Signatory to the Rescue!

With Thanksgiving approaching fast and hoards of K&L shoppers in search of strong drink (for many obvious reasons right now), we were about to get caught with our pants down. After importing enough single casks of Scotch whisky to intoxicate a small country, we were unprepared for the increased demand. The new pricing we were able to offer on our Old Particular and Hepburn's Choice single malt selections fueled a feeding frenzy that gutted our six month supply in less than two. I made an emergency trip to Scotland this past September to secure provisions, but there was no guarantee we'd see any of that hooch before Turkey Day. Even with all involved parties working in complete synchronicity, we'd have to hit every green light down the long road of importation to get that many casks bottled, labeled, approved, and shipped over that fast. What were we going to do? Go into the biggest drinking holiday of the year with no K&L single cask selections? That wasn't an option.

Enter Signatory.

David OG had also made an extra stop in Scotland this past summer, hoping to get a few more barrels out of Signatory's Pitlochry warehouse. He succeeded, got the deal done, and the bottles have now arrived in our hour of need. Four new single barrels to feast upon, two of which are sister casks to K&L selections from the past. They're here as of today, on the shelf, and ready to rock with pricing that continues to reflect our commitment to value. We're counting them off below, in succession: 18, 19, 20, 21.

1998 Dufftown 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Signatory" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky $69.99 - Dufftown is more famous for being the home of Glenfiddich, rather than for the distillery that carries the town's name, but there is indeed an eponymous facility making whisky there. Dufftown distillery is a Diageo-owned plant that produces "The Singleton" single malt whisky for European release. "The Singleton" we see here in the states is made at Glendullan, but the styles are similar. Dufftown makes a classic Highland style malt, albeit with a bit more grit. A comparison in styles would definitely include its neighbor Glenfiddich, but Dufftown's mash has a longer fermentation time coupled with an incredibly-low distillation speed, resulting in the maximum copper contact inside the still. The result is a heavier whisky, loaded with a malty character, that becomes spicy and gritty once put into oak barrels. This single cask edition, aged in a refill hogshead, picks up the oak spices and the cask strength proof accentuates what is already a bold and forthcoming whisky. Imagine the vanilla, the biscuity flavors, and the richness of Glenfiddich, but then add a few brush strokes: polished wood, toasted barley, and baking spices. It finishes with accents of resin, sawdust, and dried fruits.

1997 Linkwood 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Signatory" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky $89.99 - Because of its role in Johnnie Walker Blue and it's renowned reputation abroad, Linkwood always demands a high price wherever its sold. Fine and finessed in a way that few other Highland malts demonstrate, the Diageo-owned distillery can often taste like a finalized blend straight from the cask! That's definitely the case with this graceful and easy-drinking 19 year old hogshead from the Signatory warehouse, even at the relatively high 56% ABV. The 25 year old Linkwood sells at K&L for $250 a bottle, so when we saw the chance to offer a similar whisky for less than half the price, we jumped all over it. Adding in a few drops of water is essential to unlocking the complexity in this particular selection. Tempering that alcohol just a bit allows you to take in the sweet cereal grains, the citrus and vanilla, and the long finish of malted barley with just hint of fresh pine. It's truly an elegant malt, one that continues to unfold the more time attention you give it. Try it as alternative to Johnnie Blue if you're looking to save a few bucks!

1995 Imperial 20 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Signatory" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky $119.99 - This is the fourth (and final) cask of 1995 Imperial single malt whisky we've purchased from the Signatory warehouse, and we've definitely saved the best for last. The now-demolished facility will never make spirit again, so consider this cask one of the last goodbyes for a whisky we've come to love dearly over the years. Closed in the late 1990s and wiped completely off the face of the earth in 2013, each drop of Imperial consumed means there's that much less left in the world. The first sip is a like butterscotch and biscuits with an earthy resin note and a light coating of vanilla. Fans of Clynelish will love the waxy, floral, and soft fruited nature of the malt. Fans of Bunnahabhain will recognize that ghostly texture and hint of honey on the finish. Fans of higher proof whiskies will appreciate the drinkable and natural 49% ABV. You don't need to add water. It's perfectly proofed right where it is. Enjoy it while it lasts because this will be the final hurrah for this beloved series of single casks, one upon which we've built a number of adoring customers.

1995 Glenburgie 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Signatory" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky $99.99 - This is the second cask of Glenburgie we've grabbed from the Signatory warehouse and it's another winner. The whisky is nothing flashy or wildly exotic, just smooth, rich, and delicious from front to back. Any time we can sell delicious 20+ year old cask strength single malt for under a hundred bucks, we're probably going to take that deal. Glenburgie is known more for its role in Ballantine's blended than it is as a stand-alone single malt, but these single casks should help change that perception. Once again we've got creamy malt flavor on the palate, a rich layer of oak from the two decades in wood, and a lovely finish of baked apples and other Highland fruit flavors. The 54.8% ABV lifts the finish into a flurry of baking spices and malty notes that continues to linger for minutes. This is tasty, classically-flavored Scotch whisky, pure and simple.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll