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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

7/9 - San Francisco: No Tasting

7/9 - Redwood City: Ron Zacapa Rum

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

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


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 26 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky PRE-ORDER


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 PRE-ORDER


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 IN STOCK NOW!


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!


Bladnoch 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive Lightly Peated Single Barrel #303 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2005 Glenrothes 8 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Sherry Barrel 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!


1989 Cragganmore 23 Year Old Faultline Single Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 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!


1983 Miltonduff 30 Year Old Faultline Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750m IN STOCK NOW!


Monday
Aug092010

New Developments at Alameda's St. George

Last Friday, I used my day off to head over to Alameda and check over on the boys from the Bay's most beloved distillery.  Not only did I want to take my wife out to nose the view and taste the sights, I also wanted some answers to a few questions: when would the next batch of Firelit be ready? What did the new Aqua Libre rum taste like?  Were we still planning on bottling a private barrel of whiskey?  Could I drink as much free booze as I wanted?

When we arrived, Dave Smith was ready with all of the answers I came seeking.  His new batch of Firelit coffee liqueur was made with a different bean - some dark African roast if I remember correctly - but still really delicious.  We watched it sway to and fro in the maceration tank as we sipped on samples fresh out the beaker.  They plan on bottling this week so it shouldn't be too much longer.  The Aqua Libre rum is due in stores this week and is made in the agricole style from fresh cane juice, rather than molasses like most rums.  These are not rich, dark, or sweet caramel spirits, but rather bold and assertive flavors that are made to mix rather than sip.  For the style after which they are modeled, they are flawless recreations.  I can't wait to taste them in a cocktail at the Bar Agricole opening tomorrow.

As for a private barrel, I'm still trying to convince Dave to give me his own special project: a whiskey aged partially in bourbon barrels with a second maturation in apple brandy wood.  He is reluctant to part with his "baby," but Lance seemed keen on making a splash, so we'll see where this goes.  Point is - we will be doing a K&L exclusive St George whiskey in the future with some frankensteinian creation they've strung together in that mad laboratory of theirs.  

If you haven't been out to St. George, it's a great day trip.  You should treat yourself.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Aug062010

Private Barrels Update!

There is so much happening with our private barreling program right now that it's hard for me to keep it all straight.  We are continuing to push distributors and distilleries to start thinking in a different direction and I am using our good relations here domestically to get some pretty incredible deals.  Here's the current timetable for the rest of the year (note: none of these dates are guaranteed as they seem to change every week):

Due in mid-August:

1982 Clynelish 27 Year Single Barrel Cask Strength, A.D. Rattray $115.99 - SOLD OUT

1991 Aberlour 19 Year Single Barrel Cask Strength, A.D. Rattray $77.99 - Still available to pre-order

Buffalo Trace Single Cask #162 Bourbon $24.99 - Available now

Due in late October:

McCarthy (Clear Creek) Oregon Single Barrel Whiskey - price TBA ($80-ish?)  - I just met with Steve yesterday and he is very excited about this.  He has never done a private bottling before for anyone, and if you've had his whiskey, you know that it tastes like it was made on Islay right next to Ardbeg or Laphroaig.  It is always made in miniscule quantities and it is seemingly always sold out.  This is going to be very exciting and we plan on having a tasting in early November with Steve present to sign the bottles.

Due in late December/January:

1982 ???????? 28 Year Single Barrel Cask Strength, Chieftain's Single Malt Whisky $130-ish - This is going to be one of my favorites as I am becoming more and more a fan of the long-aged, unsherried Speyside and Highland malts.  The delicacy and complexity are astounding.

This is only what we have confirmed for now, but we have many more in the works!  Stay tuned.

