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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

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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
Feb032011

Saturday Is Pisco Sour Day!

Walter Moore, co-chair of the fabulous SF-based Campo de Encanto Pisco brand, stopped by the store today to remind me that this coming Saturday is National Pisco Sour day.  His partner in crime, the smooth-talking Duggan McDonnell is down in Lima as I type this, getting behind the stick for a week long Peruvian party with the locals.  These guys must be pretty excited because their stuff has been chosen as the official pisco for the party, an honor that seems almost impossible to be true, considering it's run by foreigners and has almost zero recognition outside the Bay Area.  That should tell you something about the quality of Encanto (which I whole-heartedly vouch for). 

Walter will be running a pub crawl here in SF to celebrate this Saturday, culminating at Cantina around 9 PM where they'll be shelling out $5 Pisco Sours while a DJ pumps out the jams.  If you're feeling like more of a home body, Duggan left this recipe for us domestic mixologists:

All's Fair In War & Pisco (a most passionate cocktail)

In a tall glass pour:

2 fingers Encanto

1 part fresh citrus

2 parts ginger ale

add ice, stir, and float a small amount of red wine on top

As you can see in the above photo, our pisco selection has doubled to four outstanding selections, the Encanto on the left and the three new Viñas de Oro piscos, all from different varietals, and all absolutely stellar in their quality.  There are so many more interesting drinks that include pisco for us to experiment with, including the sour, that can be tweaked for additional flavor.  There is really little need for vodka in this day and age with the emergence of pisco.  It functions in many of the same ways, but with more depth, texture, and flavor.  Heck, Duggan's new recipe is pretty much a Moscow Mule that's been altered just a bit.  I know what I'm drinking tonight.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Feb032011

Operation Success!

A big thank you to everyone who made it out to Martin's West last night for the Snow Phoenix tasting.  I was so happy that more than twenty people came and had a taste!  The bottle was gone in less than 45 minutes, so we're buying two bottles for next week.  This coming Tuesday will feature the brand new Glenmorangie Finealta, an elegant, lightly-peated offering from one of my favorite distilleries.  In an attempt to promote the tastings effectively, we've decided to plan this out a few weeks at a time, so after the Finealta we're going to pour the Compass Box Double Single, which I know so many of you have been dying to taste.  The following Tuesday should showcase the Connemara 12 Peated Irish from Cooley distillery, a whiskey I got to revisit recently with John Cashman.  All of these whiskies are selections that peak the curiosity, but keep people teetering back and forth in their decision to actually purchase a bottle.  Allow me to lift the curtain of uncertainty and allow you all to know once and for all if these are must-haves, or simply delicious could-have-beens. 

One thing I've learned that will be remedied next time - we'll all meet in the back and sit in closer proximity so it's more like a group, rather than spread out all over the place!  Hey, it's still a work in progress.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Feb012011

Podcast #5 - Ardbeg/Glenmorangie's David Blackmore

I managed to track down the ever-traveling David Blackmore while on a short layover at Glenmorangie HQ to discuss the dealings of his brands.  David is brand ambassador for both Ardbeg and Glenmorangie and serves as the right-hand man to Bill Lumsden, the head whisky creator.  We discussed some upcoming releases, the role of whisky bloggers, and the rumors surrounding the new Ardbeg Alligator.  Overall, a fantastic new discussion to add with the others.

The podcast can be downloaded here (remember to right click for PC users and hold option for Mac users).

If you want to revisit some of the older episodes, then click here for the archive.

You can also listen here via our embedded flash player:

 

Tuesday
Feb012011

Berry Bros & Rudd Rum Collection - WOW

I am likely going to be scaling back the vodka, liqueur, tequila, and rum selection at the RWC store, namely because most of what we sell is coming out of LA and SF.  Those are the big markets for those spirits.  RWC has become the brown goods store and I need more space for the aged potions. 
 
Yet, no sooner do I make that decision when a set of rums comes along that BLOWS ME AWAY.  Berry Bros & Rudd is one of the most famous liquor stores in the world and frequently bottles its own goods.  Their new set of rums is simply dyn-o-mite and are all aged 10+ years from islands all over the world.  I'll have pictures on the blog in a little while.  Here's what's available, but I don't have pricing yet.  I'm hoping they're not too expensive because I want ALL of them.  They're authentic and show the regionality of rum like no other series I've ever tasted.  I am seriously considering doing a tasting with the whole collection very soon at Martin's West.
 
Guadeloupe 12 Year - vanilla extract on the nose, good rum character, not viscious or sweet, but rich with flavor and a dry, spicy heat.
 
St Lucia 11 Year - tea and honey aromas with cherries, one of the most bizzare palates I have ever tasted on any spirit ever, but yet still enticing - fruit steeped with herbal tea and laced with menthol.  Weird, weird, weird, but I want more.
 
Panama 10 Year - classic, golden rum flavor, good balance of wood and vanilla, pure rum
 
Barbados 11 Year - luscious fruit aromas with golden honey, softer palate that tastes exactly like bourbon, lots of wood on the finish, a perfect crossover rum
 
Grenada 13 Year - thicker, fatter textures but with little pronounced sweetness, classic sugarcane rum flavor with a vanilla finish
 
Fijian 9 Year - the most tropical of the series, honey and sugarcane dance with coconut and tropical fruit on the nose.  This would make the best pina colada ever or mai tai.
These are amazing bottlings that showcase the variety of rum flavors, as well as the quality it can offer spirits fans.  Look for these in the near future (given that they do not cost too much!).
-David Driscoll



Sunday
Jan302011

It Begins: Tasting @ Martins West - EVERY Tuesday

Starting this coming Tuesday, we will begin a weekly tasting at Martin's West here in Redwood City.  There will only be one whisk(e)y available per night, but it will be something new and exciting and, even better, we will sell it at cost - no mark up.  What does that mean?  It means that starting at 6 PM, you can come over and drink the new Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix with me for about $3 a pour.  You get the standard 1.5 oz and not a little baby 1/4 oz tasting portion.  There are no reservations and you cannot order seven shots for yourself all at once.  I have no problem however with multiple pours so we'll keep filling your glass until we run out. 

This is a great way to meet up, chat, taste new whiskies, and keep things affordable.  If you're in the area, just come in and have a taste then you can be on your way.  Or stay, have a burger, and chill out.  It's up to you.  I promise you that by this summer, Tuesday nights at Martin's West are going to be the biggest thing on the Peninsula for whisky fans. 

I'll see you there.

-David Driscoll