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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

10/29 - Redwood City: Alexander Murray Single Malts

11/5 - San Francisco: Alexander Murray Single Malts

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

1988 Blair Athol 25 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2001 Bowmore 12 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1990 Bruichladdich 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glen Ord 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Glenburgie 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1997 Glenrothes 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1998 Mortlach 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Imperial 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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 SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


1997 Benrinnes 17 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


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!


Sunday
May082011

Exit Through The Liquor Store

I finally got around to watching Exit Through The Gift Shop last night on Netflix instant and found so many parallels between the liquor industry and Banksy's message about art that I went to bed with my head spinning.  I won't ruin the movie for those who haven't seen it, but a critical theme of the movie concerns street artists who don't actually have any art in them - somewhat likable people who are motivated and excited about the possibilities of graffiti, but seem more interested in fame, money, or notoriety than actual expression.

I've been fascinated by my generation's penchant for believing they can do anything.  There have always been ambitious people with little talent for what they're trying to achieve, but it seems to be much worse now than I ever remember it being.  I think this comes from an inflated sense of self worth (given to us by teachers who told us we were very special when perhaps we weren't) and the instant audience provided from the world wide web.  Nowadays, one can instantaneously present their work to the world before the previously-important keepers of the gate can criticize or reject it (i.e. museum curators, book editors, night club bookers, distinguished professors, etc).  The internet has provided everyone with a voice should they want one.

With that voice some people have chosen to focus more on the marketing of themselves or their product than the actual substance of what they are doing.  Today one can witness tequila companies starting up overnight with fancy websites, quotes from famous experts in the industry, and a barrage of media hype, similar to the Mr. Brainwash blitz in Gift Shop.  There's no love, art, talent, or romance in many of these products, as they're simply the result of investors paying someone else to do the work for them (like distilling, aging, harvesting, etc.).  Yet, many of these campaigns are effective because people still tend to believe the hype. 

Whether or not Banksy's film is the perfect analogy or a giant prank on the public, the lessons are still legitimate.  The story is proof that people with no actual ability for the profession they've chosen can still be considered talanted, be profitable, and succeed by stealing ideas from others.  The desire by investors, collectors, and enthusiasts to purchase and own products like these is perhaps the biggest joke that Banksy exposes with his film.  The public's willingness to buy into the authenticity of these clowns only legitimizes what they are doing, at the expense of the people who actually know to do it. 

You can imagine how true artists like Banksy feel when the medium they've spent years perfecting gets co-opted by the "I can do it too with only five minutes of practice" generation. I'm sure there are many professional distillers, winemakers, and brewers out there dealing with that feeling right now.

-David Driscoll

Saturday
May072011

Old World Spirits Update

What's been going on with my good friend Davorin Kuchan over at Old World Spirits lately?  That's funny because I just asked myself the same question the other day, so I decided to go and find out.  When I arrived, Davorin was pumping kegs of Devil's Canyon IPA into a tank for future distillation, while simultaneously stripping a batch on his still.

Mmmmm.....essence of IPA fresh off the still.  Then into a barrel for aging.  Whisky anyone?

Speaking of whiskey, Davorin is almost ready to release his first batch of 100% rye.  I've been waiting for this stuff since last November!  It's almost ready!  This whiskey is amazingly light and soft for something so young.

I also got a chance to see the new Blade label, designed by our own K&L customer Armen Allen as part of a contest we held a while back.  Let's just say Armen won't be out of gin anytime soon.  What an improvement over the last bottle!

Davorin had been making a batch of absinthe before we got there and all those botanicals need to be cleaned out of the drain later on. 

Now that Davorin has signed with a larger distribution company, he has to pump out the orders faster than ever.  Yet, it all has to come from this one little room.  That's small production, folks!  Nevertheless, look for some exciting new projects from Davorin very soon.

-David Driscoll

Friday
May062011

K&L Spirits Podcast #15 - Importer Charles Neal

If you've ever come to K&L and thought, "I like the wines that K&L selects and the unique products they're able to find from small producers in other countries," then we've achieved our goal.  However, there are a number of importers who do the same thing we do, only they sell directly to retailers like us rather than to the public.  Charles Neal makes a living by going to the French countryside, in search of the finest alcoholic beverages that never quite make it stateside.  His selection of fine Cognac, Armagnac, and Calvados is unmatched by any other portfolio, namely because Charles has gone and found the finest, most interesting expressions.  Listen to him talk about his history, the products he imports, and the people who make them. 

This podcast episode can be downloaded here.  Previous episodes can be downloaded here from our archive or on iTunes.  You can also listen via our embedded Flash player here below.

Thursday
May052011

News Tidbits For Today

-Pappy 20 and 15 are sold out.  12 year is still available in LA as of now.

-Just picked up some of the Springbank 12 Year Fino Sherry Single Barrel Cask Strength.  Good price at $85.99 and the whisky is amazing.  Nutty, rich, and spicy.

-Word on the street is that Del Maguey released a super secret mezcal to restaurants and bars only this week.  We followed up on it and we'll be one of only 3 stores to get some of it in a few weeks.  Stay tuned.

-I'm in SF all day today if anyone wants to stop by and say hi.

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
May042011

New K&L Exclusive Scotland Barrel Release!

It’s about that time everyone!  Time for us to make another new barrel available at a special pre-arrival price for you whisky club email members.

Today’s release represents what we hope will be the beginning of a great new relationship with one of Scotland’s best independent bottlers – Douglas Laing.

David and I sat in a Glasgow office and poured over samples taken from the Laing Brothers’ collection.  There were so many bargains and so many great whiskies at fantastic prices!  We were in heaven.

Of course, we’re always looking for something rather exclusive, interesting, fun, or rare, as well as tasty, so we decided to go with this little gem as the first step towards more business with the Laings.

1998 Blair Athol K&L Exclusive 12 Year Old Provenance Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky PRE-ARRIVAL PRICE $69.99 (retail price to be $79.99) - One of the most exciting parts of our recent trip to Scotland was the visit we had with the Laing brothers, a pair of independent bottlers who don't dabble too much in the U.S. market.  We were pretty sure that these guys were sitting on a veritable treasure trove of barrels, however, and our tasting with them did not disappoint.  One of the best deals our journey uncovered was an explosive little cask of Blair Athol, a Diageo-owned distillery in the Eastern Highland town of Pittlochary.  Located just a few miles from Edradour, this quaint little operation is one of the oldest in Scotland (founded in 1798), but is more widely regarded for its role in Bell's Blended than for its single malt potential.  This 12 year old barrel will open some eyes, however - big, rich, enticing aromas of dried fruits, a supple mouthfeel with roasted almond skin flavors, and, while we don't think it was peated, there are definitely traces of smoke on the finish.  David OG and I both double-starred this entry on our tasting notes as a sure-fire winner.  For the price, it may be the best overall deal we found in Scotland.

 

This Blair Athol represents what may be the value of the trip.  A stupendous whisky from a Diageo-owned distillery that we rarely ever see bottled as a single malt.  Only 150 bottles total in what was a smaller cask.  That made it a no brainer.