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Wednesday
Sep142016

Benromach Tasting Dinner @ Donato

If you didn't catch the email we sent out last week, we'll be hosting Benromach distillery at Donato Enoteca in Redwood City on October 5th at 7 PM. In what has become a rather ridiculous value over the last few years, we'll be doing the standard entrance fee which means appetizers, three course meal, and a TON of high-end single malt whisky all for fifty bucks. As you can imagine, we sold a lot of tickets quite quickly. But we still have about twenty seats left if you'd like to join us. Benromach, to me, is one of the most underrated distilleries in Scotland. They make a full-bodied, rich, oily, and satisfying single malt that should be a staple on every serious bar in the business. Come find all that out for yourself, however. Eat and drink like a king for a mere $50.

Benromach Single Malt Tasting & Dinner @ Donato - Oct 5th, 7 PM $50

Tickets are $50 plus tax. There are no paper tickets for the event. Your name will go on to a guest list after purchase. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer refunds for this event one tickets are purchased. Please check your schedule, and make sure you will be able to attend before paying.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
Sep132016

A Rare Faultline Single Malt Edition

It's been a while since we bottled a cask of single malt whisky under our exclusive Faultline label, but in conjunction with our friends at Seven Grand in LA, we decided to co-purchase a barrel of Caol Ila and do a little co-branding. Keeping true with our tradition, we brought in another local artist to do the label. Linh Do, who posts her incredible whisky-related artwork on Instagram as "whiskyanorach," created this maritime-inspired image for our Islay delight. Rum barrel-aged Caol Ila definitely reminds one of the sea! The nose is an explosion of both freshly-cut and burnt peat, mixed with a little sea breeze. The rum influence comes later on the palate as a subtle sweet highlight to a classically Caol Ila profile of creamy fruit and bright smoke. The finish flutters with a flurry of fresh baking spices before morphing back into a phenolic frenzy. Nothing about this whisky feels overtly powerful or brash despite the 58% ABV. Everything about this Faultline Caol Ila moves as gently as the wind and waves upon a mellow, rum-soaked sea. Only 261 bottles were tapped from this barrel and a large portion of those went to Seven Grand's back bar. Available for a limited time only!

2009 Caol Ila 6 Year Old "Faultline/Seven Grand" Single Rum Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $69.99

-David Driscoll

Sunday
Sep112016

Respect

CM Punk was never my favorite WWE wrestler. Unlike millions of other fans, I wasn't inspired or intrigued by his unique style or his famous speeches when I watched Monday Night Raw. However, two years after walking out on top, leaving the industry behind, and attempting a new career as an MMA fighter, my feelings about CM Punk have completely changed. After last night—despite the quick loss and the busted face—I am now a HUGE CM Punk fan. His post-fight speech after getting beaten quite handily was nothing short of inspiring. He wasn't dejected, or embarrassed, or down on himself; nor was he mad, or defensive, or attempting to make excuses. He had a huge grin on his face. His ear was twice its normal size, he had cuts around his eye, but the man was ecstatic. It was never about winning for Punk. It was about taking a shot and having the guts to try something new at age 37 (I'll turn 37 this December, so it's a bit close to home for me).

You can read a hundred other in-depth articles about this subject (I recommend this one) that are much more informative than this little post, so I'll get to my favorite part about this Punk story. What's funny to me is how negative, sarcastic, and snarky some MMA fans were about Punk's performance, yet how much respect the actual MMA fighters had for what he did. Even UFC star Conor McGregor, one of Punk's biggest detractors and a known WWE hater, showed his respect in a brief interview after the event. "Fair play to Punk. He got in there and faught," he said when asked about his feelings. The gulf of opinion between the real fighters and the guys on the internet who like to comment about fighting was huge. 

In the end, Punk lost. "See? I told you he would," said many a person. But if you thought the story of CM Punk fighting in the UFC was about him turning into a world class martial artist in less than two years, winning his first fight, and becoming the next great UFC champion, you're missing the point. You know who didn't miss the point though? The actual UFC fighters. Because only they know what it's like to get in that octagon. It's their respect that Punk earned, even if the brave and all-knowing armchair warriors of the world still think otherwise. There's a big difference between talking about something, and doing it. People in any industry know that (even the drinks business). That's why Punk was all smiles last night. That's why he was on top of the world. He had the courage to get in the ring and take a beating, and that was a milestone for him. In the end, he had nothing to prove to anyone but himself.

