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K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule:

Weds from 5 - 6:30 PM

9/24 - San Francisco: Monkey 47 w/Christoph Keller!

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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!


Monday
Mar292010

Whiskies of the World Recap

This place was so packed that I didn't have much of a chance to taste, but I did enjoy seeing some old friends and talking one on one with some of the great distillers who came to pour their whiskies.  I was most impressed with the MacKillop's Collection, primarily the 1989 Scapa which I thought was the best dram I had all night.  Not much more to add other than it was a good time out and I'm glad we were the retail sponser.  Here are a few of the pictures I took.

-David Driscoll

My whisky of the night: Scapa 1989

Mr. MacKillop presenting his fantastic line upMy good buddy David Perkins from High WestKent Fleischmann from Dry Fly in Spokane, WA

Saturday
Mar272010

Lunch With Roughstock & Prichards 

I got the chance to sit down with the makers of Roughstock Montana Whiskey & Prichard's Distillery yesterday at Martin's West in Redwood City.  Brian and Kari Schultz have put their heart and soul into opening their own distillery in Bozeman, Montana and taking advantage of all the grain growing within their great state.  I got to pick their brain about why they got started and what motivated them to begin whiskey production which was very interesting.  Bryan, with his background in engineering, originally thought about the brewing business, but told me that there's simply too much beer in Montana to go around.  He was told by local restaurants and retailers, however, that if he were to produce a whiskey it would immediately find a place on their shelves.  A few years later he and his wife have produced their first aged distillation to positive reviews.  You can view more info on their website by clicking on the link above.  The Roughstock is on our shelves as of this moment and I'll be curious to hear how the Bay Area receives it after Whiskies of the World tonight.  I think it's one of the more interesting new American whiskies I've tasted and it definitely stands out in a crowd.  Phil Prichard has been tweaking the standard whiskey formula as well releasing his Double Barreled Bourbon last year, which sees multiple maturations in different casks.  His newest venture is a Single Malt Whiskey made with 100% malted barley that just hit our store this week.  It is aged in new charred wood like a bourbon, so it still has the spice you would expect along with the cereal malt of a Scotch.  He plans on releasing some new liqueurs in the long term to go along with his outstanding rum products and whiskies.  Look for them tonight at Whiskies of the World!

 -David Driscoll

Friday
Mar262010

10 Most Influential Spirits List

I'm on phone duty at the moment and that is always a good time to browse the internet in between rings.  The New York Times today was talking about the idea of lists and how the blogging atmosphere really enjoys this activity.  One list that I read recently and had fun pondering was the 10 Most Influential Books In Your Life - the words that changed your view of the world.  I like lists like that because you get to debate impact rather than qualit, and importance to the greater picture rather than best and worst.  For instance, I would argue that Boogie Nights is one of the finest films ever made, but it isn't my favorite by any means, whereas Real Genius I could watch everyday while admitting it isn't a great picture.  The writers who did their Top 10 books recommended not dwelling upon the idea, and recommended going from the gut, so that's what I'm going to do.  I have 10 more minutes on phones to write this so here are the ten spirits (not in any order) that changed how I look at distilled liquor.  Feel free to add your own list to the comment option below.

1) Ardbeg Corryvreckan - who knew whiskey could be so lean yet so flavorful?

2) Arette Reposado Tequila - this is when I "got" tequila.

3) Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Bourbon - this is when I understood why bourbon could be expensive.

4) North Shore No. 11 Gin - gin elegance redefined.

5) Bruichladdich 15 Year Sauternes Cask - Susan Purnell let me try this - my first real single malt experience and still one of the best ever.

