New K&L Exclusive Scotland Barrel Release!

It’s about that time everyone!  Time for us to make another new barrel available at a special pre-arrival price for you whisky club email members.

Today’s release represents what we hope will be the beginning of a great new relationship with one of Scotland’s best independent bottlers – Douglas Laing.

David and I sat in a Glasgow office and poured over samples taken from the Laing Brothers’ collection.  There were so many bargains and so many great whiskies at fantastic prices!  We were in heaven.

Of course, we’re always looking for something rather exclusive, interesting, fun, or rare, as well as tasty, so we decided to go with this little gem as the first step towards more business with the Laings.

1998 Blair Athol K&L Exclusive 12 Year Old Provenance Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky PRE-ARRIVAL PRICE $69.99 (retail price to be $79.99) - One of the most exciting parts of our recent trip to Scotland was the visit we had with the Laing brothers, a pair of independent bottlers who don't dabble too much in the U.S. market.  We were pretty sure that these guys were sitting on a veritable treasure trove of barrels, however, and our tasting with them did not disappoint.  One of the best deals our journey uncovered was an explosive little cask of Blair Athol, a Diageo-owned distillery in the Eastern Highland town of Pittlochary.  Located just a few miles from Edradour, this quaint little operation is one of the oldest in Scotland (founded in 1798), but is more widely regarded for its role in Bell's Blended than for its single malt potential.  This 12 year old barrel will open some eyes, however - big, rich, enticing aromas of dried fruits, a supple mouthfeel with roasted almond skin flavors, and, while we don't think it was peated, there are definitely traces of smoke on the finish.  David OG and I both double-starred this entry on our tasting notes as a sure-fire winner.  For the price, it may be the best overall deal we found in Scotland.


This Blair Athol represents what may be the value of the trip.  A stupendous whisky from a Diageo-owned distillery that we rarely ever see bottled as a single malt.  Only 150 bottles total in what was a smaller cask.  That made it a no brainer.


Special Delivery

Sometimes things just fall right into your hands! An extra case of rare BT bottles?!  Thanks!  However, I'm feeling nice today, so I won't keep these 12 experimentals that were delivered to the wrong store and sell them for a quick $1200.  We're too nice of a store and I wouldn't be able to sleep well at night.

-David Driscoll


Signatory Tasting Tuesday 5/24

Signatory has just released a new batch of fantastic new single malts.  I've tasted through them and they're wonderful.  There's a new Laphroaig 10 year in refill sherry, a gorgeous Highland Park 19 in 1st fill sherry, a bourbon cask of Bowmore 11 that I love, a tempting Blair Athol, plus some rare cask strength bottlings from producers like Glen Ord.  Should be about 8 or 9 malts in all plus food.  All for $25!  The date is Tuesday May 24th.  7 PM at La Boheme Restaurant in Burlingame Ave in downtown Burlingame.  Space is limited.  Email me to RSVP.


Tuesday Tasting Tonight! 

Are you ready to get experimental?  I hope so because tonight at Martin's West we'll be tasting a selection from the ultra-rare Buffalo Trace "Rediscovered" series.  The recent release of experimental barrels contained a 21 year, 19 year, and 17 year without any tweaking or manipulation - just old Buffalo Trace whiskey!  Good luck trying to find these in a store, but you can find them on Ebay for about $200 per HALF bottle.  As I wrote earlier on the blog, I learned while being a teacher that being fair means allowing everyone to have a chance at the cherry popsicle.  Therefore, I gave a few bottles back to the distributor and they sold them to Martin's West instead.  Moira will open them tonight and you can have a full glass of the 1993 17 year old for about $4.  Show starts at 6 PM.  See you there!

-David Driscoll


To Buy Or Not To Buy?

Judging from the flurry of emails I've received lately, I can tell that we've really got everyone in quite a pickle about whether or not to purchase a bottle of our exclusive Ladyburn cask.  In order to help ease some of this capitalistic tension, I will offer a bit of what I hope is sage advise.

-If you've never spent more than $100 on a bottle of whisky before, this is not the bottle for you.  To me, great single malt scotch usually falls into the $80 to $150 range.  I think that the Ladyburn cask we bought is special enough to warrant a $300 price tag because it is easily twice as good as something like Macallan 18 ($140) as well as twice as old.  Plus, it's extremely rare.  However, whisky comes with expectations and if you've never felt like $140 was a reasonable price for a bottle, then you certainly won't feel that way about $300.

-If you're worried about quality, then let me tell you: you're covered.  The quality is there and the complexity is stunning.  If you're worried about whether you'll like it or not, I can't guarantee anything. 

-If you've ever gone out to eat and paid $70 for a bottle of wine at a restaurant, then you know you're probably paying more than double the retail price.  Yet, we're all willing to treat ourselves now and then in these situations.  If you figure you'll get at least 26 pours out of the Ladyburn, then it comes out to be about $12 a glass.  If you ordered this glass at a restaurant it would be $75 easily if not $100.

-If you're waiting to see what else we have in store so that you don't blow your entire savings right away, then that might be a good idea.  However, the Ladyburn will be gone before you find out what's next, so that's a gamble you'll have to take.  I can tell you this: there is no whisky coming up down the road that is as good as the Ladyburn.  However, there are two other closed distilleries coming and you can probably buy two of those for a little more than $300, so that might be the move.  Again, that's a personal preference.

-As it stands now, there are no peated Islay whiskies coming down the pipeline.  We had a cask of Lagavulin in the mix, but it fell through at the end due to complications.  No Ardbeg, Laphroaig, or anything like that so don't hold out for a shocker later on.

-There won't be a chance to sample these whiskies at a tasting because we cannot legally taste spirits that we purchased via K&L.  They have to either be provided by the distributor or purchased by the retaurant hosting the event.  Since we have already purchased every bottle, this type of arrangement is not possible.  You'll have to decide on faith.  The other selections should run deep enough to allow you to taste your own purchase and decide if you want more, but no chance to try before you buy unfortunately.

Does that help at all?

-David Driscoll