Scotland - Day 2: Some Thought

First off, let me say that Edinburgh is a fantastic city.  We'd never spent any time here, usually landing at the airport, hitting the meeting with Chieftain's, and then bolting for the country.  Last night, however, we had some extra time to walk around, visit a few whisky shops, and take in the beautiful architecture and the stark contrasts between the dark grey stone and the ultra-green hills.  We found a lively restaurant for dinner, almost too good to be true called The Outsider, which served big glasses of Pappy 20 for eight pounds, as well as delicious food, and then walked back through the rain to our hotel downtown.  I actually slept through the night for the first time ever, so now I'm up at six ready to go for a quick run, snap a few photos, pack up, and drive north.

One thing that David and I talked about last night at dinner was the price of single cask whisky.  One of the most frequent email subjects I receive from customers deals with the cost of all the barrels we've been finding - namely, that they wish we could find some less expensive options.  The problem with single cask whisky is that it's limited, and it's at cask strength - two qualifiers that raise the price of single malt.  It's simply easier to make the whisky less expensive by making a larger batch of it and lowering the per-bottle cost.  We're definitely open to the idea of doing a batch whisky while we're here.  If Glendronach or Bruichladdich want to put together a blend for us, I'd be over the moon.  That's a lot of work, however, so I would never expect it.  Single casks are easier to deal with.

The point is that $70 is going to always be the low end price for the single cask whiskies we're finding here.  $100 per bottle will likely be the average.  We can't always find amazing deals like the Faultline Cragganmore for $75, but we're trying.  I hate alienating customers who don't want to pay $100+ for these exciting new finds, but it's just the reality of the pricing.  The new Laphroaig cask we just bought is quite a good value for $130, but it doesn't help the person looking to spend $50.  Here's to hoping we can pull something off, however!

More from the road later.

-David Driscoll


Scotland - Day 1: One Cask in the Bag

Well, we haven't been here more than a few hours and we've already got one barrel secured.  Upon landing in Edinburgh, David and I rushed to the baggage claim where my magic suitcase came through once again!  Four flights so far with this blessed bag and four flights where my suitcase has been the first one out on the conveyor belt.  Chieftain's was closing at 5 PM, so we snuck in right at 4 PM to do a quick tasting with John and the available casks.  Pickings were slim this year as bottlers are currently tightening their belts to keep up with demand.  Nevertheless, we did find one outstanding cask we think will be a big hit later this year.

While last year's trip was marked by the complete void of any smoky, Islay single malt for our K&L selections, this year's visit will hopefully make up for that.  Right off the bat we found this 18 year old hogshead of Laphroaig, singing its wonderfully peaty tune at a beautiful pitch.  Even at 55% the whisky is quite gentle.  Soft hints of salt and brine make their presence, but take a backseat to the phenolic action, which itself is somewhat restrained.  We think we can retail this for about $130, which would make it $10 less than the fantastic 18 year old Laphroaig from Hart Brothers we've been selling (a whisky that is not from a single barrel, nor at cask strength).  

There were some other intriguing options in the room - 18 year old Longmorn, 18 year old Linkwood, and a super oily 1982 barrel of Inchgower.  In the end, however, they were good, not great.  We have big shoes to fill after last year's unexpected surplus.  We want this year to be even better, so we're going to be more scrupulous than ever before.  Hopefully, that doesn't leave us with just this one cask!

We're absolutely drenched right now, sitting in our hotel lobby, attempting to dry off after the deluge that opened up onto us.  Time for a beer and some much needed rest.  Tomorrow we drive north.  Glendronach and Duncan Taylor await!

-David Driscoll


Wildly Successful Trip A Certainty


Now that I've paid AT&T Wireless $50 for 300MB of international data I'm convinced that this next 12 days in Scotland will be the most successful and exciting thing to happen to our Spirits Department EVER! I mean, if it's not, what a waste, right? Needless to say we'll be blogging, vlogging, slogging, and regular old logging our journey, but this is the first time that we'll be tweeting directly from the belly of the beast.  As long as I've got a signal, you'll be up to date on our newest find.  All the details will be filled in later by Mr. Driscoll and remember he is thorough.  For a rural and relatively far-flung locale Scotland has a fabulous amount of WiFi.  Anyway, if you're interested in viewing our most pertinent musings, please follow us at:

KLDavidOG & KLDavidDriscoll

- David Othenin-Girard


Big Time Dalmore & Sirius Dinner at Boa Tomorrow Night

Our old friends over at the Universal Whisky Experience are extending a special invitation to K&L’s Whisky Club.  As we’ve said we were skeptical of these super high end tastings when we first heard about them.  Having attended the Las Vegas Tasting, we now stand behind the incredible team at UWE and want to make sure our customers are aware of the incredible Single Malt Dinner events they have planned.  California has three tastings scheduled in the next few weeks.  While the cost is not insignificant, anyone who can afford to do so, should absolutely consider attending as Mahesh and his team pull out all the stops and promise to pour you some of the finest old malts available anywhere.  At $350 a plate, it’s a pretty serious commitment, but I promise they’ll make it worth your while.  Mahesh will pour nine outstandingly rare malts along with your all inclusive dinner

From the Sirius Line they will pour:  Fettercaine ’66, Dalmore ’67, Carsbridge ’65, North British ‘62

From the Dalmore Distillery: Dalmore 18 year, King Alexander III, Dalmore ’78, Dalmore ’74, Dalmore Astrum 40 year

By the oz that’s over $2000 worth of single malt, they’ll be opening over $21000 worth of whisky per event.  I know some here will inevitably scoff at the high price tag, but I assure you that this will be a very special evening.  Everyone who attended UWE was blown away and several of the LAWS guys agreed that it was the finest tasting they’d ever attended.  Unfortunately, David & I will not be able to attend as we’ll be heading for Scotland, but if you can make it and afford you should go.

May 10th Boa Steak House in West Hollywood @ 6:30pm:


Here is the Menu:


Spicy Tuna Tacos

Mini BOA Burgers

Smoked Duck, Truffle Tremor Cheese & Asparagus Tip Quesadillas

First Coarse

“Classic” Caesar Salad

Dungeness Crab Cake

Entrée Course

Rosie’s Organic Chicken Breast

Atlantic Salmon

Petite Filet Mignon

“Bone-in” Rib Eye Steak


Jumbo Asparagus

Sautéed Seasonal Mushrooms

Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes

Dessert Course

Key Lime Pie

Bread Pudding, jack daniels sauce


Tastings Today!

Tonight we've got the fantastic Wild Geese and Irish Heroes whiskies in San Francisco.  These are some fantastic, Cooley-produced drams that I personally think represent the best in Irish at K&L. 

Redwood City will be hosting Appleton Rum.  Before you shrug this one off, I can guarantee you that the Appleton 12 year will be sold out by the time this tasting ends.  Everyone who tastes it for the first time can't believe how tasty it is for the price.  Drop by - if you dare!

Tastings start at 5 PM and last until 6:30 PM.  Free of charge!

-David Driscoll