Two New Casks on the Shelf

Unfortunately we didn't have any leftovers from our Jura and Imperial casks, but the first two Signatory whiskies from this year's crop have hit the shelves. We're processing the Miltonduff and Glenlivet casks today, so those should be here this week in addition. For now, check out what we think are two of the best whiskies we have in stock -- period.

1991 Cambus 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky $109.99 - Here we go! After two years of hunting for a replacement to our wildly successful single grain Girvan, we've finally found a cask of grain worthy of our discerning customers. Cambus is among the most difficult-to-find grain distilleries, for a couple of reasons: it's been closed since 1993, and it's rumored to be at the heart of the Johnnie Walker Blue bottlings. No surprise that it's difficult to find--if Diageo is relying on this whisky to produce one of its most sought-after blends, it will certainly be controlling as much stock as possible. Occasionally, small lots slip out of the blender's grasp and into our glass! Here we have a super-high quality grain in all its awkward splendor. This nose is all oak spice and vibrant fresh fruit. Clove, coriander, freshly grated nutmeg, apple skins, under-ripe mango. On the palate, the fruit takes over, plus vanilla cake frosting, and the baking spices remain subdued, with a bit of coconut and some fresh oak notes. A perfect example of why sometimes, we must not blend all of the grain. (David Othenin-Girard, K&L Spirits Buyer)

1997 Laphroaig 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $115.99 - We love Laphroaig. Everybody loves Laphroaig (if they don't hate it). Not a lot of people on the fence regarding Laphroaig. That's why it's really hard to get. It's really expensive as well; this is both cause and effect. We've seen prices go up, while quality has remained consistent. We took on a middle-aged Laphroaig last year and sold it for what seemed like a reasonable $140. Now we have another cask of Laphroaig and it's difficult not to oversell it. If we're always so effusive about every whisky we taste, people start to question our judgment. So, I'm just going to say that this is top-tier Laphroaig. It's in that prime moment between the intensity of a young Laphroaig and that depth of the older offerings from this legendary distillery. This was the whisky that we spent time wringing our hands about because we were expecting to be paying the same price as our 18 year from 2012, but somehow we were able to get the price down to something far more reasonable. It won't last, and it will go down as a hot deal in our single barrel history. Don't miss it! (David Othenin-Girard, K&L Spirits Buyer)

We'll see you tonight at Bar Agricole for our big brandy party!

-David Driscoll


Only Two Days Away!

Are you ready for the brandy party of the year? Are you ready for five dollar cocktails made with the finest French spirits, sourced directly by your friends at K&L and Bar Agricole? Are you ready for a flight of three brandies: 1993 Miquer Armagnac, 1998 Baraillon Folle Blanche Armagnac, and the new Bouju Fines Saveur Cognac?

We're hoping you'll join us at Bar Agricole this Tuesday evening starting at 7:30. Charles Neal will be there. Thad, Eric, and Craig will be there. I'll be there with Kyle in tow. Bring some $5 bills. We'll be selling $5 pours of brandy, or all three for $10. We'll have the entire outside patio to ourselves and the weather should be lovely. A classic Fall evening in the city with some of the best French spirits you can imagine.

Come hang out!

-David Driscoll


Rutledge's Choice

If there's anyone in this industry I want to be like, it's Jim Rutledge. He is absolutely one of my biggest mentors. Not because I want to make whiskey like him (which I wish I could, obviously), but because of the kind, friendly, and open-hearted way he treats everyone he meets. He will bend over backwards for you and he's happy to do it. I watch him and the way he handles his customers and I take note.

When I was having trouble finding a cask of Four Roses single barrel I liked, Jim sent me an email saying, "What's up?" I told him that all of the samples they had been sending out were good, but that I was being picky. I was waiting for the gut feeling I get and the excitement that goes through my spine when I taste something superlative. Jim told me, "Well I'm going to drive out to the warehouse tomorrow and pick your samples myself. I'm sure I can find something that will excite you." And so he did. And now that whiskey is here.

There's nothing out of the ordinary or unique about this whiskey, no ripe banana notes or soft cherries, and nothing new. This OBSV cask is simply straightforward, classic, and honest -- much like Rutledge himself. Creamy vanilla, a healthy dose of spice, lots of sweet wood on the finish with a touch of burnt sugar. It's a whopper, too, at 61.6% and 10.5 years of age. It's not a Bourbon you absolutely need to have -- there's nothing collectable about it and it's not something we haven't seen before. It's probably a Bourbon that you'll want, however. I want one, at least.

In stock now.

