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2015 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

1992 Clynelish K&L Exclusive 21 Year Old Cadenhead Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2001 Bowmore 12 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2008 Caol Ila 5 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Craigellachie 18 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Miltonduff 19 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2007 Mortlach 7 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2004 Smoky & Peaty Tobermory (Ledaig) 8 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Laphroaig 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Macallan 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Tamdhu 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Tobermory 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

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1988 Blair Athol 25 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


2001 Bowmore 12 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1990 Bruichladdich 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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1995 Glenburgie 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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1998 Mortlach 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1995 Imperial 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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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 IN STOCK NOW!


Glenfarclas "The Faultline Casks" K&L Exclusive First Fill Oloroso Sherry Casks Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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 SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


1997 Benrinnes 17 Year Old Signatory K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


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 SOLD OUT!


Bladnoch "Young" K&L Exclusive Heavily Peated Single Barrel #57 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


1997 Glengoyne 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Sovereign" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky SOLD OUT!


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Sunday
Apr122015

France: Day 1 - Chateau de Bagnolet

North from the city of Cognac, along the bank of La Charente, sits Chateau de Bagnolet: the house of Hennessy. Originally built in 1810, the ancient estate today serves as a guesthouse and hosting area for guests of the Cognac giant. We left Edinburgh this morning, did a layover in Amsterdam, then landed in Bordeaux around 4 PM. We then quickly rented a car, drove the hour and a half north to Cognac, and pulled into Bagnolet just before dinner time. Hennessy VS and ginger beer cocktails were promptly served. I stood on the balcony and stared off towards the river. Maurice Hennessy was due to arrive at 8 PM for dinner. We had a lot to talk about.

We dined over Pouilly-Fuisse and fish, followed by dessert paired with Hennessy XO. After the meal, we ajourned in the parlor to discuss business and share stories from the current state of the industry. Now I'm here with Charles Neal, my old pal Lester, and we're getting ready to drink Cognac late into the evening. 

You might be thinking at this point: David, only three days in Scotland? Is that really enough? Yes, my friends, three days is sufficient for what we need to do. At this stage in the game, the belts have been tightened and the supplies slowly rationed. It's not easy right now. We've only got four solid mainstay partners for single cask imports at this point, and we can knock out those appointments in three focused, hard-fought days. France, on the other hand, is limitless. We still are just scratching the surface with our brandy department and I want to spend a serious amount of time expanding on the work we've already done. That's why I'll be in France for the next eleven days: to start getting very, very serious about Cognac and Armagnac.

Get ready for a serious set of French-inspired blog posts. But first, a bit of fun.

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Apr112015

Scotland: Day 3 - Glasgow Pride

Another glorious morning in Glasgow. We awoke (after another night of Finnieston's finest at Ox and Finch) and headed over to the offices of Hunter Laing where we met our old friend Andrew and sat down for coffee and croissants. His father Stewart was in the U.S. on a promotional tour, so we would begin our negotiations for this year's Hepburn's Choice and Sovereign selections with the most-recent generation of Laing whisky suppliers. Right off the bat we noticed the new packaging for Sovereign, a very welcome surprise! I quickly informed Andrew of my new obsession with Glasgow as a city—its vibrant food and drink scene especiallyand told him we needed to get the "Glasgow Pride" movement started with him: Glasgow's finest whisky bottler. The problem, however, is that there's little whisky actually made in Glasgow anymore. Even nearby Auchentoshan and Glengoyne are at least a twenty minute drive outside of the city limits. He suggested a cask of 30 year old Dumbarton under the new Sovereign label—from the now-defunct grain distillery once located just down the River Clyde—of which he had an open bottle right there on the table. Loaded with soft vanilla and creamy caramel, I told him that sounded just splendid. Book it.

Andrew and his dad Stewart have been incredible partners for us over the last four years, even letting us take ultra-rare whiskies like Port Ellen and Ardbeg from their vast collection. Along with another solid sampling of Hepburn's Choice and Sovereign samples, both David and I were taken by a number of super mature whiskies that simply knocked our socks off. There was another ancient Port Ellen on the table, and a 47 year old sherry butt of Glenfarclas, but the real winner—and easily the best whisky I've tasted on this trip so far—was a 41 year old sherry-matured Teaninich. It was just epic. Unreal. Sublime. Soft and creamy with a profile very much like the Ladyburn and Glenlochy whiskies we've bottled from Signatory in the past. It's coming home with us no matter what I have to do to get it.

