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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!


Sunday
May032015

Bottle Service

While the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight wasn't as action-packed as we all might have hoped, last night I instituted my new rule about spirited bottle service to tremendously successful results. No more would I press upon my guests the entirety of the Driscoll bar and that take-a-sip-of-twenty-different-things nonsense. No, on this occasion we would remain focused on the repeated enjoyment of singular expressions, rather than overwhelm ourselves with the brain-numbing saturation of too many selections. Two brand new bottles of highly-drinkable spirits would be opened and we would consume multiple glasses of those spirits until the bottles were empty, or until our internal tanks ran dry. My next-door neighbors are from Puerto Rico and really enjoy drinking rum, so I broke out my last bottle of Havana Club Añejo in their honor. Everyone else (besides myself) was of Mexican heritage and asking for good mezcal, so we popped my brand new Bruxo #3 in addition. 

In between jabs and body blows, we sipped our shots. The bottles were passed across the room, nestled in between empty beer cans and forgotten glasses of Champagne. The tanginess of the wild Barril agave flavor was briefly discussed and appreciated. The mellowness and suave of the Cuban rum had everyone captivated. While my guests began saying their goodbyes around 10:30, my neighbor Alexis and I stayed up until long past midnight, revisiting old fights on HBO On Demand, and analyzing the rise of new Eastern European fighters like Gennady Golovkin and Ruslan Provodnikov, while pouring ourselves glass after glass of that delicious rum. Never once were we overly-intoxicated or past our tolerance. Like the boxers on the screen in front of us, we were pacing ourselves, round after round, with endurance and dedication. It was truly a great evening, and one that I'll remember for some time.

And rather than some hazy recollection of too much booze, I'll remember that we casually drank Bruxo and Havana Club until those bottles were empty; the front door open, letting the cool evening air blow in as we sipped. 

-David Driscoll

Saturday
May022015

Get Your Bar Ready

I'm outta here tonight right before six so that I can get back home and hang out with the boys for fight night. I've got a lotta different tastes coming over for the Mayweather/Pacquiao match, so I've gotta make sure I'm fully stocked. I'm sure many of you are in the same boat. Here's my menu for tonight's card:

- 12 tall cans of Stiegl Austrian lager - to start the night off right

- 1 magnum of Bruno Michel Rose Champagne - for the ladies in the house to get crunk

- 1 bottle of Willett 2 year old rye whiskey - for rocks sippin', or for Old Fashioned cocktails

- 1 bottle of Lemorton Domfrontais Calvados - for my special Pan-American Clipper cocktail

- 4 bottles of 2013 Tariquet "Classic" Cotes de Gascogne Blanc - drankin' sauce from Gascony

- 1 bottle of 2012 Domaine Ragot Givry Vieilles Vignes - juicy red Burgundy for a slam dunk price

- 1 bottle of Bittermilk #1 Barrel Aged Old Fashioned Cocktail Mix 8.5 oz - easy pro-tasting cocktails

- 1 bottle of Small Hand Foods Grenadine 8.5oz - the great grenadine of this modern world

- A bag of limes and lemons

- Lots of ice

- Two pizzas, a gang-load of tamales, a large platter of Vietnamese spring rolls from Hometown Noodle, popcorn, chips.

Let's get it on! What's your menu gonna be?

-David Driscoll

Friday
May012015

Nothing Better Coming

One question that I’ve been asked repeatedly over the last few months is: do you have any more first-fill sherry cask whiskies on the way?

The answer to that question remains to be seen. If you mean do we have access to more first-fill sherry casks, the answer is yes. But whether or not we’ll buy them is still up in the air because the pricing for sherry butts right now is outrageous. One thing I can tell you safely is this: in terms of sherry-matured whisky, there’s nothing better in store for 2015, or 2016, than the two Glenfarclas whiskies we already have in stock. Period. Point blank. Nothing. If you want rich, textural, mouth-coating sherry from Scotland’s premier producer of sherry-matured whisky, then those whiskies are already here and they have been for months now—they’ve just been lost in the shuffle a bit. Lately, however, they seem to have resurfaced in the minds of whisky drinkers as we’ve had a little rush on supply in the last few weeks. That’s partially because we’ve run dry of our other Signatory casks, and also because other people in the online community like my friend SKU and the guys at the LA Whisky Society have recently added their opinions to the fold. If you’re waiting for us to find new or better sherry-matured whisky than what we already have, you’re going to be waiting for quite a while. The prices for these casks were based off barrel prices for 2013, so it’s only going to be more expensive moving forward (if we even decide to move forward at the current prices). Part of the reason we loaded up when we did is because we saw these price increases coming. And we were right! Now there’s less pressure to find more stuff in 2015 because we still have plenty of Glenfarclas left. Thank goodness.