Four Roses K&L Exclusive OBSV Single Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon $59.99

-David Driscoll



"Most people who go to the opera hope there's no one in their seat, that there's no problems. If I go to the opera I HOPE someone's in my seat." - Cedric the Entertainer

We all know that person who's always upset about the current situation. Hell, I've been that person before. The one who sits you down for a ten minute, one-sided conversation about how everyone on the road is an idiot, about how they were in a hurry and some jackass cut them off, and how if everyone would just follow the rules the world would be a better place. What's funny, however, is that these are usually the same people who have to put up with ungrateful servers when they go out to eat. And obnoxious customer service at the department store. And that guy who took their ticket at the movie theater, what a jerk! What terrible luck these people have! Always stuck in traffic and dealing with the worst people in the world. Everyone's out to get them. Everyone else is always in the way, always treating them rudely, and never doing what they should be doing. But then you start to notice a pattern. These people tend to attract confrontation. Could it be that they're possibly confrontational? I mean, no one can be that unlucky, right?

Some people are simply looking for a fight. When you work in the customer service industry you have to recognize this and walk away when you see it because confrontational people seek out interaction. Who's gonna get it today? Who's going to dare argue with me? The more you try and reason with them, the more they'll simply look for weakness. The reason we have to listen to a ten-minute diatribe about the morning commute is because there was no one with them in the car when it happened. They need a target and an audience at all times: someone to unleash their anger upon, and then someone to sympathize with them about why they did it. A lesson needs to be learned and they're the ones who are going to teach us. When we get it wrong, they're here to tell us why. When we're being impolite, they're here to put us in our place. And if you're a blogger, or someone who other people actually listen to, then you're the enemy because why should anyone listen to you when they could be listening to them?

I communicate with a fair amount of other bloggers regularly, not just those who write about spirits, and it seems that everyone has their own experience with these people, be it in the form of a nasty comment or a critical email. As one friend told me recently: "We live in an age where information is more widely available than ever before and that information empowers people. It makes them dangerous."  I laughed out loud when he said that because it's so true. The majority of confrontational emails I receive are usually aimed at correcting something I've written about, regardless of whether I was actually wrong or right. As someone who puts themself out there on a blog, you have to be ready for this type of interaction, but you don't necessarily have to give these people the forum they so desperately desire. The people that are generally the most upset that I don't allow comments on the blog are almost always the ones who want to tell me off, to teach me a lesson, and punk me out in front of my readers. The ones who actually want to add something constructive to the conversation will generally just send me an email because it's not about winning.

And that's what most confrontational people are looking for: victory. They were right, we were wrong. Just admit it.

Of course, if you just walk away and say nothing, you're always better off. Confrontational people usually interpret silence as acknowledgement that you don't have an answer for their assertion. You've got no comeback. Admit defeat. When in reality, we're thinking about what we're going to eat for dinner later and which whisky we're going to drink afterwards.

Oh...I'm sorry, were you saying something?

-David Driscoll


How the Government Shutdown is Fucking Us

If you thought the federal government shutdown wasn't affecting you in any negative way because your child doesn't attend a Head Start pre-school and you're not dependent on any form of social service, think again. If you're someone who enjoys new and exciting booze, someone who pre-ordered one of our new Faultline bottles, or someone who looks forward to a new Ardbeg release each season, then you can forget about anything new coming down the pipeline until the federal government decides to reopen.

Without the federal government and the TTB, no new alcohol labels can be approved for the American market place, which means no new products can arrive.

You see, in order for a bottle of liquor to be sold in the United States, the label must first be authorized by the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The wording has to be correct, the percentage of alcohol listed, and various other requirements have to be checked off before you can bring your liquor to town. You don't have to re-approve a label that's already been cleared, so the government shutdown won't impact your getting a bottle of Stagg or Pappy Van Winkle (general pandemonium will prevent you from that), but it will affect anything new from arriving later on this December and into the new year. Any new whisky that's been in the works will have to wait in label limbo until our elected representatives can figure out how to get along again.

How has the government shutdown affected K&L? It's totally fucked us. We are currently filling a container in Scotland with the new Faultline selections we've been pre-selling, along with the three casks from Bladnoch we had bottled recently, however, we still need more booze to justify paying for the transport. We had that space allocated for the Sovereign malts we committed to, but guess what? We didn't get label approval for the Sovereign whiskies before the shutdown occurred. We were in the queue, but the "Out to Lunch" sign went up before we made it through. Now, with each passing day that goes by, a logjam of label approvals is building, making it likely that any pending approvals will be delayed long into the holiday season, which of course is when the government takes its holiday.

What does this mean? It could mean a lot of things. Our plans are in total disarray at the moment and I'm sure we're not alone. If Glenmorangie plans on bringing out a new expression in early 2014, they won't be doing so unless their label was approved long in advance. If Ardbeg wants to release a new committee bottling in the Spring, they might have to start changing their plans. If the 750ml bottle size wasn't enough to deter foreign whisky companies from bringing us their products already, our gutless government might be the final nail in the coffin. In our case, the goal of bringing you some older Islay casks this holiday season has been completely abandoned. Any ideas we have for new Faultline selections, new casks, or exciting products are on hold for now. We can secure the booze, design the label, and commit to quantities, but it's not going anywhere until Washington starts back up.

We can't keep doing our job until the government starts doing theirs. Any time now, people.

-David Driscoll