After leaving Hunter Laing, we hiked on over to the riverfront where modern Glasgow is currently expanding into groundbreaking new territory. There's the eye-popping new SSE Hydro Arena, a 13,000 seat venue that will host renowned hip-hop diva Nicki Minaj tomorrow night. The glistening metallic majesty of the futuristic-looking Riverside Museum; a fortress containing relics of Glasgow's storied history. You've also got the head office of the BBC just across the water, as well as the main SSE Conference Center, hosting thousands of international business attendees annually. To me, it would seem that any company looking making a splash (pardon the pun) in Glasgow would definitely want to build along the Clyde; the sparkling spectacle of Glasgow's vibrant future. I think I know of one such company actually. Maybe they should invest in some land.

This overhead photo taken during the 1950s shows the location of how previous photo once looked, back when the Queen's Dock (that U-shaped outlet on the left) was once home to Scotland's largest export center for outgoing whisky. Built in 1877, the pump house (just where that little canal allows access into the U-shaped port) once controlled a barrier gate that would open the channel for incoming ships looking to load up on Scotland's greatest national product.

Today the U-shaped dock has been filled in, paved over, and turned into a parking lot, but the pump house still remains; most recently serving as an Indian restaurant and nightclub. All that is about to change, however. The building has since been purchased and plans have been filed to renovate and restore the Queen's Dock to its proper whisky heritage. Guess what whisky fans? Downtown Glasgow is about to get a proper, urban single malt distillery right in the center of town. And guess who's going to help run it? A proper Glasgow family with proper whisky-making roots. My close friend Andrew Morrison and his dad, Tim Morrison, both of Morrison-Bowmore heritage, will be operating partners in what will soon become The Glasgow Distillery—a proper homage to the whisky legacy of Glasgow, built to celebrate the spirit itself, and host the many tourists who come to the city each year (sadly, only find that all the famed Scottish distilleries are not anywhere nearby).

It was at the pump house that we met with Glen Moore, one of the project managers who is helping lead the remodel and designing of the new distillery. A former mill man himself, Glen worked his way up through the Morrison-Bowmore hierarchy years ago and was at one point the assistant manager at Auchentoshan. We spotted him nearby, shook hands, and went in to check out the new digs. While the pump house still needs a major amount of renovating, the distillery itself will be built in the parking lot next door; part of a separate building that will be connected to the old ediface. At full speed, it will produce around 450,000 liters annually and distill only for its own private single malt label (nothing sold off for blending). The house itself will be part of a huge visitors center that will not only function as an educational component to Glasgow's whisky history, but as a museum to all of Scotch whisky's history in its entirety. I won't go into too much detail now, but I was simply speechless after hearing the overview and seeing the plan so far. If Glen and the Morrison's can pull this off, the center is going to be the new mecca of Scotch whisky for the nation. A modern distillery juxtaposed with a historic building on an iconic site with real whisky heritage, all just a short walk away from the most heavily-visited touristic section of the city. I haven't seen anything this cool since the Giants built AT&T Stadium right on the Embarcadero. It's an epic proposal.

The location couldn't be more ideal. It's close to other attractions, close to hotels, close to public transportation, and it's only a short walk over the pedestrian footbridge to Finnieston: the neighborhood of Glasgow where David and I have spent every waking moment thus far. There are so many new restaurants and bars opening just near the new distillery site, to the point that it seems Glasgow is experiencing an entirely new renaissance of food and drink-related culture. I've yet to visit anywhere else in the UK that's on the level Finnieston is currently operating on. The fact that this neighborhood might soon get its own urban whisky distillery is simply exhilerating.

We had to eat once more, of course, at another new restaurant—this time a place called Porter & Rye, where (as you might have guessed from the name) they have in-house, dry-aged porterhouse steaks and an amazing selection of American rye whiskies. We had lunch here with Glen over pints and small plates of various meats, before heading across the street to the Ben Nevis whisky bar for a few drams of A.D. Rattray's Cask Islay (and I haven't even said anything yet about the amazing craft beer movement going on here). Then it was time to head for Edinburgh and the airport hotel, where David and I will soon begin evaluating this year's prospective crop.

We've got a lot of work ahead of us. Tomorrow we're off to Cognac. We need one more gigantic tasting before we can say we left Scotland thoroughly scavenged. One thing I'm very happy about is how much time we got to spend in Glasgow this year. We've always enjoyed the one night a year we stay downtown, but this year we got to experience so much more of what's really happening on the ground, and—more importantly—what we can expect in the future. Make sure you add Glasgow to your list of international cities to visit!

-David Driscoll

Friday
Apr102015

Scotland: Day 2 - Glasgow to Campbeltown

Driving from Glasgow to Campbeltown takes a little over three hours and is not a straight shot by any means. It's a curvy, meandering, often single lane trek that shoots through Loch Lomand National Park and around the lip of Loch Fyne, before turning south and hugging the coast line all the way down to the Mull of Kintyre. Visiting Springbank distillery therefore takes both courage and strong desire. Or, as Mark Watt said to us today, "It's a pilgrimage for most folks. They have to really want to come here."

We really love Springbank, Cadenhead's, and Campbeltown, so we got up early, ate a hearty breakfast, and jumped in the car. It had been two years since our last visit, so we were excited about our return. The road, however, quickly tempered our enthusiasm. You'd think with so much experience driving on winding, single lane roads that the Scots would be experts at passing slower movers. That's not the case, however. They're terrible at judging a safe distance before making their move. More than once we were forced to slam on the breaks while coming around a blind curve to find some daredevil heading right towards us at speeds not recommended. A yellow Mustang came within inches of killing us all. That being said, the beautiful scenery more than made up for the induced terror.

Once you pass Inveraray you're about halfway there. The surroundings go from mountainous to sea worthy quite quickly. The road to Campbeltown, like the Campbeltown whiskies themselves, is a combination of both Highland and Island flare.

Campbeltown itself had never looked better. A new infusion of outside money has slightly turned the economic tide in town. Buildings had been renovated and cleaned up since our last visit. The facelift was remarkable and apparent right from the moment we parked next to the Cadenhead office.

Mark Watt and Ranald Watson were right there to meet us. We didn't waste any time, and they knew what we were there to do. It was time to taste some single casks from Cadenhead's vast and available supply. There were a lot of winners and we made a quick list of condenders. While we were there, we thought, why not taste some Springbank Local Barley and a new vatting of the 21 year? I mean, the casks were just sitting right there, and we did drive all the way over. Let's just take a wee dram. Mmmm....Local Barley.

Visiting Springbank always puts your mind right when it comes to quality over economics. Nothing done by the company makes economic sense from a profit-based perspective. Everything is about continuing to support community and tradition first. It's a mindset so noble and rare-to-see in this industry that you forget there are people in the world that still care about those committments. I asked Ranald if Springbank was meeting its goals, to which he said, "We're not just paying our workers more than minimum wage, we're paying them a living wage. That's always our number one goal and I'm happy to say we're more than meeting it." Springbank still malts all their own barley and pays Campbeltown locals to do it all the old-fashioned way. 

After a lenghty tasting and a quick tour around the buildings, it was time for pints and lunch. Haggis nachos? Why not? When in Campbeltown.

We headed back to Glasgow at around 1:30. I fell asleep immediately, but woke up when David honked at another passing driver hell bent on ending both his life and ours. That kept me up the rest of the way!

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Apr092015

Scotland: Day 1 - Glaswegian Nights

While I'm a firm believer that Paris is the center of the European universe when it comes to fashion, food, and general cosmopolitan cool, there's something wonderful about Glasgow that I couldn't quite put my finger on until last night. Much like Berlin, there's a sort of raw urban chíc at work—a shift away from staunch traditionalism and more towards the eclectic and artistic. Whereas Edinburgh is polished, pristine, and classically beautiful—castles and cobblestones for the traditional traveling tourist—Glasgow is a city with a distinctly-youthful edge. The sandstone architecture is orderly enough, but within those buildings exists a spunky creativity that feels unforced and seems to brim from a collective Glaswegian synergy.

