Navigation
Search This Blog

Return to KLWines.com

Spirits Journal Podcast Archive

Spirits Journal Twitter Feed

K&L Uncorked Blog

K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

8/20 - San Francisco: No Tasting

8/20 - Redwood City: K&L Signatory Single Malts

2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

Kilchoman K&L Exclusive 100% Islay Single Bourbon Barrel #344 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Kilchoman K&L Exclusive 100% Islay Single Bourbon Barrel #345 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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


1997 Bunnahabhain Heavily Peated 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Chieftain's Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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 25 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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 IN STOCK NOW!


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 SOLD OUT!!


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!


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!


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!


Thursday
Jul292010

Whisk(e)y Club Selections For August

Some people wonder about our whisk(e)y club and what being a member entails.  Basically, it means that you buy one bottle of spirits or wine from us a month.  You can leave it up to me to choose for you, or you can communicate with me to select it yourself.  The advantage to being a member comes in the discounts you receive with both wine and spirits.  Every month you have access to our 10 wine club selections at a steep discount, as well as the whisk(e)y selections that I pick out.  In the past I usually came up with one good bottle per month, but I figured that more selection means more satisfaction.  This month I've given our members three choices for discounted bottles, so if you are not a member you can see what you might be missing out on. 

1995 Highland Park 14 Year Old, Murray McDavid, Chateau Lafite Cask Single Malt Whiskey $75.99 (CLUB PRICE $65.99)

Highland Park 15 year old, Isle of Orkney Single Malt Whisky $52.99 (already lowest price in the nation, but CLUB PRICE $39.99)

Buffalo Trace K&L Exclusive Single Cask #162 Lot 1677 Kentucky Straight Bourbon $24.99 (CLUB PRICE $19.99)

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Jul272010

Tequila, Tequila, Everywhere!

It's simply amazing how much tequila is being produced these days.  A few posts back I wrote about the Charbay tequila and, in doing so, I vented about my displeasure with many of these new endeavors.  Literally once a day I receive a phone call, walk-in visit, or an email about a new brand of tequila that I "need" to know about.  If you think you're overwelmed when you look at all the new bottles on our shelves, imagine how I feel!  However, my job is to taste them and separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Three new bottles will be in stores by the end of tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited.  Espolón tequila won the gold at the SF Spirits competition in 2006 and seemed to be on the right track foward, but their bottle was supremely ugly and they couldn't seem to get good placement in the market, so they eventually got dropped and it was soon gone from our stores.   They've now been picked up by Skyy and have revamped their bottle with an ultra-cool "Dia de los Muertos" style mural, which immediately catches the eye.  The price tag is more than reasonable, so that's two for two.  If you actually get around to tasting the tequilas, then you're going to experience the ultimate trifecta in the spirits world: package, price, quality.  Both the blanco and the reposado are $22.99 and extremely good for the price.  I'm super excited about their potential as I think true fans are going to really like them.  They have a softer mouthfeel, but they never sacrifice spice for smoothness. 

Also in a beautiful package is the Los Azulejos Añejo, which does us the lovely service of giving the market an añejo that isn't an over-oaked, vanilla-infused, single malt substitute.  It spends 18 months in new French oak, yet still powers through with white pepper and baking spice.  The textures are soft and gentle, but the flavor is traditional. 

What a great time to be a tequila fan.  There are more options than ever before and it looks like we'll have to expand our shelves once again.

-David Driscoll

 

Monday
Jul262010

Best Values In Whiskey = Rum

There has been a good amount of frustrated venting taking place on the blogosphere lately.  I wrote a few posts a month or so back about how annoyed I was with the crappy products being released so far this year, and today John Hansell added a new diatribe about mediocre single malts dominating 2010.  Just a few days earlier, he posted a shorter rant about whisky producers seemingly forgetting that all we as consumers want are good whiskies at good prices.  More and more distilleries, like Bruichladdich for example, are pricing their new releases at higher and higher prices forcing the fans to either shell out or look elsewhere.  The key problem with this development is that most of what is being released is simply average. 

For that reason I have stopped relying on distillers to taste me on what is good, and I am circumventing them by searching out single casks that have yet to be tampered with.  However, if you are as frustrated with single malt distilleries as Hansell is, then I would suggest you look into rum - aged rum, more specifically.  With the recent surge of Ron Zacapa sales blowing out Glenlivet 12 (honestly, we're selling more than GL 12 and Glenfiddich 12 combined!), I am literally watching the rum revolution happen before my eyes.  Unfortunately, I have yet to get any more rums in that taste as similar to a Speyside malt.  Many rums are being aged for a decade or more in sherry casks making them viable alternatives to your favorite Glenfarclas or Macallan expressions. 

Today I just tasted two new ones from Dos Maderas (due into Redwood City tomorrow).  The Dos Maderas 5+3 is absolutely fantastic and if any one of you were to pick up a bottle you would probably be very surprised with how much you actually love it.  I love it because it is nowhere near as sweet as the Zacapa or even their own 5+5.  Aged 5 years in oak and 3 years in sherry, it begins with the classic sugar cane flavor and then seamlessly glides into rich vanilla and caramel.  I was very impressed.  The Dos Maderas 5+5 is done with the same formula except that the sherry barrels are Pedro Ximenez.  This is much more like the Zacapa style and is well made - brown sugar and sweet toffee abound!

Other options in the rum category include the Zafra 21 (which we have a sweet deal on right now) and the Appleton 12 which is designed to persuade single malt lovers away from whisky.  Rum is becoming a true alternative for single malt drinkers, and the price to quality ratio at this point is strongly in favor of the consumer.  Maybe we should taste rum at an event in the near future?

-David Driscoll

 

Thursday
Jul222010

Maker's 46 - It's Good

I don't normally do reviews of new products, I realized today (unless it's something exclusive to us), but the Maker's 46 is a whiskey that people all over the world have been wildly anticipating.  If you didn't know, Maker's Mark was the only whiskey that MM made.  It had been their only product since they opened in 1959 - that's fifty years of the same thing over and over again.  Just the idea that they were toying with a new bourbon had people buzzing all over the blogosphere, and now that it's come to fruition there are many curious customers.  We simply couldn't wait for a sample to show up so we just popped one and poured ourselves a glass.  I was impressed - I expected it to be sweeter.

Maker's 46 is called "46" because of the catalog number given to the type of French oak used in the barrel stave aging process.  The whiskey is essentially the same as the normal MM, just aged addtionally with charred #46 planks added into the barrel.  The extra wood gives extra flavoring, much like John Glaser did recently with Compass Box's Spice Tree, and in this case it is to the benefit of the bourbon.  The flavors are rich and fat on the entry with a good load of vanilla and oak, but the higher proof (94) kicks in to help balance that out.  The whiskey is smooth, but not soft, and the wood flavor really jacks itself up on the finish where the complexity really hits you.  I got some faint banana flavors a few minutes after tasting.  

So, the point here is that Maker's 46 is good.  In fact, it's really good.  I'm happy that they succeeded with this project because I'm getting tired of the marketing blitz without the substance to justify it.  This is a bourbon I would happily recommend to our customers.

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Jul212010

New Club Whisky - Another Fantastic Murray McDavid

Well here we are again - another new Murray McDavid deal!  It's probably hard to keep getting excited about these, but they are such a consistant product and people really like them.  This is going to be my favorite of the bunch, but also the most controversial.  There's already a small disagreement brewing in the Redwood City store, however, I should say that the people who liked it are the people who really drink a lot of whisky.  Those who didn't like it are the more every other month, Speyside selection fans.  What that tells me so far is that this is for experienced drinkers only.  Here are my tasting notes:

Highland Park 14 Year Old, Murray McDavid, Chateau Lafite Cask Single Malt Whiskey $75.99 (CLUB PRICE $65.99) - Once again, Bruichladdich's Jim McEwan brings us another masterful bottling, blending legendary names from both the wine and whisky worlds.  This peach colored Highland Park expression has more smoke than the distillery bottlings do and when married with the exquisite claret influence of the Chateau Lafite barrels, the enhancement is truly marvelous.  Subtle hints of peat mark the entry before giving way to dried cherries and red fruits.  The mid-palate shows honey and then an earthy note before finishing rich and long, yet completely dry.  There is no kiss of sweetness to be found, only the classic campfire of the Island malts melded effortlessly with the flavor of Bordeaux's finest wine.  This is perhaps the most interesting and well-made of all the red wine enhanced whiskies we've seen so far.  An amazing whisky at a fantastic price.

I'm really curious to see how this one goes over.  I've tasted it four times now and each time I've liked it more than the previous one.  It keeps changing from peaty, to oily, to dried fruits, to earth and honey, to petrol and beyond.  It's the least obvious of the three MMc club whiskies, with the Springbank Yquem being universal and simple and the Bowmore rich and smoky.  This Highland Park is unlike any other HP I've ever tasted and that is the point of these bottlings, in my opinion: to bring something new to the table.  I have a feeling I'm going to get some flack for once from some of you, but I stand by my decision to go deep on this one.  I hope you all feel the same!

-David Driscoll