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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!


Sunday
Mar142010

Sutton Cellars Vermouth - This Is For Straight Spring Drinking

I met Carl Sutton (pictured in a recent New York Times article which you can read here) at Alembic Bar on Haight St. about six months ago while I was in one night to B.S. with Daniel Hyatt about booze.  Carl was sitting there drinking some delicious vermouth, wearing a flannel with a wool cap.  I had no idea who he was, but he asked if wanted to sample his new product and, me being me, of course I obliged him.  "This isn't for mixing!" I stated, both asking and declaring simultaniously.  Daniel then told me he was planning to pour it on tap and serve it in mini carafes with their lunch menu.  The flavors are perfect for that kind of food pairing.  It's dry, with the almost austere profile that manzanilla drinkers die for, but with loads of orange peel and clove spice.  I had heard of the famed Sunday afternoons in Spain where locals go to their neighborhood cafe and drink dry, almost sherry-like vermouth on tap before heading off to do their weekend shopping.  Alembic was taking one more step towards becoming a serious permanent hang-out for me and my wannabe-Mediterranean lifestyle.  "You should let me sell this," I told Carl and he agreed by giving me his card.  Now that Spring has come, and Carl has manufactured enough of his delicious drink to supply the K&L customer demand, we finally have it on the shelf.  Go to the store, get some olives, some cheese, some bread, and a can of mixed nuts, make a buffet, and open a bottle of Sutton Cellars Vermouth.  It gets you excited about the sunshine and it makes you happy to be alive.

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Mar102010

Signatory/Gordon & MacPhail Whisky Dinner 3/9/10

Last night was another great K&L tasting.  All the usual local whisky fans were present and some enthusiastic newcomers as well.  I just sat back and let JVS run the show (they did an amazing job).  Chris did the speaking while Sam and Val poured the samples and attended to the guests.  The presentation was informative, interesting, and engaging.  Some of our customers who are just getting into single malts really appreciated the background on production, while the guys who know twice as much as I do were content to sit back and sip on the ungodly Laphroaig 19 Year Cask Strength.  The small food plates also looked very appetizing and they were designed to pair with each flight of whisky.  Overall everyone said they had a great time and that they would love to do this again.  I think that for $50, everyone was very impressed with the amount of whisky they tasted, the quality of the drams as well as the cuisine, and the service of the JVS guys.  Well done La Boheme, and well done Sam & Val. 

- David Driscoll

More pictures:



Tuesday
Mar092010

March Mumblings & Musings

Jeez, sometimes there just isn't anything interesting to fill up a blog post about and you have to wait until a few things pile up.  Normally I'd just do a distillery review, or some history piece, but time has been short and energy has been in even shorter supply.  This is already a busy month, but here are the most interesting news items from the K&L Spirits department:

-Tonight is our single malt dinner with Signatory & Gordon MacPhail.  That should be a blast and I am excited to see how La Boheme has integrated the whiskies into the food.  I'll take some pictures and post them tomorrow.

-David OG and I are completing our purchases of two new barrels: one blend of Buffalo Trace and one Jefferson's Select 17 Year Old made by the now defunct Stitzel-Weller (the same whiskey in Pappy Van Winkle).  I can't believe we're getting our own barrel of Pappy Van Winkle quality bourbon.  Our customers are going to freak out.

-Davorin Kuchan from Belmont's Old World Distillery came by to see me today.  He is now packaging his La Sorciere absinthes in half bottles which I think is a great idea.  This will allow people to sample them first before committing the big bucks for the 750mls.  Also, some people only need a bit for mixing cocktails (like myself) and a half bottle is much more affordable.  While he was here I tasted the updated-Sarticious now called Blade Gin which is ready to go any day now (you're all going to love it) and a new zinfandel-based brandy aged 5 years in Bourbon cask.  Delicious.  Davorin is going to be someone to really watch and I can't wait to have a tasting with him. 

-Speaking of Davorin, rumor is he is going to show up at the gin tasting with a special suprise to put all the other products to shame.  You should really be going to this.  Scroll down a few days for the info.

-David OG told me about a new amari from Turin, Italy that should be making its way to California very soon.  He said he had it in a Negroni at a local LA bar after hours and that it was the best Negroni he'd ever had.  I'm salivating.