-David Driscoll

 

Wednesday
Aug042010

Tasting The Whistle Pig With Dave Pickerell

Whistle Pig Farm is a distillery in Shoreham, Vermont being run by David Pickerell, who served as master distiller at Maker's Mark for more than a decade.  While most distilleries produce a white dog, or young whiskey to pay the bills while their good stuff ages, David went out and found a few barrels of something we'd actually want to drink.  His new bottling of 100% Canadian-distilled rye aged in the American style is going to impress just about every whiskey fan out there.  He stopped by the store today to sign all the bottles and taste us on this much-hyped release.  This rye is for big flavor hunters in the traditinon of Stagg, Van Winkle, and Handy.  The nose is rich and enticing and the color of the whiskey itself is a dark amber that just looks like its loaded with caramel and barrel spice.  The first sip lets you know that it actually is - this rye is brimming with vanilla, orange peel, and other baking spices.  This is a big, mouth-coating rye that finishes long and creamy, but never loses the kick of the rye itself.  This is going to be huge, mark my words. 

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Aug032010

Do It Yourself Whiskey.....Genius?

I just got done tasting the Wasmund's line-up and, people, I was very impressed.  I love the rusticity of young American whiskey and both the Copper Fox Rye and Wasmund's Single Malt are dynamite examples of innovation - using wood chips from apple and cherry wood to help age the whiskey faster.  I think that their claim to fame, however, is going to be the home whiskey kit they just released.  It's two bottles of their fantastic unaged rye spirit or single malt spirit in a box with a 1.5 liter oak barrel.  You then pour in your two bottles and let the aging process begin.  The barrel has a spigot so you can release the whiskey when you want to sample it.  I think it's ingenius.  For $63.99 it's a freakin' steal just for the experience.  Honestly, the rye spirit is the best white whiskey I've yet tasted, so I'd be curious to see how it ages in a small barrel without the wood chips they're using in the Copper Fox.  These should be in stock soon.  

-David Driscoll

Monday
Aug022010

Devolution of Experience

I had a great conversation with a customer in the store last week who drove all the way from Nevada to pick out some unique bottles of booze.  When it came time to choose a nice Cognac, he turned to me slowly and said to me very directly, "I want something with balls, not this sweet and smooth nonsense."  Not only was he speaking my language literally (as I have a notoriously dirty mouth), but also figuratively as I knew exactly what he meant.  He didn't want something with a kick or with high alcohol, but rather a brandy made with real flavor, not simply a richer spirit that's all wood and caramel. As we started talking booze, he brought up a pet theme of mine that I could spout off about for hours: the dumbing-down of experience for the sake of the entry level payoff.  I can see how that might not make sense so I'll elaborate.

I have my own examples of what I mean based on my own interests (books, film, booze), but I loved how this guy had his own personal peeves.  "It's like camera equipment or camping gear!" he exclaimed and I pressed him to explain a bit further.  As a serious photo enthusiast, he stated that every new high-end camera was made cheaply these days and without the various options that appeal to the serious photographer.  The intent is obviously to market their formerly esoteric equipment to a greater number of people, but they do so at the expense of their true diehards.  Those with patience and experience would rather take the necessary time and training to understand what makes their product, while more difficult to comprehend at first, ultimately more rewarding over time.  It takes a while to understand shutter speed and aperture, but in the end when you understand their relation to film speed you will take better pictures than any default setting on a digital camera.  Experience is the key to appreciating high quality because it takes time to understand all these complicated concepts, but these days everyone wants to be an expert right out of the gate.

All of this guy's opinions on camera equipment, followed by my views on modern literature, ended up leading into our shared feelings towards booze.  These days, everything is manipulated to taste good to the greatest number of people, forsaking those of us who appreciate the traditional character, which isn't immediately agreeable or even apparent to the novice drinker. Tequila is the best example of this, but there are a growing number of rich, oaky, and vanilla-loaded single malts that are geared towards the inexperienced.  I say "inexperienced" because they're priced like premium spirits despite their obvious lack of quality and character.  The hope is that someone that's new to the genre will want to feel like an expert and pay a boat load of cash for their bottle, oblivious to the fact that what they're really getting is a bottle full of crap. 

Any one else out their have a similar opinion about this societal devolution?  Please chime in on the comment field if you do.  I loved hearing about how camera equipment fit into this formula.

-David Driscoll