6) Germain Robin Grappa of Zinfandel - the best grappa I have ever tasted. Distillation excellence

7) Germain Robin XO - Cognac from pinot noir is a beautiful thing

8) Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal - awesome distillation and so pure

9) 2001 Bruichladdich Resurrection - proof that awesome whisky can be very young sometimes

10) Camut 12 Year Calvados - I never knew that barrel and fruit could be so balanced.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Mar252010

There Is No Reason For You Not To Be Drinking Mezcal

Seeing that I'm fresh off a weekend in Vegas, and the fact that it's much warmer there than here, it's easy to understand my current drive towards one of the more fun and engaging spirits of the distilled repertoire.  I came home and knew exactly what I wanted to eat and, more importantly, what I wanted to drink with it.  I got off the plane, took a cab home, walked to downtown San Mateo, visited the Bay Area's finest taqueria - Pancho Villa (now that I'm married into a large Mexican family I think I'm more qualified to make such claims) - and purchased a huge vat of carnitas, refritos, and pico de gallo to make some tacos at home.  Remember, I'm all about matching your drink to your food because meals are simply more exciting when all the proper regional and ethnic elements are in play. 

Breaking out a bottle of Del Maguey Chichicapa is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly, hence why I made sure I had the choicest of slow roasted meats and plenty of lime.  The Del Maguey mezcals are in the same category with Bordeaux first growths, Krug champagne, and DRC Burgundies: they are the best of the best and they are priced to match their quality.  At $69.99, the Chichicapa is the most inexpensive of the single village line-up, which displays different styles and flavors of mezcal based on the water, terroir, and maguey (agave) sourced from the individual and extremely remote Oaxacan villages.  I cannot stress enough how pure and clean the quality of these spirits are and when you know a bit more about their production it makes total sense. 

The process is completely hands on as the maguey hearts are roasted over hot stones in an outside pit and then covered with earth to smolder for three to five days.  Unlike virtually every other tequila that uses a giant machine to break down the agave, Del Maguey is made in tiny villages so they have no machinery, only a horse-drawn stone mill to mash up the roasted plant before it is ready for a long, slow fermentation, after which it is distilled twice in clay pots and copper stills. The only ingredients are water and agave - nothing else. 

The smokiness that is retained from the roasting is unique to mezcal and helps to differentiate it from tequila.  The levels range anywhere from Caol Ila to Ardbeg numbers, which is why I'm still baffeled as to why Islay lovers have yet to truly cross over.  There are no worms in the bottles (a sign of ultra-poor quality), no hot alcoholic flavors, and no next-day hangovers with Del Maguey as top chef Anthony Bourdain learned while featuring the mezcal on his Travel Channel show.  The complex flavors of citrus, agave, spice, and smoke make unaged white whiskey seem even more boring than it already is.  Considering how many people eat a burrito five times a week, it doesn't make sense why this specialty of Mexican culture has yet to catch on.  Del Maguey is as good as mezcal gets and there is no reason for you not to be drinking it with me, so find me in the store and let me tell you more about why you're going to love it.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Mar182010

Paddy's Whiskey - Back In the U.S. & On Our Shelf As Of NOW!

 I know I'm a day late on this, but as I type this I have an open bottle of delicious Irish whiskey on my desk and I can't wait for all of you to try it.  It is a BARGAIN!  Our beer buyer, an whiskey fan, Bryan Brick went to NYC a week ago and sent me a text telling me to buy all the Paddy's I could find.  I didn't even know what it was, but from what I have learned, it is one of the oldest Irish whiskey brands that has not been available in the U.S. for over 15 years.  It just hit the East Coast recently and we got it in today.  The price is $31.99 for a LITER!  If you no longer take pleasure in simple, light, easy going whiskeys, then this one isn't for you, but if you like everyday drinkers that mix well with ice or soda, this one's for you.  I found it completely charming with notes of grain and malty cereal and a bit of vanilla on the finish.  The sense of quality doesn't really kick in until the end when you think to yourself, "You know, this really is delicious."  The ultimate party bottles or BBQ spring/summer whiskey.

- David Driscoll

Paddy's Irish Whiskey 1L $31.99 - Now available in the U.S. for the first time in over 15 years!!  Paddy Whiskey is distilled three times from the finest quality barley and water. This ensures a whiskey, which is particularly light, well balanced and pure. Its relatively low pot-still content and uniquely high proportion of malt whiskey, ensures Paddy is one of the softest of all Ireland's whiskeys.  Our beer buyer Bryan Brick thinks it's the best deal he's ever seen with Irish whiskey - the quality to price point ratio is unparalleled, he says.  And it comes in a liter bottle!