey and chewy peat on the nose, a barrage of spice and smoke on the palate develops into jam and vanilla mixed with nutty sherry.  Very difficult to pick apart but tasty none the less.  Should come in around $40!  What a deal!
 
1992 Bunnahabhain 18 Year Mission Gold $99.99 - a big 54.6% sherry aged malt.  Like Macallan 18 but on steroids.  Gobs and gobs on big rich chewy fruit with caramel and loads of power. 
 
Celtic Heartlands
 
1977 Glenlivet 33 Year Yquem Finish $259.99- very grainy on the entry then morphs into juicy lemon with flowers before the vanilla kicks in on the mid palate.  Oily and soft on the finish. INSANE.  47.7%
 
1968 Bunnahabhain 41 Year Refill Sherry Aged $315.99 - mounds of bitter wood and oil on the first sip before a bite of fruit cake and stewed fruits take over.  Vanilla towards the back then a big meaty finish.  Salty notes left on the tongue.  Bizzare!  40.7%
 
1976 Bunnahabhain 33 Year Fino Sherry Aged/Sherry Finish $259.99 - salted taffy on the entry, then oaky notes before stonefruit, apricots, and vanilla begin to appear.  More salt at the back with hints of peat on the finish.  Very very good.  49%
 
1980 Caol Ila 30 Year Amarone Finish $279.99 - big time chewy fruits on the entry, then smoke and sweet grains, morphs into a roasted nut flavor, then supple and smooth on the finish.  Impeccibly balanced all the way through.  A serious malt that is very difficult to decipher because it is seamless!  I think we might pour this for Tuesday Night tastings next week!
- David Driscoll
Sunday
Mar062011

Corry Is Back, New Pricing Is Great

The Corryvreckan is now a full time item!  While we are sad that the Beist is no longer with us, we are very happy to have what many consider to be the best of the Ardbeg line on the shelf without a single bottle limit.  Quantities have been very scarce and getting a bottle previously was like getting Rolling Stones tickets - you had to be ready right at the onsale time.  Due to our budding relationship with Ardbeg, we've been in talks with them and their distribution about how we could continue the success we enjoyed in 2010.  In those discussions we thought that getting the always delicious Ardbeg 10 down to $39.99 would be a fantastic feat, so we made it happen and now everyone wins.  At that price, it's hard for me to think of a better value in the world of whisky right now. 

The last time we had the Corryvreckan it was over $80 so the new sticker price of $73.99 is lowest price on Wine Searcher right now by about $7.  Hopefully we can continue to offer it at a this price and hopefully it lasts long enough for everyone to get a bottle.

Enjoy the Ardbeg!

 -David Driscoll

Saturday
Mar052011

When The Customer Isn't Right?

I really enjoyed this article in today's New York Times because it is topical, relative to a customer service job like my own, and bound to stir up many different reactions from its readers.  The story is about restaurants in NYC that are refusing to offer alterations to their menus that stray from the original vision of the cuisine.  I won't ruin the reading experience by summarizing any further, but I wonder how far outside of restaurants this trend could extend.  For so long customer service has always been about pleasing the customer no matter what, many times in instances when the service demanded the ridiculous and over the top.  What cracks me up about these guys in the article is that they are completely flipping the anal-retentiveness around - a la the soup nazi.  I'm a big believer in voting with your pocketbook rather than throwing a temper tantrum, so this kind of enterprise really makes me smile because many people like to do both.  I wonder what would happen if I suddenly refused service to the customer who wants a 12 bottle box (something we are always short of) for his one bottle purchase because he drove here and he doesn't want the bottle to roll around in the car?

-David Driscoll