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


2001 Bowmore 13 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1990 Bruichladdich 24 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!


Thursday
Mar312011

Edradour Pictures

Alright! I found a faster connection via the airport service that I signed up for my first day here, so I'm rocking with photos now.  We pulled up to Edradour in the middle of a downpour, but by the time we left the sun was starting to shine through the grey mountain mist.  That gave us a chance to snap a few pictures of this fairy tale-esque, tiny distillery.  With the river running through the middle, the sound of running water permeates every room in the facility, even in the warehouse while we were going through barrels.  Des met us on our arrival and immediately took us up to the store for some tasting.

If you've ever thought to yourself, "Why don't we get that bottle in the states?" I can give you reason number one right now: our stupid 750ml liquor bottles.  No one else in the world (except South Africa) bottles at that measure and no one else designates that liquor must come in that or 375ml sizes.  Edradour has a TON of different expressions and only 5% of them are available in the U.S. because they bottle single cask expressions in 500ml bottles.  They don't want to deal with the bureaucracy involved with getting them stateside, so they say just forget it.  We're really missing out as you can see from the shelves above.

The distillation room at Edradour is cute like a babies little fingers are cute.  So teeny tiny, so adorable!  They only make about mash about 1.15 tons of barley a day for distillation, but MAN! was that barley aromatic and delicious smelling.  David and I stuck our heads in the tank and couldn't believe how fragrant it was.  The stills are wide and dumpy which allows the heavier alcohols to find their way through and that makes Edradour an oily, chewier malt.  The whole place is so quaint and wonderful, and because Edradour is owned by Signatory, the shop is full of their amazing bottlings as well.

So then began the Signatory side of today's business.  I don't want to reveal too much until it all gets worked out, but if we have our way this will be the year that K&L resurrects the departed and forgotten distilleries of the Lowlands.  I've had such education on this trip and I never realized how much I DIDN'T know until now.  The indy bottling business is tough and right now it is next to impossible for these guys to get new casks.  Signatory was smart and they went big a few years back when they saw this trend coming.  They're sitting on some wonderful barrels and they let David and I run freely through their selection as we jumped up and down, high-fiving, and thinking to ourselves, "Oh my God! We can really take this?"

As David and I sit here at the Hitlon bar, drinking a beer, conducting business via the internet and getting ready to fly back, I know we're both as exhausted as we are excited.  I can't wait to get back and share some of the experiences we've had on this trip with all of our customers.  I've also got loads of great video for the blog when I get a better connection back at home.  Until then. 

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Mar312011

Last Day - Edradour/Signatory

I have plenty of beautiful pictures to show you, but they'll have to wait because the wifi at the Hilton by the airport is super slow.  It's taking ten minutes to get one picture online and I'm not patient enough to wait.  Big tasting today at Edradour with Signatory.  I'll say this for now and then post the rest later:

- Since I know for a fact other retailers have infiltrated my customer email list and are using my notices as a tool to jump the gun and undercut our pricing before we get it established, I'm assuming you're doing the same with the blog.  If you sneaky folks are reading this, let me just tell you that you're really missing out by not getting over to Scotland. Some of the people we've visited have never met with ANY American retailer and are happy to sell us wonderful casks. We're about to blow the single malt roof off of 2011, so I hope you can keep getting by working low margins and taking what your distributor can get for you.

- We just tasted insane casks and if the pricing works out, we'll be bringing in insane whiskies.  Insane whiskies.  INSANE WHISKIES.

More later...

-David Driscoll

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