-David Driscoll

Friday
Sep092016

More Fun Stuff From Italy

It's always fun to be surprised by an appointment and discover exciting new stuff when you really have little expectation going in. More than any other country, Italy has all these old timey booze labels that don't necessarily reflect what's in the bottle. We're so used to serious, modern, or romantically rustic artwork these days that it's surprising to find something of a high quality in more jovial packaging. Italy seems to be full of that type of stuff, however, and I find it endearing. I discovered the products of Distilleria Caffo after tasting with an Italian food importer who is distributing the brand in California. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Italy is full of secrets like this and I think there are plenty more still to be discovered by cocktail crazy Americans in search of new adventures. Distilleria Caffo is located in Calabria, south of Naples on the toe of the boot. It's a fourth generation family company and the products are honest, natural, and affordable. I bought everything they presented to me because, for the price, how could I not??! Here's what just came in:

Distilleria Caffo Amaretto $21.99- One of the few truly great amarettos on the market, this outstanding liqueur from Caffo distillery is made from 100% Sicilian almonds and subtle herbal infusions. There are no chemical additives, just natural flavors and colors from pure Italian produce! If you're a baker, this is definitely the way to go.

Distilleria Caffo Amaro del Capo $27.99- This bitter liqueur from Calabrian herbs is one of the most popular amari in all of Italy, and now it's finally available again at K&L. 29 different herbs are infused into the spirit including orange peel, licorice, camomile, tangerine peel, and juniper to create a bitter, citric, and spicy elixir with supreme versatility.

Distilleria Caffo Dominique Brandy $25.99- Brandy Dominique was the first spirit produced by Distilleria Caffo back in 1915, a company now in its fourth generation of family distillation. Pot distilled and aged for more than three years in oak, this is the value brandy we've been waiting for from Italy. Sidecars, Manhattans, and more await you!

Distilleria Caffo Mezzodi Aperitivo 1L $18.99- From Caffo distillery in Calabria, on the toe of Italy just south of Naples, comes this delicious, inexpensive, Campari-like substitute, brimming with juicy Italian citrus and a nice level of bitterness. Less sweet than Aperol and lighter than Campari, you can use it in a spritz, Americano, or a Negroni quite effectively. Tonic water also adds an extra dose of bitter without overwhelming the cocktail. A welcome addition to any bar and a must for Italian amari hunters (and it comes in a liter!!!)

Distilleria Caffo Solara Orange Liqueur $26.99- The abundance of superb citrus in Calabria was the inspiration for this orange liqueur from Caffo. Made from both sweet and bitter oranges, the harmony of flavor is perfectly balanced on the palate. Pick this up instead of Grand Marnier or Cointreau for your next cocktail party.

Distilleria Caffo Liquorice Liqueur $32.99- Licorice liqueur? That's what we said when presented with this fantasic new spirit from Caffo distillery in Calabria. Balanced by infusions of anise, mint, and various other bitter herbs, this is a unique and fasincating expression of "liquorice" in liquid form.

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Sep082016

Whiskey Season 2016 – Round Four

Here we go with round four! Don't worry, however, as I've only got one whisky to show you this time. I thought it might be nice to let everyone catch their breath and recover a bit before the next wave hits. Our latest Hepburn's Choice edition is another teaspooned cask, which means once again (as with the Balvenie) we're dealing with a blended malt whisky: one that is 99.9999% Macallan and .0001% something else. I was really overwhelmed by this cask when I tasted it in Glasgow and having tasted it again this morning I'm still impressed. I often hear people say things like "I don't get why Macallan is a big deal," when looking at the astronomical prices for the whisky on the market today. I'll admit: I feel that way as well sometimes, but when I tasted this particular specimen everything came into focus. It's a simple, no frills, ten year old hogshead cask that is as basic as basic gets. But in that simplicity is complete balance and grace. Without the bright lights, the make-up, the pomp, and the heavy Oloroso sherry maturation, Macallan is a pretty damn good whisky. The proof? It's right here. It's all sweet grains, lush fruit, and soft vanilla. But man is it good. So is the price.

2006 William Hepburn (Macallan) 10 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" Single Barrel Cask Strength Blended Malt Whisky $49.99- Here again we have a "teaspooned" single cask of whisky, meaning the distillery has added a teaspoon of a second malt whisky to prevent the bottler from using the brand name. That doesn't mean we can't tell you who made the whisky, however; it just means we can't market it or label it as a single malt! This ten year old gem of a malt whisky was made at Macallan (all but that teaspoon) and has all the classic fruit flavor one would expect from the classic distillery. It's rich and round on the palate with bright and pleasant notes of stonefruit, honey, rich malted grains, and supple vanilla. It's utterly pleasing and for the price it's a whisky you can't turn your back on. Getting cask strength Macallan is hard enough these days, let alone finding a barrel for this price.

-David Driscoll

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