Navigation
Search This Blog

Return to KLWines.com

Drinking to Drink Interview Archive

Spirits Journal Podcast Archive

Spirits Journal Twitter Feed

K&L Uncorked Blog

K&L Spirits Tasting Schedule

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!


1990 Girvan 24 Year Old Sovereign K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1978 Port Dundas 36 Year Old Sovereign K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


1964 North British 50 Year Old Sovereign K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


Faultline Blended Scotch Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


2014 K&L Exclusive Scotland Whisky

SMWS 36.82 Benrinnes 17 Year Old "Rare Release" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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!


1997 Glen Ord 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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


1997 Glenrothes 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky IN STOCK NOW!


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!


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 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!


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!


Wednesday
May132015

The Faultline Scotch Old-Fashioned

So you wanna make cocktails like the Bar Agricole master himself, Eric Johnson? Lucky for you, I've got his incredible recipe right here. You can always head over to 11th Street and have him make you one of these lovely summer drinks in person, or you can try your hand at home. Either way, the power is yours! (as Captain Planet used to say).

Here's Eric's breakdown:

House Old Fashioned (Traditional)

Build in a bucket glass:

-1.5 oz Faultline Blended Scotch

-1 barspoon Small Hand Foods gum syrup

-1 barspoon maraschino cherry liqueur

-3 dashes of Aromatic Bitters

-3 dashes of Peach Bitters

-add one hand cut ice cube

-garnish with a lemon peel twist

And voila! You're on your way to smoky whisky heaven. This is seriously one of the most refreshing cocktails I've had all year and it's made with one of the most-inexpensive and delicious whiskies we carry! 

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
May132015

This Made My Whole Year

Just like a gin martini or an ice cold beer, this video fills me with a warm, fuzzy glow over and over again. I've watched it about forty times and it just keeps getting better. I'm so happy right now.

-David Driscoll

Tuesday
May122015

The New Pride of the Peninsula

I got a call from my friend Davorin Kuchan about a week ago asking me if I had time to grab lunch and catch up. It had been more than a year since I had last seen him in person, so I was looking forward to hearing about the latest gossip from Old World Spirits. We arranged to meet in downtown San Mateo and had a lengthy conversation about the state of the micro-spirits industry, as well as the ever-changing fashion of cocktails and the future of booze distribution. As we were leaving, Davorin said he had a small present for me and handed me an unfamiliar bottle. I looked at the label; somewhat like his Blade Gin artwork, but with a hand-drawn image of an old saint trapped behind the giant letters "VODKA". What in the heck?

"It's my old vodka recipe. I never distilled it when I opened up Old World Spirits because I bought into that whole 'vodka is dead' hype that was going around at the time. Now, however, I'm over all that BS."

"That's fantastic!" I shouted, always happy to hear about someone smiting the perceived rules of the game. "What does that old recipe entail?"

"I can't tell you too much, but let's just say that it involves a number of painstaking steps that I perfected over many years back in Croatia," he replied. "It's a pain in the butt to make, but it's worth it in the end."

"And you're making this right here on the Peninsula?" I said.

"Of course. Same as always."

"We need to sell this! Our local customers will go crazy for a high-end vodka made right in their backyard," I answered. "I'm assuming it's good."

"St. Blaise is the patron saint of Croatia, so I wouldn't dare besmirch his name. Try it and find out."

I did that very night. Less than a week later, Davorin and I worked out a deal for us to buy his "painstakingly" delicious vodka direct from the source, available exclusively at K&L. He just needs to get a few labels printed up and a few more bottles in the ringer. In the meantime, however, I'm taking pre-orders. Anyone who isn't too cool for vodka will want to at least try a bottle. It's pretty awesome when one of the softest, most-supple vodkas on the market is made right down the street from your house. This is the type of vodka that's so clean and mellow you can drink it straight out of the bottle and it goes down like spring water. Right now it's just for us, so you might as well get in on the secret. Dust that half-empty bottle of Smirnoff that's been sitting in your cupboard for the last six years and get yourself something delicious and locally-made. Davorin's willing to make as much as you want to buy (even if it is a pain in the ass).

Old World Spirits "St. Blaise" Vodka $34.99 (SPECIAL ORDER) -Davorin Kuchan has been distilling spirits since his early days as a winemaker and eau-de-vie expert back in Croatia. When he established Old World Spirits here on the San Francisco Peninsula (right outside of Belmont), he brought with him the traditions and expertise of old world production methods and used them to formulate West Coast versions of his original spirits. This was right around the pre-Prohibition cocktail craze when vodka was becoming a dirty word, so Davorin instead made gin; never releasing his patented vodka formula state-side for fear that it would never get the credit it deserved. Now that all that prejudice is dying down, however, he felt it was time to bring back one of his most special old world creations. Using a unique finishing process (including granite and active charcoal sedimentation) and an ultra-slow, subsonic, continuous, multi-stage filtering process, Davorin has created a California version of his old St. Blaise vodka; a tribute to the patron saint of Croatia. Based off his eau-de-vie and grappa filtration methods, the idea is to polish and soften the spirit without striping the inherent character. The vodka is proofed with soft California Sierra spring water. The final product is soft, supple, and slightly creamy in texture with accents of sweet fruit in the background. It's one of the most pure and elegant vodkas we've ever tasted and it's being made right here in our own backyard. The pride of Croatia is now the pride of the Peninsula!

-David Driscoll

Monday
May112015

More on West Cork Distillers

I had a lovely conversation with John O'Connell from West Cork Distillers this last week—the new Irish whiskey label that's taken K&L by storm suddenly. He rang my cell phone at about 9 AM on Thursday morning and we discussed the latest happenings at Ireland's soon-to-be-a-superstar distillery. John also sent me a few photos to use on the blog, and answered some questions I had about pricing and availability. There's something about the Irish work ethic that you just have to respect. John reiterated some of the main philosophies concerning whisky that I've heard from other Irish friends in the industry; namely that whisky should be tasty, affordable, and not fussy. "We just need to make enough profit to cover our main expenses. We're not looking for a whole lot beyond that," he said to me calmly. He also said that West Cork operates around the clock, 24/7, and that heas one of the ownersruns one of the overnight weekend shifts himself. That's called setting an example.

Here are a few more quick specs that John sent me:

There are four stills in total at West Cork and they are in the process of developing another set. The two low wine stills are Setterstrom of Sweden stills. The very high lye to pot height ration (nearly 4:1) means that West Cork can make a very clean and high alcohol low wine ( about 55% ABV which is INSANE). The spirit stills are copper from Holstein in Germany. They have both jacket and coils heating systems. The alcohol content of the first spirit comes off at circa 70% but West Cork pulls at around 63%. 

West Cork only distills with grains indigenously grown in Ireland; so those would be barley and wheat. They distill their grain whisky on a pot still as well and absolutely no corn is used in that mashbill, just the two aforementioned crops. West Cork has been distilling since 2004, but in 2009 they ramped up production significantly. They malt some of their own barley on site (using green malt, which John thinks makes a big difference in flavor), and they do not use municipal water for their production; only natural spring water and water taken directly from the Ilen River. 

We still have plenty of the standard Classic Blend in stock right now, and we'll have more of the ten year old later this week. Both are just ridiculous values considering the quality and scale of West Cork's production, and especially when you compare what they're charging to other small and independent distilleries around the world. Again, the more I dig into the story of West Cork Distillers, the more magical it becomes. Another thing John said that impressed me was that West Cork didn't take any outside investment money because they didn't want to be beholden to capitalistic interests. West Cork really does seem like a bunch of down-home, hardworking Irish boys pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and making something delicious and affordable. Whether that matters to you or not is subjective, but I find it incredibly endearing.

-David Driscoll

Sunday
May102015

I Am Addicted

No, I'm not addicted to alcohol, but I'm beginning to have a serious consumption problem with the Hallmark network and its increased production of made-for-TV movies featuring former Full House star (and future star of Fuller House) Candace Cameron-Bure. I cannot stop watching these warm and fuzzy slices of pure sunshine for the life of me. I've even begun rewatching them off my DVR while popping bottles of Champagne and making cocktails to celebrate the ceremony. I've posted before about CCB's wonderful holiday-themed features (when I first referred to Candace as "CCB" my wife couldn't take me seriously for about a week), but it's now clear that Hallmark realizes they're sitting on a gold mine of unrealized feel-good potential, and has now increased Mrs. Cameron-Bure's involvement throughout the calendar year. Last month's premier of the new Aurora Teagarden investigative series, featuring CCB as a young, modern version of Angela Lansbury's Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote, completely stole my heart. But the recent Mother's Day weekend release of Just The Way You Are really dialed it up a notch. It's another huge winner in what is slowly becoming an incredible hit streak of top-notch, cozy-couch comfort.

The newest incarnation of Candace Cameron-Bure is pure television gold. She's an ever-giving well of squeaky-clean morality with enough of an edge to make her relatable to hard-drinking hedonists like myself. Her characters have problems just like the rest of us, but unlike the recent work of her preachy and over-bearing older brother, CCB draws you in with an aura of instant kindness that never feels judgmental or marketed towards a higher message. Her new Hallmark films are the visual equivalent of drinking hot cocoa by a log fire in a wooden cabin on a cold winter's night. I'd wager to say they're even more homey and satisfying than most episodes of the Gilmore Girls. She's found her niche in the television business and the Hallmark network is exploiting that incredible talent at the expense of my personal free time. In no way am I enjoying CCB's films in an ironic or sarcastic manner. My enthusiasm for her work is based on a serious connoisseurship for her talent. I am so pumped up for Fuller House at this point because I now have complete faith that it's actually going to live up to our highest expectations. With Candace as the focus, I just don't see how it can fail.

Of course, it goes without saying that drinking while watching Hallmark's lineup of Candace Cameron-Bure films is highly, highly advised. 

-David Driscoll