People are out socializing and using the city space in interesting ways. There are contemporary bars, shops, and restaurants all over, specializing in forward-thinking versions of traditional Scottish fare. Everywhere you look there's a clear juxtaposition of new modernity with a wink towards the 19th century. When you walk around, you feel like you're eavesdropping on something very new and very cutting edge; like there's a secret in Glasgow that few others have yet to discover. 

But there's nothing hoity-toity, or snobbish about what's happening around you. People are well-dressed and they care about presentation, but there's no hipster element or tragically trendy over-exertion. No one's trying too hard. Everyone seems comfortable in their own skin and there's no trace of attitute in their execution. Everyone's taking themself seriously, but not at your expense. It's like Glaswegians are working together just for the sake of building a better community, rather than for validation or positive online reviews. We randomly stopped by a fantastic spot called Gannett on Argyle Street in the Finnieston neighborhood and were blown away by both the professionalism of the bar and the quality of the cuisine. And this was just one of thirty or so intriguing options in the area! We had trouble deciding where to finally spend our evening. It was overwhelming to say the least.

Scotch eggs of the highest order, along with a selection of great beers on tap and a wine list with plenty of reasonable options by the glass. People often say that Edinburgh is the more sophisticated of the two main Scottish cities, but I'm not sure they've ever really walked around Glasgow. To me it's not even a debate. 

You walk around at night and there are young people everywhere—talking, walking, drinking, smoking, playing music in the streets, and participating in the local scene. They're more than aware of what's happening globally in terms of modern culture because Glasgow is completely up to speed on fashionable bar etiquette and food trends. At the same time, however, you get the feeling that they don't care about what's going on anywhere else but right there. They're not copying New York, or LA, or even London. It's very much a distinct and localized movement and that feels wonderful as an outsider. It feels like you're somewhere real and authentic, surrounded by people who have something unique and special to offer. When you've got an entire city free from any chip-on-the-shoulder insecurity—unburdoned by that we're-just-as-good-as-anywhere-else type of mentallythen wonderful things can happen. Glasgow is a perfect example of that condition.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Apr092015

Scotland: Day 1 - Pitlochry to Glasgow

Last year when we visited Edradour distillery and tasted through all the Signatory selections we froze our asses off. There was snow on the ground, ice clinging to everything we touched, and we had to take breaks outside of the frigid warehouse to warm our hands in between samples. This time, however, couldn't have been more the opposite. Spring has sprung in Scotland and we were treated to California-like weather all day long. Edradour is absolutely picturesque as is, but with the sun shining and the flowers in bloom, it was like a fairy tale setting.

The mountain stream was flowing through the main campus and our friends Des and Andrew were in fine spirits and even better form. We were all bubbling with positivity and enthusiasm as we shook hands and said our hellos. That's always a good thing when you're trying to politely pry barrels of rare and interesting whisky away from men doing their best to hold on to it.

We started in the main store with a few new Edradour selections and some vials of newly-acquired casks, but after about thirty minutes it was time to put on our big boy pants and head up to the main warehouse. We knew what we were in store for, and we were up to the challenge.

McCagherty was in the zone; rushing from cask to cask and grabbing samples like a man possessed. We blew through forty different possibilities over the course of four hours. It was a marathon and I was gassed by the end of it. Expect a rehashing of the past: more Imperial, more sherried Glenlivet, more old Glenlivet, more Glen Elgin, and more ancient Caol Ila. All those whiskies are simply too good not to bring back around once more. Don't worry though, we've got you covered if you're into new things. There was plenty of exciting fresh stuff to be had in addition to the familiar faces. I think we're even going to buy a few peated Ballechin barrels. Maybe some thirty year old Linkwood, too. There's a lot to think about, and a lot to look forward to.

It's funny: for all the time we've spent at Edradour we've never actually bought any Edradour whisky. That might also change this year. There's now a new 21 year sherry butt to consider. Andrew let us take a bottle for the road, so I'll have to get back to you when I've spent some time tasting it. We said our goodbyes, made the drive to Glasgow, and got in around 4 PM to sit down with Douglas Laing and start another long round of tasting and negotiations. I think we got enough booze today to last until 2018. 

I hope you're all thirsty. We're pinning ourselves into a corner and we're going to have to drink our way out! Off to eat dinner and have a few pints. More on Glasgow tomorrow.

-David Driscoll