Stocking The Shelves

We've got a lot of new booze hitting the shelves this week.  Taking two weeks off seemed to thin out our supply a bit, so I'm doing everything I can to fill it back up again.  Getting all of the bitters moved to a separate area in Redwood City has opened up the top of our shelves for more retail space, giving me a bit more room to expand.  Today, while I've been upstairs pumping out the orders, Kyle has been in the warehouse cutting boxes and filling carts.  Here's a sneak peek at some of our new arrivals this week:

The arrival of Tequila 916 fills a great niche for us here at K&L.  We've got the $20 price point covered for quality mixing with brands like Espolon and Calle 23.  We've got the high-end, $40+ sippers covered with ArteNOM, Arette and Gran Dovejo.  However, what about the crossover, in-between deal at $28-$32 that can easily translate into either category?  I give you Tequila 916 – a new tequila with the bright, fresh agave flavor to hold up in a mixed drink, but with the quality and complexity to warrant slow sipping.  The packaging is great, the bottles are sleek, the juice is good, and the price is fantastic.  Overall, it's a retailer's dream come true.

Tequila 916 Blanco Tequila $28.99 – The blanco is more vibrant than the average brand name bottles, focusing on the pepper and citrus rather than just going for "smooth."  As a bonafide blanco fanatic, I'm overjoyed that they went this route, rather than simply adding another neutral, inoffensive tequila to the overcrowded mix.  The alcohol is still completely in check, however, and the finish is clean, lingering with baking spices.  Whether you shoot it, mix it, or sip it, there's no way to ingest this Tequila 916 that won't end up pleasurable – especially when you consider the fact that it's less than $30.

Tequila 916 Reposado Tequila $31.99 – The cinnamon and vanilla comes wafting right out of the glass, fulfilling all expectations for a classic reposado tequila. The palate is clean and gentle, with more soft richness before finishing with a bit of white pepper.  Again, for $32 you simply can't argue with the price.  What a deal.

Tequila 916 Añejo Tequila $33.99 – Much like my appreciation for the more traditionally-styled Tequila 916 blanco, I'm once again relieved that they didn't feel the need to pump in the caramel and create a Cognac instead of an añejo tequila.  The extra barrel spice is there, more clove and cinnamon, but the agave pepper is never overwelmed in spite of it.  The finish is spicy and fun, unlike many more expensive añejos in the market.  Well done.

I think what's exciting about Tequila 916 is the fact that all three expressions are equally as good.  Usually, most brands have a blanco that stands out, but struggle with the reposado or añejo.  In the case of Tequila 916, there isn't one expression I would recommend over another – all are equally solid and represent tremendous value for the money, as well as utility.  They're obviously not made for the tequila geeks of the world, but they're not boring or bland either.  I'm excited to see what people think.

Who said all we deal with is the expensive stuff?  In conjunction with our new bargain tequilas, we're bringing in the bargain rum of 2012.  As I mentioned a while back, I met with Ricardo March from Ron Abuelo last week and retasted their line up of all-estate produced Panamanian rums.  We've carried their top-shelf Centuria rum for some time – a fantastically complex rum for serious cigar smokers – however, where was my head when I passed on carrying the seven year?  The Ron Abuelo 7 Year Old Rum is only $24.99 and has the subtle sweetness, rich molasses, and smooth texture to be the best-selling rum at K&L.  I can't imagine anyone not loving this.  You might as well hate puppies or kittens if you don't.

Here's another new product I had meant to bring in before we left for Scotland, but completely forgot to do so.  DOG has had it in the Hollywood store for a little while already, so here are his notes:

Amaro di S. Maria al Monte Bitter Liqueur in a 1 Liter bottle! $36.99 - The Vignale company has produced the S. Maria Amaro since 1911, but the recipe goes back generations before that. It was first created by the monks of the Santa Maria Monastery near Florence. In the last half of the 18th century, the monks donated the recipe to the Duke of Aosta as a show of loyalty. In 1911, Mr. Vignale purchased the recipe and began producing it for the Liguarian region. The ingredients are 100% natural with absolutely no artificial flavors or colors. Each herb, root, and plant is macerated by hand to prevent heating by mechanized processing. Any type of heating, during maceration or infusion, will result in evaporation of the essential oils and limit the potential complexity of flavor. Once the infusion is filtered it is allowed to age for a long period of time to ensure mellowness and integration of flavors. Some of the ingredients used are Chinese Rhubarb, China Root, Gentian Root, Orange Peel, Angelica, Juniper, Muscat Nut, Saffron, plus many more. This is a truly exceptional after dinner drink and highly versatile cocktail component.

Come on by and check out our newly expanded selection!  It's only getting bigger and better.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll