Early Pappy Games Begin

For all of those who cannot get Pappy Van Winkle when they want it, I offer you the following…..

1991 Jefferson’s 18 Year Old Reserve Kentucky Bourbon $75.99 (elsewhere $90 - $100) - Everyone wants the Van Winkle whiskey – the legendary Stitzel Weller Bourbon from the now-defunct distillery.  Unbeknownst to most people, there are other ways of getting it besides directly from the Van Winkles.  Willett has put out a few casks of SW over the last few years, and we’ve been lucky enough to work with Jefferson’s as well.  Now, the time as finally come when that finite supply of SW Bourbon has run dry.  There are no more single barrels to purchase and Jefferson’s is putting together the last of what they have in stock into this 18 year old batch.  It IS chill-filtered and it is not from a single barrel, but it is Stitzel Weller Bourbon and it is delicious.  It’s rich, full of spice, and most importantly – it’s about $15 to $25 cheaper than other places.  We snagged the last 210 bottles available at the distributor. 

We will be getting more SW Bourbon from Willett later this year, but it will be cask strength and 20 years old.  It will also be at least $100 MORE per bottle, so around $180 or so.  We will also be getting more Pappy in the next few weeks, but only about 12 bottles of the 20.  This is the LAST, best chance to get what you need at a reasonable price.  Use the link and take what you need

UPDATE: We've sold over 100 in the first hour.  These WILL sell out by 3PM PST. 

-David Driscoll


Customers Respond to the Pappy Games

We have one entry already.  Tim from Los Angeles.  In his request, he wrote:

David To The North, 

I write you regarding your Pappy Van Winkle allocation. 

I would link you to the copious photos of my endless hoard of Pappy, all years and all expressions, but I believe that those who flaunt do not have a true understanding of what it means to TRULY hoard. I have accumulated vast numbers of bottles - so many that I could kill the entire state of California with alcohol poisoning six times over - that spill out from five or six storage units in Los Angeles. I do not post photos because my hoard is not to be seen by human eyes. In fact, I believe that the mere light of my iPhone's camera can irreversibly taint the delicate molecules of alcohol. Thus, all of my bottles are stored in their velvet bags, inside styrofoam containers, double boxed, double taped and then wrapped with kraft paper. The storage units are secured with a Mul-T-Lok which is bump-proof and pick-resistant. I have no intention of ever drinking any of this fine whiskey; I only get enjoyment from an ever-increasing stash of it. 

I tell you this because I believe you are the only whisky merchant who would have an appreciation as to why it's so important that this whiskey is appropriately hoarded. I do not buy it for investment or speculative value; I buy it merely to own it and not drink it. (This is similar to my viewpoint on many items I own - I also bought our kitchen table for the sole purpose of ownership and it is strictly NOT TO BE EATEN UPON).

Finally, I find it important to tell you that I trained with world-renowned Serge of the Valentins and he gave me a 93, adding, "thanks for the sample, Steffen!". 

While we have yet to review Tim officially, he appears to be a fierce contestant.  When the Pappy Games finally begin, they will function as follows: we will set all 24 contestants in front of a computer, linking them to the K&L website.  We will put the bottles on sale at a specific time and the participants must move quickly to login, add the bottles to their cart, then check out as quickly as possible.  All contestants will be wearing a destructive collar around their neck while typing.  Those who check out successfully and win the bottle of Pappy will live to drink their award.  Those who fail to check out in time will have their head exploded by the collar. 

Good luck to all those who play, and may the odds ever be in your favor.

-David Driscoll

The Pappy Games

To be considered for a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon this year at K&L, all those interested in procuring this precious elixer must send me their email address to be placed inside of a lottery.  We will choose twenty four names and those chosen will be sent to a large arena where they will battle to the death.  The last person standing will receive K&L's total allocation of Pappy Van Winkle for 2012.  The more pictures of yourself or your previous PPVW bottle collection that you've posted online via Facebook or Twitter, the more times we will allow you to put your name into the reaping.  Before the event begins, there will be a training session where both David OG and myself evaluate the skills of each contestent and rank the strength of each participant with a score of somewhere between 70 and 100 points (with anything over 90 decreeing a worthwhile contender).  If you're interested in participating in this year's Pappy Games, please contact me.  Allocations are coming soon and we need to determine a winner before then.

-David Driscoll


Things Are Complicated

I'm almost always thinking about booze.  Usually, it's in a philosophical sense - not about some deal I need to make, but rather about the role of alcohol in our lives and whether it actually makes them better.  Lately, I've been so bombarded by new arrivals and tasting notes that I've had little time to ponder much more than the cost of a bottle.  Some of you may appreciate that more, sick of reading my babbles about booze theory, but I hope there is an audience out there somewhere.  What struck me the other night, while watching an episode of the Colbert Report, was an interview that Stephen conducted with a prominent war journalist.  Colbert asked him for his stance (either pro or anti) on some of the confrontations he had involved himself in and the reporter responded with one of the best answers I've ever heard: it's too complicated.

Perhaps when you're young, bold, and opinionated, it can be easy to be either "for" or "against" the Iraq war, or to firmly side with Israel or Palestine.  What I found so relieving about the journalist's answer, however, was the fact that true experience taught him never to jump to conclusions.  While I've never been part of an armed engagement, I can only imagine the myriad of components to consider when trying to establish the truth of what's happening.  Yet, sitting here from far away, it seems like so many people believe they understand the intricate nature of each conflict.  This man, who had been there and experienced the war, could only say that there was simply too much to consider when trying to summarize a final opinion.  So what does this have to do with booze?

I think that perhaps I've let my own opinions about large corporations complicate my opinion about some of the products they own or produce.  Sometimes it's easy to lump an entire portfolio under the Diageo umbrella, or to dismiss big house Cognac as simply adulterated.  I've listened to other opinions about these matters and I've heard some interesting points of view.  However, the more that I work in this business, the more I am introduced to the people behind these products, many of whom completely throw a wrench in my firm-standing beliefs.  For example, last week, when Mr. Raguenaud from Grand Marnier paid us a visit - we were all less than enthused about this corporate giant and their "mass-produced" orange liqueur.  However, when we tasted with Patrick and we sensed his passion for the craft, we all left feeling a bit ashamed of ourselves.  Sure, Grand Marnier is run by luxury brand-owner LVMH and they run huge ad campaigns all over the world, but does that mean their product isn't any good?

Now that's not to say that you should support Grand Marnier instead of a locally-made or smaller-production orange liqueur.  It's just to say that things are complicated.  It's not easy to simply lump brands or products together based on an overall ideal.  I've had a few more of these experiences since Grand Marnier visited, including a run in with a tequila producer I was sure I wanted to avoid, but ended up being completely won over by his passion.  If you would have asked me six months ago how I felt about corporate-run, big-brand spirits, I probably would have given you a blanket answer.  Now, however, I need to analyze that question on a case by case basis.  There are too many facets of the booze business that cannot be summarized so easily.

-David Driscoll


The Kurani Kid Discusses Our New Liqueurs

Kyle Kurani breaks down three new liqueurs soon to be at K&L this week in another video confessional.  Look for all three starting tomorrow in the Redwood City store.