A Pack of Sigs

When I posted on the Laphroaig and Cambus casks a few days back, I didn't make a big deal out of the whiskies. The Laphroaig cask is a stunner, it will sell itself, and that will be that. The Cambus is an odd duck, but it's an accessible one and ultimately the word will get out and there will be plenty for everyone. It was a gigantic sherry butt of grain whisky, so I'm not worried anyone will miss out. Today, however, we've got the two underdogs that you might want to take a risk on.

It seems odd to call Glenlivet an "underdog," but at K&L it's not a name our customers get excited about. For the discerning single malt drinker Glenlivet is something you start out with as a beginner, but then quickly graduate from. It's a relatively inexpensive brand that's made in fairly large quantities, so it doesn't necessarily fit in with our smaller, more limited edition style of whisky releases. This first-fill sherry barrel, however, is something we've been sitting on for a long time. We actually picked this cask out during our 2012 trip, but never got it bottled as part of that year's crop. Des, the warehouse manager at Signatory, was kind enough to put a "taken" sign on the cask, however (since Des looks and talks like Liam Neeson, we're always trying to get him to say "this cask has been taken" after we choose one, to which David and I start laughing uncontrollably, while Des wonders what's wrong with us).

This year, however, we made sure to bring it in and we actually decided not to bottle it at cask strength. We knew the idea of a heavily-sherried Glenlivet would appeal to a lot of budding whisky drinkers or casual fans, so we didn't want to blow their mouths off with high alcohol single malt. We wanted something interesting, yet easy to handle and we definitely got that. This 16 year old Glenlivet drinks like a 16 year old Glendronach: it's rich with loads of toffee and nuttiness, soft and supple, with a long rancio sherry finish. I think it might end up being the most popular whisky we sell this year (and with 700 bottles we should reach a large number of different customers). I'm excited for everyone to try it.

1997 Glenlivet 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky $75.99 -- Available now!

This is the sleeper cask from Signatory this year, much like the Fettercairn from the Exclusive Malts. It's an 18 year old single Bourbon cask of Speyside whisky. Not hogshead, mind you, but Bourbon cask -- smaller barrel with more richness within its wood. It's really done a number on the Miltonduff. You get richness without sweetness, ripe fruit, but with spice instead of suppleness. It's never hot, or herbaceous, however, the way a second-fill hogshead cask-aged whisky can be, with little inflection of wood upon the spirit itself. There's no question that the Miltonduff spent 18 years in first fill Bourbon. It's lovely stuff and, in the new world of 18 year old whiskies, this is far, far, far less that what you'll pay for Talisker, Glendronach, Springbank, or Macallan. Again, it's a total sleeper. Those who pull the trigger will be shocked because,'s Miltonduff.

Miltonduff 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $79.99

-David Driscoll



I want to first thank everyone who came out to Bar Agricole for our little party last night. We had about 70+ people in the house and the event went very smoothly. Thanks to all the K&L customers who tasted, said hello, and talked with Kyle and me about the brandies. I really appreciated the turnout and the positive things everyone had to say about the spirits. It's great to know that we're making some headway with these bottles and that others besides ourselves are gravitating towards these selections.

It's always tough to be your own hype man because no one ever believes what you say. Why would they? Of course David likes it. He's the one selling it. When you get the confirmation from people, especially from discerning customers who know their booze, it always makes us feel great. Here are some of the nice things I've received via email lately from our wonderful clientele:

About the new K&L Signatory Laphroaig cask:

Just got my shipment today. Did a side by side with my 1990 Signatory Laphroaig 19 year. Yours blows it away! Both are Signatory cask strength, yours however had a bigger mouthfeel and texture and it far more interesting with intense lemon custard. Once again, I thank you! My 19 year was $180.

About the new Faultline Bourbon:

Well done on this. Opened up a bottle for dinner last night with several friends. The Faultline was the favorite of all but one of us (and second place for her) over recent NAS Black Maple Hill, Four Roses small batch, and last year's K&L Rock Hill Farms barrel.  I give the edge to the RHF on the nose, but none of those come close to the Faultline on the finish.

About the new Fuenteseca Tequila:

This stuff is outstanding. I'm writing you now more than 5 minutes after my last sip and I can still taste everything. The finish is long and flavorful, not sweet and woody.  I could write more, but I need to go pour myself another dram. I have already put two more bottles on my wait list. You have hit it out of the park with this tequila blend. Kudos to you.

There's also a great new review from Kevin at the Tequila Tourist, who gives a very straightforward and accurate account from an unbiased third-party.

About the new 1979 Faultline Blended Whisky:

The Faultline 32-year blend was amazing.  Drank it on Sunday.   I need another bottle.  How close are you to selling it out?

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences with us. It's nerve-racking sometimes to tell people about how excited you are for your own spirits releases because everyone always assumes you're in it for the money and sales. I'm in it for the feedback, however. I'm a feedback junkie. Thanks to all of you for feeding my habit and believing in what we're doing out here.

-David Driscoll


Two New Casks on the Shelf

Unfortunately we didn't have any leftovers from our Jura and Imperial casks, but the first two Signatory whiskies from this year's crop have hit the shelves. We're processing the Miltonduff and Glenlivet casks today, so those should be here this week in addition. For now, check out what we think are two of the best whiskies we have in stock -- period.

1991 Cambus 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky $109.99 - Here we go! After two years of hunting for a replacement to our wildly successful single grain Girvan, we've finally found a cask of grain worthy of our discerning customers. Cambus is among the most difficult-to-find grain distilleries, for a couple of reasons: it's been closed since 1993, and it's rumored to be at the heart of the Johnnie Walker Blue bottlings. No surprise that it's difficult to find--if Diageo is relying on this whisky to produce one of its most sought-after blends, it will certainly be controlling as much stock as possible. Occasionally, small lots slip out of the blender's grasp and into our glass! Here we have a super-high quality grain in all its awkward splendor. This nose is all oak spice and vibrant fresh fruit. Clove, coriander, freshly grated nutmeg, apple skins, under-ripe mango. On the palate, the fruit takes over, plus vanilla cake frosting, and the baking spices remain subdued, with a bit of coconut and some fresh oak notes. A perfect example of why sometimes, we must not blend all of the grain. (David Othenin-Girard, K&L Spirits Buyer)

1997 Laphroaig 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $115.99 - We love Laphroaig. Everybody loves Laphroaig (if they don't hate it). Not a lot of people on the fence regarding Laphroaig. That's why it's really hard to get. It's really expensive as well; this is both cause and effect. We've seen prices go up, while quality has remained consistent. We took on a middle-aged Laphroaig last year and sold it for what seemed like a reasonable $140. Now we have another cask of Laphroaig and it's difficult not to oversell it. If we're always so effusive about every whisky we taste, people start to question our judgment. So, I'm just going to say that this is top-tier Laphroaig. It's in that prime moment between the intensity of a young Laphroaig and that depth of the older offerings from this legendary distillery. This was the whisky that we spent time wringing our hands about because we were expecting to be paying the same price as our 18 year from 2012, but somehow we were able to get the price down to something far more reasonable. It won't last, and it will go down as a hot deal in our single barrel history. Don't miss it! (David Othenin-Girard, K&L Spirits Buyer)

We'll see you tonight at Bar Agricole for our big brandy party!

-David Driscoll


Only Two Days Away!

Are you ready for the brandy party of the year? Are you ready for five dollar cocktails made with the finest French spirits, sourced directly by your friends at K&L and Bar Agricole? Are you ready for a flight of three brandies: 1993 Miquer Armagnac, 1998 Baraillon Folle Blanche Armagnac, and the new Bouju Fines Saveur Cognac?

We're hoping you'll join us at Bar Agricole this Tuesday evening starting at 7:30. Charles Neal will be there. Thad, Eric, and Craig will be there. I'll be there with Kyle in tow. Bring some $5 bills. We'll be selling $5 pours of brandy, or all three for $10. We'll have the entire outside patio to ourselves and the weather should be lovely. A classic Fall evening in the city with some of the best French spirits you can imagine.

Come hang out!

-David Driscoll


Rutledge's Choice

If there's anyone in this industry I want to be like, it's Jim Rutledge. He is absolutely one of my biggest mentors. Not because I want to make whiskey like him (which I wish I could, obviously), but because of the kind, friendly, and open-hearted way he treats everyone he meets. He will bend over backwards for you and he's happy to do it. I watch him and the way he handles his customers and I take note.

When I was having trouble finding a cask of Four Roses single barrel I liked, Jim sent me an email saying, "What's up?" I told him that all of the samples they had been sending out were good, but that I was being picky. I was waiting for the gut feeling I get and the excitement that goes through my spine when I taste something superlative. Jim told me, "Well I'm going to drive out to the warehouse tomorrow and pick your samples myself. I'm sure I can find something that will excite you." And so he did. And now that whiskey is here.

There's nothing out of the ordinary or unique about this whiskey, no ripe banana notes or soft cherries, and nothing new. This OBSV cask is simply straightforward, classic, and honest -- much like Rutledge himself. Creamy vanilla, a healthy dose of spice, lots of sweet wood on the finish with a touch of burnt sugar. It's a whopper, too, at 61.6% and 10.5 years of age. It's not a Bourbon you absolutely need to have -- there's nothing collectable about it and it's not something we haven't seen before. It's probably a Bourbon that you'll want, however. I want one, at least.

In stock now.

Four Roses K&L Exclusive OBSV Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon $59.99

-David Driscoll