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Tuesday
Mar272018

Thanks David

David DriscollEarlier this month, one of our longtime spirits buyers David Driscoll unexpectedly delivered news that he was getting out of the alcohol industry. Having been recruited to work at a new Silicon Valley health care startup focused on the battle to cure cancer, he was offered an opportunity to take his passion for writing outside of the drinks business and into a realm that affects so many people so deeply. Any reader who spent time on this blog is familiar with David’s work. Those of us here at K&L are grateful for the time, effort and talent that David put into the Spirits Journal and On The Trail, particularly the former which was his microphone to the larger spirits community. Collectors and industry folks tuned in to hear the latest on spirits, wrestling, fashion and more, in a way that was uniquely his own.

We didn’t place much emphasis on blogging prior to David taking the reins, and his contributions to the wine and spirits industry discussion will be greatly missed.

- K&L Ownership

Monday
Mar262018

You Go Out On Your Back

The idea to start this blog came originally from my love of "smart" wrestling sites in the late nineties, those that gave readers an inside look at an industry they enjoyed previously only as outsiders. In my mind, this place has always been a wrestling blog disguised as a drinking chronicle, celebrating the same sense of kitsch that I've long enjoyed in the squared circle. One thing I've always loved about professional wrestling is that you leave on your back. No blaze of glory. No win for the road. No party to celebrate your achievements while people hold a drink, remember the past, and say nice things about you. The greats will always lose their last match, roll quietly out of the ring, make their way to the exit, and allow the next generation's star to celebrate victory in the spotlight. 

You get out of the way with class and dignity no matter what because that's what people will remember. It's a time honored tradition. A swift kick to the head. One, two, three. One era ends and another begins. 

-David Driscoll

Saturday
Mar242018

Too Much Good Stuff

WolfburnThere is only one real problem with the enormous increase in whisky production over the last decade. There is too much good hooch to keep your eye on. Distilleries big and small, new and old have jumped into the whisky game or ramped up production methods over the last decade and some have produced incredible results. The whisky consumer has more choices than ever. These options run the gamut from classic staples to highly experimental whiskies that represent the pinnacle of craftsmanship and creativity and everything in-between.

The danger here of course is that many a good dram can get lost in the shuffle. In a world where every moment someone is vying for your clicks and attention a great $60 whisky might not move the needle and the result is it falls by the wayside. But that is why K&L is here. When a good whisky goes missing we see if we can dig it up and deliver an incredible deal to our customers. The Wolfburn Aurora available at 50% off is just such a whisky.

This whisky falls into the crushable category. It from the most northerly mainland distillery in Scotland and makes a clean and bright Highland spirit. Their standard expression sees finishing in ex-Islay casks giving a subtle peatiness, but the Aurora instead finishes in Olorosso sherry. The results are a fruity and flavorful medium bodied whisky that incorporates spice cake, cocoa, chocolate and orange notes on the finish. It’s perfect for casual sipping or even mixing into your favorite Scotch cocktails. The prospect of ripping through a $60 bottle of whisky for a night of cocktails might seem a little much, but at $29.99, it’s a crazy value that should not be missed!

- Andrew Whiteley
Friday
Mar232018

Islay Value

We bought this Bunnahabhain barrel when the Pound/Dollar ratio was a bit stronger than it is currently, hence why we can offer something from Islay at 12 years old, full proof, for a hair under fifty. Those looking for something smoky or out of the ordinary, this one's not for you. There's nothing more than classic Scotch whisky goodness to be had in this bottle, lots of creamy vanilla, fruity malt notes, and a lot of pop on the finish due to the bolder proof. The deal is what makes it so compelling. The regular Bunnahabhain 12 is over $50 when it's watered down, so to get a full throttle, single cask version for less is a rare treat indeed!

2005 Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky $49.99 - Islay's mysterious unpeated whisky (although peated versions do exist) is Bunnahabhain, the oft overlooked and underappreciated distillery just north of Caol Ila near Port Askaig. Having changed hands once again recently, now owned by the South African group Distell, Bunnahabhain has been long overdue for a makeover, but it appears that time is here with excited new releases like the 13 year old PX edition coming down the pike in 2018. We're always on the hunt for a good cask of fruity, salty, easy-to-drink Bunnahabhain and when we can get 12 years of maturity at full proof for fifty bucks, we're going to take that deal over and over again. Brimming with fresh stone fruit on the nose, pears and peaches, this light and airy malt packs plenty of punch on the palate at 58.4% ABV. The oak spices come through on the malty finish, bookending a classically flavored malt from front to back. The price and provenance should be enough for most malt lovers to take the plunge, but if you still need reassurance, let us help you: it's really good!

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Mar222018

Barrel Aged For Modern Times

This is Jim Boyce, K&L's beer buyer, doing a little guest blog on the spirits page today. Andrew Steven’s “Lifecycle of a Barrel” article from last week gave a fantastic rundown of the lifecycle of a whiskey barrel at K&L, highlighting our program that over the last few years has used our empty whiskey casks (including those Whistle Pig barrels from the recent post) in conjunction with local breweries like Hop Dogma, Freewheel, Cellador, Shady Oak, Good Beer Company, Alpha Acid, and Highland Park. Many of these barrels are currently filled and tucked away, letting beer and oak harmonize for months to come. If you sign up for beer emails via your K&L account you can keep an eye out for these bottles to arrive, some in the very near future!

This program really gained steam in late 2014 when David OG from K&L hooked up his childhood friend Jacob McKean (whose brewery Modern Times was just barely a year old) with three Four Roses barrels. He aged their decadent Monster’s Park Imperial Stout in these barrels for nine months, at the time three months longer than any other BA beers they had made. The bottles, sent to us with a smaller run of Elijah Craig casks (at the time, the last barrels that were sent out via the discontinued Single Barrel program), became the first K&L Barrel Aged Beer releases, available only at K&L and through the small Modern Times Membership. Classic bourbon traits of caramel, vanilla, oak spice, cinnamon, and toasted bread interwoven with rich chocolate and coffee notes from the Imperial Stout made them an instant hit, selling out within a few hours.

The most recent drop from Modern Times includes the three barrels listed below. The base beer is Devils Teeth, an Old Ale – Stout hybrid with robust maltiness and rich chocolate and caramel notes that the team developed to play perfectly with the character of these barrels. They aged the beer for 12-14 months, now by far the longest of their barrel aged releases, in casks from Wild Turkey (Russell’s Reserve), Four Roses, and Bernheim Wheat Whiskey. Production maxed out at 30 cases for the Four Roses down to 20 cases for the Wild Turkey, lending half or less to exclusively hit the shelves here at K&L.

This Thursday (TODAY!), 3/22, in Redwood City and Friday, 3/23 in San Francisco, we will be hosting Modern Times from 5-6:30pm to taste through these three Barrel Aged releases along with many of their other core, seasonal, and small batch beers! The full lineups are listed under the local events page

Modern Times "Devil's Teeth - Feral Gobbler (Wild Turkey / Russell's Reserve) Single K&L Barrel" Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels, California (22oz) $29.99

Modern Times "Devil's Teeth - Quadruple Flowers (Four Roses) K&L Barrel" Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels, California (22oz) $29.99

Modern Times "Devil's Teeth - Schmernheim Durum'd (Bernheim Wheat Whiskey) 7 Year Old K&L Barrel" Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels, California (22oz) $29.99

-Jim Boyce

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