Whisky Season 2012 Update: A New Independent Label
NOTE: I totally goofed and posted the wrong Bunnahabhain earlier. I retasted the wrong sample as we had a 1989 and a 1991. I was kind of bewildered because it didn't taste nearly as good as I remembered. Now I know why. It was the wrong whisky! New notes, new review, same price. Sorry!
It took us a few trips around the parking lot, a couple of phone calls, and a combination of printed Google maps and GPS to find the Creative Whisky warehouse and its founder David Sirk. David's label, The Exclusive Malts, has been available so far in the UK, Europe, and parts of Asia, but none of the whiskies have ever made their way over to the states. This was exactly the type of bottler we wanted to meet. While the selection of casks at the tiny storage center wasn't profound, the quality and price were right on target with our goals and expectations. We needed value and value hadn't been making itself too apparent on this trip. While perusing the barrel supply, two great names jumped out at us immediately: Longmorn and Bunnahabhain. Both whiskies, at twenty years of age, were malts we wanted to taste and it turned out that both were quite tasty. When David told us what we could expect to pay, we rejoiced in both song and dance. We've got a new friend in the independent whisky game and hopefully there will be more where these came from:
1992 Longmorn 20 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $89.99 (Pre-Order) - Introducing our newest source for top-quality whisky at wonderfully reasonable price points - the Exclusive Malts! Our partnership with this independent bottler will bring EM expressions for the first time ever to the United States, available only at K&L. David and I had a field day working through the various casks available in the tiny warehouse outside of Glasgow. Although we had already selected a younger Longmorn expression from Signatory, the distillery has such a great reputation amongst enthusiasts for quality and we were open to bringing in a more mature cask if it tasted great. The nose of this whisky is classic Speyside - that heady mix of vanilla, malted grains, and rich stonefruit. The palate is more of the same: sweet grains, lots of wonderful vanilla and caramel, a finish of soft fruits with a hint of banana. Great Longmorn often doesn't do a whole lot, but it does what it does very well. There's not supreme depth or insane complexity going on with this whisky, but there's a whole lotta deliciousness. Longmorn just simply hits the spot and sometimes that more than enough. Considering the 16 year old distillery bottle sells for well over $100 here in the states, getting this 20 year old single cask at full proof is quite the deal indeed.
1989 Bunnahabhain 22 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $89.99 (Pre-Order) - Introducing our newest source for top-quality whisky at wonderfully reasonable price points - the Exclusive Malts! Our partnership with this independent bottler will bring EM expressions for the first time ever to the United States, available only at K&L. Seeing that last year's trip resulted in almost zero Islay expressions, David and I were eager to make amends this time around. We had already committed to peated whiskies from Kilchoman, Bruichladdich, Laphroaig, and Caol Ila, so when we found a relatively mellow, laid-back, mature malt from Bunnahabhain for a bargain basement price, we figured why not just add it in with the others? The whisky is lithe and lean on the entry with lots of earthy, oily notes and hints of resin with light peat. The low proof makes the whisky entirely drinkable right out of the bottle and the intensity of the vanilla and oil goes all the way to the finish, lingering long on the back end. Complex, mysterious, and understated, much like Bunnahabhain distillery itself. A wonderful whisky at a knockout price. We expect this one to move fast.