If you missed these in all the late holiday fuss last year, here are the notes:

Glenfarclas "The Faultline Casks" K&L Exclusive First Fill Oloroso Sherry Casks Single Malt Whisky $109.99 - When George Grant offered us the opportunity to take multiple casks for a special exclusive bottling, we were over the moon. The creative juices began flowing. We talked about doing an ultra-aged expression, but we didn't feel we could match the outrageous cask from the 1970 vintage, which we'd acquired a couple of years back. Instead, we decided to focus on a NAS (no age statement) mixture of casks from earlier vintages. The goal was to create a high proof, heavily sherried 'Farclas that we could sell for around $100. After tasting multiple vintages from 8 to 15 years of age, we settled on three of our favorite casks in the 9-10 year range. At no other distillery is vintage so important and the importance of their vessel was clear when tasting these younger expressions. We've ended up with a mixture of young casks that surpass even our own high expectations. This is full fledged and powerful, yet tempered by the strong influence of that special wine of Andalucía. If you love sherry, if you love high proof single malt, if you love powerful flavors and massively textural whisky, then this bottling is for you. Even better, if you love not spending a ton for a bespoke offering from one of the world's best distilleries, don't wait to order. We'll have more than the standard single barrel, but this bottling is still highly limited.

Glenfarclas 24 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Malt Whisky $169.99 - We've always loved Glenfarclas. As you may or may not know, this distillery is one of the last independently owned in all of Scotland. It's owned by the Grant family. It also happens to be on most knowledgeable people's list of top distilleries and has consistently provided us with excellent sherried Speyside offerings at incredible prices. We've had success finding single casks in their vast warehouse system, but found that current market conditions have made purchasing a single cask from the Grants rather cost-prohibitive. Negotiating the price down on those casks is also out of the question as wholesalers worldwide are privy to the price structure and the Grants are very loyal and fair. With that option off the table we decided to get creative. Those single casks have a set price list, but picking multiple casks for one bottling afforded us some flexibility. We knew we were onto the next crazy value, but we never imagined how versatile a multi-cask bottling could be. So, into the warehouse we went. George bragged about the quality of the 1990 vintage, but we had no idea how special they were until we were standing in front of the barrels. These casks are from a sequential lot of first fill Oloroso sherry butts at 24 years old. Without a doubt, 'Farclas fans will be pleased, but this bottling is approachable enough for even the most novice whisky lover to appreciate.

My new best friend David J, from Bauhaus and Love & Rockets, is in town tonight playing a show at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, right next to Bar Agricole. I can promise you that we’ll be drinking some 1990 Glenfarclas backstage before he plays his set. In fact, those were his specific instructions for me.

“David, I’m putting you and your wife on the guest list for tonight’s show. Bring more 1990 Glenfarclas. See you there.”

When a rock legend sends you that kind of a request, you comply. 

-David Driscoll

Thursday
Apr302015

West Cork Arrives

What's that thing whisky consumers are always asking for? Oh, I remember what it is. They want new and interesting products, from small, independent producers, who do everything from scratch and make whisky that tastes better in quality than the mass-produced stuff the big boys make, but ultimately costs less and represents a better value, and isn't necessarily hard to find, but hard enough to find so that they can get a bottle before the rest of the whisky community finds out how cool it is. You knowthe whole fucking package.

If you had asked me for such a product earlier in the week I would have laughed in your face and sighed. Today, I'm posting about such a whiskey here on this blog. Enter West Cork Distillers. The West Cork distillery started as a pet project by John O’ Connell, Denis McCarthy and Ger McCarthy in 2003 in Union Hall, West Cork. In 2013 after much expansion WCD moved to a larger distillery in Skibbereen, West Cork where it now resides. It now operates as only one of two independent distilleries in Ireland. That means they can actually make their own ten year old single malt whisky (currently married with whisky from another distilllery) that somehow, someway costs about the same as a bottle of ten year old Bushmills, despite the fact that they're an independent distillery with heaven knows how much debt and overhead to account for. They're also the only producer in Ireland to actually malt their own barley and use Irish spring water for the production process, resulting in a softer, more delicate spirit.

If that wasn't enough information to get you excited, West Cork has now added the ultimate in whisky street cred by hiring on former Springbank master distiller Frank McHardy; a man known for making some of the best single malt on the planet. So how does it taste? Really good actually. I'm still wondering how a small distillery can make whiskey this good for this price, but apparently it's not just some crazy dream. Pinch me in an hour to remind me this is all real.