-We got a new Pineau de Charentes Rubis into stock from Francois Peyrot.  If that sounds like French to you, it is French.  If you meant that sounds like French because you don't understand what it is, then let me explain.  Pineau de Charentes is a French apperitif made from Cognac eau de vie and lightly fermented grape must.  The new red version we brought in drinks like something between a tawney port and a rose wine.  I think it's awesome and I can't wait to incorporate it into a French meal sometime soon. 

-Tres Agaves tequilas are now in stock here in RWC.  They are inexpensive, of high quality, and perfect for margaritas.  If that glimpse of sunshine has you fiending for a blender and crushed ice already, this is the way to go.

-There are a bunch of new whiskies in stock that are getting rave reviews from customers: Springbank 9 Year Old Chateau d'Yquem cask, Bowmore 17 Year Old Cask Strength, and the 1990 Sheep Dip have been wildly popular.  I'm getting emails every other day from people who are really happy to have made their acquaintance. 

Am I forgetting anything?  I don't know.  I feel like there's even more to tell, but I'll save it for another post. 

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Mar042010

What's In David's Bar - 3/4/10

I was going to start this article with, "It's no secret that I'm a fan of all things Italian..." but maybe it is a secret.  It makes sense to believe that our regional buyers at K&L would drink mainly the products that they are researching because it's their specialty.  However, I think that champagne buyer Gary Westby drinks more Burgundy than Champagne and I, for one, drink far more Italian wine than Scotch whisky.  In fact, it would be my dream to one day help with the Italian wine buying here at K&L.  Having been to Italy numerous times, I simply relate to the Italian way of life and have completely incorporated my experiences abroad into my domestic routine.  With the exception of espresso (which sadly turns my natural high energy level into a neurotic supernova), I am enamored with the various pre and post meal rituals that make dining that much more fun.  My culinary productions are almost exclusively olive oil and garlic based, so the high acid content of sangiovese and vermentino makes for quite a complementary pairing.  However, before every meal I'm usually drinking an Americano - Campari and sparkling water with a twist of orange.  The bittersweet flavors of the Italian amari are just what I need to awaken my suppressed appetite that would rather be eating at 4 PM instead of 7:30.  If I'm really in the mood to guzzle, I'll build a perfect Negroni to get my buzz on while I cook - 1 oz. gin, 1 oz. Campari, 1 oz. Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, stirred with ice and strained - and relish the combination of two Italian liqueurs mixed with London's driest spirit.  After I've finished my meal, it's only appropriate to set the grappa glasses by each setting and pour a small shot of our finest Piedmonte producer's most floral distillation - the Marolo Grappa di Moscato.  Made from the aromatic must of Muscat skins, this is not the firewater or gasoline-infused torture that many American tourists remember from their experiences of red-checkered tablecloths and straw-covered Chianti bottle candles.  This is delicacy and purity of flavor - the fruity and zesty essence of Moscato as represented by the pot still.  Italian spirits make Italain food - already one of life's great pleasures - even better.  Try designing your whole meal around this type of theme and you'll really start to appreciate those precious hours of free time after work.  You can always do Lillet, Bordeaux, and Calvados, too!

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Mar022010

Gin Night Extravaganza @ Martin's West, March 16th 6-8 PM $15

So we're finally having an event that isn't based around whisk(e)y and I'm more excited than ever.  Brown spirits are great for sipping, but I feel that the tastings require a more formal approach in order to appreciate and understand their complexity.  Gin, on the other hand, is all about fun.  Cocktails are the epitome of a good time out and gin makes the best drinks that exist.  If you've been drinking vodka martinis or Jack & Cokes your whole life, I'd better see you here front and center.  I'm going to blind taste you on 6 different gins of 6 different styles and then show you how to make quality libations, such as the Corpse Reviver #2 and the lovely Aviation.  Best of all, you get to do all of this for only $15.  Other beverage academys (which will remain unnamed) charge a whopping $100 for you to make two drinks and sit around while some bartender talks about ice the whole time.  I know because I've gone to them, hoping for some enlightenment.  They are the model for what I am NOT going to do.  Please join me, as well as Derek and Moira from Martin's West.  Call the restaurant to reserve a spot - (650) 366-4366

-David Driscoll