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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

9/24 - San Francisco: Monkey 47 w/Christoph Keller!

9/24 - Redwood City: Germain Robin K&L Exclusive Brandy!

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!


Monday
Jan172011

Diageo Dynamo!

Every year we in the industry wait with bated breath for Diageo to announce their yearly special bottling.   We expect fresh distillers' editions, which tend to be very consistent and well made whisky, but what we're really waiting for are the "Special Editions".  The States only see a sliver of the total Diageo special edition/release offerings each year.  Last year it consisted of Port Ellen 30 year, Brora 30 Year, Talisker 25 year and Lagavulin 12 year.  They released single barrels at outrageous prices, but those were UK only.  In any case, the "Special Editions" are consistently exceptional, though generally predictable and always expensive.  Last year, Diageo did something different. They took a RISK! Highly unusual behavior for a publicly traded multination beverage company.  That said, they really don't have much to lose.  Their products are more popular than ever, the holy grail for all, but the geekiest among us.  What they truly have on the line is their credibility with this tiny portion of the customer base.  Fortunately, I'm part of that minority.

Diageo is like the Empire from Star Wars.  We all love to hate them, talk about how they're heartless, faceless, loveless.  In the end, we are forced to sheepishly admit they are at the very least really good at what they do.  Whether it's oppressing freedom on a Galactic level or distilling some of Scotland's very best whisky, all must acknowledge their ruthless efficiency and striking effectiveness.  Whatever risk Diageo has assumed with these new releases, it was clearly calculated, even decisive.  The new line is diverse and unique.  I don't think I need to adjust my expectations, this line up over delivers almost across the board.  The bottles are of course mostly very expensive to the point that all but the most "comfortable" (read: flush) Single Malt consumer will feel these bottles totally out of reach for everyday consumption.  I was lucky enough to taste the whole lot. Their organizational structure maybe multinational corporation, but we have to acknowledge that people still actually work at these distilleries.  These are real people who know how to make great whisky.  Remember, it wasn't the marketing team or executive committee that distilled these malts.  Here's our first review of the 2010 Diageo Special Edition Bottings:

Glenkinchie 20 Year Old 2010 Limited Edition Single Malt Whisky 750ml - $179.99

Shockingly, this was one of the favorite bottles of the evening.  I think many had preconceptions regarding the Glenkinchie 10 Year.  It has perhaps proved underwhelming at times.  Not that there's any particular fault with the 10 year, but it can feel touch pedestrian when poured next to Lagavulin 16 year.  Glenkinchie at strength with 20 years was a revelation.  Aged in American Oak, this whisky is fresh, fragrant and youthful. The nose is flowers, ripe fruit, and fresh barley, a smidge of minty tingle.  The palate brings citrus blossom and lighted honeyed touch of savory wood.  It finishes long, textured and flinty - a seamless integration of oak.  It's so soft and approachable, while retaining all it's intensity.  A velvet sledgehammer.  Exceptional! Bottled at 55.1%, Only 4854 Bottles made.  Stay tuned for more of my notes later in the week.

-David Girard

Sunday
Jan162011

New Stitzel-Weller Barrel Has Arrived

I'm definitely one for hyperbole, but I'm not a person who uses it unless I am seriously excited.  I have never lied about my enthusiasm for the intention of selling a bottle, so I want you all to know that I am speaking the straight truth when I say that our new batch of Jefferson's is the best Stitzel-Weller whiskey I have ever tasted.  Our staff just tasted the new batch and we stood there, dumbfounded, just staring at each other.  It's so much better than the last two barrels I'm not sure how I'm going to explain it when people ask why.  It's just luck, I guess.  To clarify, we do not get to taste these before they arrive.  We buy them because of the integrity of the source, certain in the fact that they will be high quality whiskies.  However, getting a barrel that really hits the high notes - sweet grains, creamy corn, vanilla and chocolate, grassy on the finish - can really make one's day.  I know that, given the fact that this is Van Winkle whiskey, many of you will be tempted to store this bottle away, saving it for a rainy day, but in this case I would advise you against it.  You all need to taste this right away, then worry about saving extra bottles.  I will admit, I was not a huge fan of our last two barrels.  They were good, but not fantastic in my opinion.  This new batch is Bourbon perfection, however.  I'm simply stunned at how good this whiskey is.  My highest recommendation, if that means anything.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Jan142011

Podcast #2 - Whiskey Expert Chuck Cowdery

This week I interview author/writer/expert Chuck Cowdery, author of the fantastic Bourbon, Straight and featured contributor to the Malt Advocate and Whisky magazines.  We talk about common misconceptions regarding bourbon, the history of the American whiskey industry, and some of the confusion regarding certain products on today's retail market.  Chuck's blog is also a great source of information regarding American whiskey topics.

Click here to download this week's podcast (remember to right click if you have a PC, or hold down option if you have a Mac).  It is also available via iTunes.

Or you can listen via our embedded Flash player:

Friday
Jan142011

Green Lighted

It's on.  March 21st to April 1st - David OG and I will be driving all over this country tasting barrel after barrel after barrel.  This is no vacation.  This is all business.  Watch out, Scotland.

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Jan122011

Corsair Single Barrel Rye Is In!

I was really nervous with the arrival of this barrel.  First it was late, then the label was in question, and then all this bad-mouthing of young whiskies starts catching fire across the internet.  Plus, it had been five months since I had last tasted it.  I was expecting these bottles to show up next week, but I walked into the warehouse today and there they were.  157 bottles of K&L exclusive rye whiskey right there in front of me.  I immediately uncorked a bottle and ran to the tasting bar to make sure my reputation wasn't going to go down in flames.  Pheeeeeeeew.......it's delicious.  For such a young whiskey, this is amazingly soft rye.  The rapid maturation that Corsair was able to accomplish is fantastic - soft vanilla, cherries, and a smoky finish, yet still the more austere textures of true rye.  The mouthfeel isn't creamy or sweetened like a bourbon would be, but this is so different that any other rye on the market.  In any case, you all will have to find out on your own.  We sold around twenty bottles today and there's a mass email coming soon, so it isn't going to last forever.  The Corsair K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Kentucky Rye is from a 100% rye mashbill and makes a fantastic new addition to our growing selection. I'm really confident that many of you are going to love it.  Although, I'm bracing myself for those of you who do not! :)

-David Driscoll