West Cork Original Classic Blend Irish Whiskey $26.99 - Gobs of fruit vanilla on the nose turn into a pleasantly mixture of fresh fruit and grain on the palate. The finish is clean and malty with more sweet grains on the back end. Jameson who?

West Cork 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey $36.99 - The nose is all malted barley, along the lines of Glenmorangie 10, which is fitting because both are lighter, ten year old, Bourbon-aged single malts. The palate is creamy and soft with short flutters of oak spice, and the finish is robust, rich, and lasting with warming notes of burnt sugar and creme brulee. Good God. Where in the hell did this come from?

-David Driscoll

Wednesday
Apr292015

The Nation Rises

Last night was our first single malt event at Bar Agricole and it went off just as smoothly as we could have hoped. We had thirteen outstanding whiskies to pour, unlimited Faultline whisky cocktails, and all the snacks you could stomach. All of this and we even had the weather on our side. It's been warm this week in the Bay Area, so we camped out on the patio and invited our small group of forty ticket holders into the event.

I put the pour spouts into the bottles, threw on my "Malternative Nation" T-shirt (Thad even made the font just like the old "Alternative Nation" program on MTV from which it was inspired), and got behind the counter; ready to pour some fine Scotch whisky for eager and excited guests.

Eric Johnson was right there with me, pouring glasses of Faultline Blended Scotch, prepping his cocktails. This time around, however (unlike with the rum and brandy events), there were far fewer folks in the house, which made Eric's job much easier. He had time to perfectly craft each individual glass and the drinks were incredible. I went back for seconds and thirds.

Our San Francisco store's Jeff Jones and Dulcinea Gonzalez were there with me, making people happy, talking booze, shooting the shit with all the lovely attendees. There was no bravado from the crowd last night; none of that "how does this whisky compare to the fourth release of Brora?" bullshit. We had a group of people who were there to drink, experience, enjoy, and just let their hair down. I had an absolute blast visiting with everyone (and having the time and space to visit with everyone). It was so easy-going and laid back, with people talking about their favorite whiskies in a light-hearted manner. I really needed this experience to remind me of how fun whisky can be when you eliminate the egos from the equation. And the food we ate! You can see Akeem there in the background shucking oysters. His snacks were exquisite. He made ribs, sausages, and these little fritters that had mushy peas with mint and tumeric inside. I had like seven of those.

What really wowed me, however, were the cocktails. I never imagine blended whisky being something one could mix well into a classic drink, but Eric made these Old Fashioneds with our peated formula, some Small Hand Foods gum syrup, a dash of house-made bitters, and a small amount of maraschino cherry liqueur; all swirled up with a pungent rind of fresh lemon. "We have to post this recipe!" I told him. "People will go crazy for this drink if they can make it at home!" I'll get the recipe for you all later. 

The other drink he made was kind of an "Army Navy" variation with peaty Scotch instead of gin. He used orgeat and lemon juice, then shook and strained into a nice little coup. It was also delicious. Almost like a mezcal sour, but with a creaminess from the sweet malted flavor. Next time we might have to do a simple Scotch cocktail event, rather than a full-out tasting. If you want to try these recipes, however, we are allowing Bar Agricole to stock the Faultline Blended Scotch, so you can probably grab either of these cocktails the next time you're there.

C-Diddy was in the house. We taught Charles the Islay way of eating oysters. A little five year old Caol Ila on that half shell, and voila!

I was most happy about the fact that everyone got their money's worth. The tickets were $100 because we had to divide the cost of the event by 40 guests rather than the usual 80; hopefully resulting in a smaller, more intimate group. At the same time, we definitely wanted people to feel satisfied with their experience and squeeze every last nickel out of that entrance fee. K&L super-customer Jeff Green told me, "Hell, I ate five dozen oysters. That's easily $100 right there." People had three hours to take their time, mingle, savor the spirits, and toss down a few cold drinks. No crowds, no lines, no nonsense. God, what fun!

We're really putting together some great events over at Bar Agricole; as long as you're there to eat, drink, and relax, that is. The quality of the booze being poured at our tastings can speak for itself. If you're looking to impress other guests by grilling a master distiller with ridiculous comments about the batch differences between A'bunadh releases, or ask esoteric questions about the history of Pappy bottle barcodes, then these are not the events for you. Personally, I'm over that type of tasting and so are a lot of our customers. From here on out, it's all about party time. I hope you'll join us next time!

-David Driscoll