A Guide to the New Exclusive Malts

I know that we've had notes in the system for the last few months as the pre-sales have been active, but it's nice to revisit these whiskies on arrival to see how they've changed in the meantime. If you weren't aware, most casks don't get bottled the moment we make our selection. The juice sometimes stays in the cask for another four to five months, meaning that extra maturing often takes place before bottling. That can skew things just a bit, so I like to offer revised tasting notes on the blog as soon as they arrive.

One thing that I mentioned the other day is that the Bowmore definitely needed air before it opened up. I don't know if this is due to travel sickness (something that often happens with wine where the jostling and bumping shakes the liquid up and throws off the flavor) or just that the oxidation helped bring out the peat, but this whisky was totally closed and wound up on day one. By the second day it was showing just fine. This may happen to you if you open a bottle at home, or it may be that the resting period these bottles have had sitting in our warehouse for a week will help settle them down.

On to the notes! (all five of these whiskies will be in stock very, very soon)

2000 Aberlour 13 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $64.99 - Those who enjoyed last year's Faultline 10 year North Highland malt should like this Aberlour 13 as well. It's a similar oak cask flavor (sans that bit of refill sherry) with a fresh fruit character on the nose. Water really helps this whisky open up and release more fruit and vanilla. Consider this whisky the un-sherried version of A'bunadh.

2002 Bowmore 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $75.99 - Again, I'll stress aeration with this whisky. When I first opened this bottle I couldn't smell any smoke, let alone taste it. After a day, however, the whisky was right where it should be. The nose is classic Bowmore, oily peat and oak, and the whisky drinks like a pepped-up version of the Bowmore 12 distillery bottle. It's richer than both of the other Bowmore whiskies we're bringing in, despite its younger age. David Stirk's casks always have a good amount of oak and this whisky is no different.

1995 Fettercairn 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $89.99 - This is the sleeper hit. All ten K&L Redwood City staff members who tasted through these whiskies came away liking the Fettercairn best. It's just a classic unsherried whisky. Imagine an older, richer, woodier version of the Faultline 10 year North Highland but at a higher proof. It's nothing out of the ordinary or super special, it's just damn good. With water it really opens up.

2005 Island Distillery 7 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $59.99 - Bright peat, oily fruit, and a light kiss of vanilla on the back end. To me, the closest comparison would be Laphroaig 10 cask strength, but it's not nearly as medicinal. Imagine blending your Laphroaig cask strength with a bit of Glenmorangie and this is what you'd yet. Delicious stuff and another big hit with the staff.

1979 Faultline 32 Year Old Single Barrel Cask Strength Blended Scotch Whisky $109.99 - This cask is of unknown origin, but we know it's a blend and we know all the whiskies were distilled in 1979. It's nothing out of the ordinary, but it's just good blended whisky. The grain component isn't all that pronounced either, so it could pass for a lighter single malt whisky if you didn't know it was a blend. Nice richness rounds out the finish and the fruit comes out. It's more of a fun surprise than anything super amazing. It's ridiculously priced as well.

I'll be processing pre-orders all morning then we'll try nad get these babies into stock. Maybe by the end of the day.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll