The Proof is in the Pudding
I'm very sensitive about manners, ethics, and behavior as it pertains to doing everyday business. As many of you know, I'm the guy in the restaurant who can't help but eavesdrop on the terrible jerk behind me, behaving at his very worst because his soup was a little too cold. When people go out of their way to make others uncomfortable, it makes me uncomfortable in turn because I don't want to be associated with an asshole by proximity. When some retailer out there jacks up the price of Pappy to $1000, I end up hearing about it for some reason from consumers; as if I'm the spokesperson for all retailers in the world or something. "Don't lump me in with that guy," I'm thinking in the back of my mind. That being said, I feel sorry for distillers and blenders who make top-quality NAS or non-descript whiskies, who may be unfairly demonized by the neo-witch-hunt against the lack of transparency in the industry right now. There are people out there like John Glaser from Compass Box and the Morrisons over at A.D. Rattray who are making top-notch whiskies for great prices, but who either can't or aren't interested in revealing the greater specifics due to industry politics. They're not trying to hide anything. They're just not in the business of selling specs. That's not their game.
Despite the new era's obsession with details, I've been overjoyed with the reaction that our customers have had to the exclusive malt whisky project we've been producing with Michel Couvreur in Burgundy (see our visit from 2014 on the blog here); a Scotch whisky blender with a huge inventory of top-quality, first-fill sherry-aged single malt. Everything about this whisky is based on blind faith—our faith in Couvreur to make something great, their faith in us to pay up when the invoice arrives, and our customers' faith in K&L to put good booze on the shelf. There are no specifics about this whisky, other than that the whiskies used to comprise the blend are at least 12 years old (when in reality many of them are much older). Our customers don't know which distilleries were used, or in what quantities. All they know is that we say it tastes good and that we vouch for its quality. And the result? Two massive sellouts of batch one and two in K&L record times. The word is out on the street: despite the anonymity of the details, this whisky is the real fucking deal. Big, sopping wet sherry with a firm dagger of Islay peat smoke right in the gut. Batch three just landed today. It won't be here long.
I want to send a big thank you to everyone out there for the blind faith you've had in this project, and for putting aside your hatred of non-descript whisky in the name of what is obviously some high-end hooch. I'm glad you're all as enthused as we are.
Michel Couvreur K&L Exclusive Overaged Peat Malt Whisky $89.99 - The chance to work with Michel Couvreur on a special K&L whisky project was something that David and I had been dreaming of for years. We had heard the stories. This crazy Belgian had moved to Burgundy in the 60s, carved out a wine cellar inside a mountain, only to fill it with Scottish single malt whisky instead of pinot noir. He set up camp in Beaune, ordered new-make spirit to be delivered by tanker, and drove down to Jerez himself; selecting his own sherry butts to insure only the finest quality casks for his contracted spirit. Unfortunately, Michel Couvreur passed away last year from pancreatic cancer, thus ending the career of one of the industry's most courageous pioneers. Luckily for us, however, apprentice Jean-Arnaud has carried on after studying under Michel for more than a decade. When we visited the underground cave this past Spring, we were all in total awe. The tunnels of dripping stone go on forever, and the amount of whisky stored in this secret lair is jawdropping. We put our trust completely in Jean-Arnaud and are happy we did. Our peated version of the incredible sherry expression is a seamless creation that drinks like the best version of Johnnie Black ever, mixed with the most supple and soft expressions of Macallan. It's a lush, unfiltered, creamy, caramel-laden dream of a whisky composed only of malts 12 years and older. There's a bit of peat on the finish, but the soft sherry is the star. (NOTE: do NOT cut the hard wax seal, tap it so that it breaks)