Clear Creek Dinner @ Alembic in SF, November 16th

To help celebrate the launch of our new K&L exclusive McCarthy Single Barrel whiskey, Steve McCarthy himself will be flying down from Portland to join us for a private tasting of his finest products.  He'll be bringing his fruit liqueurs, his eau de vies (one of them distilled from pine trees!), and of course his whiskey.  Getting to go through the Clear Creek line up is fun enough, but it should be even more fun while eating a four-course, gourmet meal from Alembic's kitchen using the liqueurs and brandies as ingredients.  If you've ever been to Alembic, then you know it is one of the premier cocktail bars in the U.S., let alone the Bay Area, and you also know that it is tiny.  We will be taking over the whole place for an intimate evening with Mr. McCarthy and some delicious cuisine.  We don't do dinners like this often, and its even rarer that we get someone like Steve down here to do this.  I'm super-pumped about this event because it's not just whiskey, it's spirits in general and, believe me, there's a reason we carry just about every Clear Creek product on the shelf - they're really really good.  ONLY 20 SPOTS AVAILABLE.  See you there.

-David Driscoll


McCarthy Whiskey Available For Pre-Order

We just sent out our big email to the customer list and so far have sold about half of our cask!  I don't plan on having too many bottles available after the pre-arrival campaign so please do not wait to order one of these if you are on the fence.  It will be much like the Clynelish where a bottle might pop up here and there, but nothing guaranteed. 

Clear Creek McCarthy's K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Oregon Single Malt Whiskey $89.99 - CLUB PRICE: $79.99 - THIS IS A PREORDER - WHISKEY WILL NOT ARRIVE UNTIL MID TO LATE NOVEMBER.  We rely on our relationships and our ingenuity to help locate new barrels and now we’ve tapped one of our most beloved producers, Clear Creek’s Steve McCarthy, for our latest aquisition.  Most people associate Oregon’s finest distillery with fruit-based products and rightly so - his mouthwatering Cranberry Liqueur was perhaps the best-selling product we had during our last holiday season.  What many do not know, however, is that every Fall he releases a very small amount of an Islay-style, heavily-peated single malt whiskey aged in local Oregon oak.  His 100% barley distilled spirit has been legendary among those in the know for more than a decade – even featured in the late Michael Jackson’s indispensable encyclopedia Whiskey.  Small allocations are sent out world-wide and they are quickly snatched up by those anxiously awaiting.  This will be the first time that Steve McCarthy has ever bottled a single barrel cask strength whiskey for any retailer and it is only for K&L customers! His smoky, salty, iodine and pepper-filled dram is reminiscent of young Laphroaig, but with hints of Ardbeg and Lagavulin.  It is truly the long lost child of Islay that was switched at birth and instead grew up on the Oregon coast.

-David Driscoll


WhiskyFest Thoughts and Perspective

What a fantastic night that turned out to be!  We at K&L had a blast meandering through all the fantastic products being poured and talking to other interesting whiskey lovers in attendance.  There were so many tasty drams being poured - Charbay 27 year brandy, Glenfarclas 40 year, Glenrothes 1975, etc - however, I have to to say (and I know this is going to sound completely biased and subjective) that my favorite whiskey of the night was our own St. George Single Barrel!  Some people found it a bit too odd, and others weren't so sure it was quite for them, but the overwelming amount of people I talked to loved it.  There was a line at the St. George table all night long and people were adament about finding me in the crowd and asking me when it would be available.  David OG and I freaked out at seeing our names on the bottle as well, and we are quite humbled to be associated with such a great bottle.  Getting the tag team of the two Davids together proved to be quite a good time for us as well, as we finally got to spend some time tasting with each other and talking shop instead of using the K&L intercom system.  In the end, I think John, Joan, and Amy put together a flawless event that I was more than happy to partake in rather than work.  It was a great way to end a long and tiring week, even though I had to leave and watch the Giants lose afterward.  The bright spot was that on my way back down to the Caltrain station (my wife ended up not being able to pick me up!) I was walking by the K&L San Francisco store and our owner Todd Z was leaving the game and heading to his car in our parking lot.  Because he lives a few blocks from me, I was able to catch a ride with him and head home in comfort rather than packed like a sardine on a slow train full of sad Giants fans.  If you attended please post your favorite whiskies of the night in the comment field.  See you all next week.

-David Driscoll


WhiskyFest - We're Almost There...

KKKKKKKKKKKKKKan you believe how well Tim Lincecum pitched last night?  Thank God I was manning the door at our intimate Amrut Single Malt tasting and had full view of Elixer's television.  Because I was checking names off the list I didn't get a chance to partake in the experience but the word was that Rakshit did a great job with the tasting.  This week has been such a busy one and I am really on my last legs here, but I think I can make it through one more night.  We had Rachel Barrie from Ardbeg all to ourselves at Heaven's Dog the other night and got to ask her everything we could think of.  She was politely vague concerning just about everything, but a true pleasure to be around.  How cool is it that we got to drink a glass of Ardbeg with the woman who made it?  That's awesome and I can't believe more people didn't show up.  However, as one person said, if more people had come we wouldn't have gotten that amazing intimate experience.  Tuesday was a blast at Martin's West in Redwood City where we posed next to the choppers and took back a few drams.  We had an enthusiastic crowd and I had a great time chatting with everyone.  Yesterday I went out to lunch with Stan Morrison and Frances Dupuy from A.D. Rattray and we discussed some future projects they're working on.  I got to taste a new whiskey they're currently vatting, which includes Lowland, Highland, Speyside, and Islay whiskies.  Even though so many people seem to shy away from blends, I am still going to stand by the idea that people want good whisky at a good price.  Plus, they're going to release it at cask strength which should catch most people off guard.  When has anyone released a blend at cask strength?  Last night, before the Amrut tasting started, I was setting up at Elixer and got to have a few beers with the Malt Advocate group including Mr. John Hansell.  Getting to kick back and just chit chat with people in our industry who aren't trying to sell you something is a rare treat these days.  Even though the bar was swarming with brand reps as well, I got to spend a good twenty minutes just BSing about whiskey and whiskeyblogging with a guy who knows a whole lot about both.  We both have been communicating via blog posts and emails for a few months now so it was fun to meet in person and sip on a cold pint together.  And now, here we are, a few hours out from the biggest whisky event of the year.  I'm looking foward to tasting everything, chatting with people about booze, and hanging out in the city, but man am I ready for it to be over as well.  Hopefully I'll see some of you there. -David Driscoll 


Kilchoman Is Here - 120 Years After The Last Islay Distillery

So the first new Islay distillery in 120 years has finally released their first malt for the United States and we just got our first drop here in Redwood City.  Alex and I immediately popped a bottle of the Kilchoman 2010 Summer Release as we were eager to see how it measured up to other young Islay whiskies we have tried.  At three years old we weren't expecting greatness, but merely a hint at things to come in the future.  What we got however was more than drinkable for the present.  The Malt Advocate had given their last release a very good score, which got us excited as they are known for giving young whiskies a hard time.  The fact that they liked it was surprising.  As Alex and I nosed our first pour we both smelled campfire smoke with plenty of tropical fruit - dried mangos, smoked pineapple, and passion fruit.  It's rare that I get so specific with tasting notes, but in this whisky those aromas are clear and easy to identify.  The palate shows its youth, but never falls apart under its own greenness.  The fruit comes through, but plays second fiddle to the peat.  The mouthfeel is softer than you would expect (ABV is 46%) and the finish not nearly as rough as what I was bracing for.  I would happily drink this in my free time.  The best part about this whisky is that it is going to prove to be more than just a curiosity.  If you choose to buy one, you'll get a taste of what Islay's newest distillery is going to taste like, but also a very tasty malt that is much better than it had any right to be.

-David Driscoll