We're Just Getting Started

There's a giant smoking crater in our San Carlos warehouse where the pile of Glenallachie and Dailuaine used to be yesterday. I'm glad we got your attention with that deal! I've had to pull everything left for the two NorCal retail stores today as we head into another busy December retail weekend. NOTE: if you've ever wondered why things pop in and out of stock sometimes, it's likely because they're being transferred between the stores. For example, we'll probably run out of the Hepburn's Choice Glenallachie within the next forty-five minutes, but you'll see a few more bottles pop up later today when the remaining inventory gets received into San Francisco and Redwood City. The same thing happened with our Four Roses OESK yesterday. A few people sent me emails wondering why the last thirty bottles had disappeared so quickly. "We are transferring the last few cases into our retail locations," I wrote back, "but it's also December: the other 200 bottles of OESK sold in less than eighteen hours. Things can vanish quickly around the holidays." I had a lady come in on Wednesday and buy forty-five bottles of our Kavalan single cask right off the shelf. POOF!

Speaking of the Glenallachie, thank you to whomever sent me their blind taste test against Aberlour A'Bunadh on the K&L Instagram last night. That was reassuring. Now I know there are at least two of us who think this is pretty good stuff. While that particular sherry bomb and the much more balanced sherry-matured Dailuaine are my two favorite barrels we've purchased this year, that doesn't mean I saved the best for last. "Best deal" is a lot like "best whisky": people can have different opinions about what constitutes value for their own personal tastes. For me, getting the chance to sell dark, sherry-aged whisky at cask strength for $49.99 was exciting, namely because I know how much people like that style of whisky. I knew people were going to be pretty happy, so that in turn made me happy. But that's not to say that one of our forthcoming casks from Hepburn's Choice might not make you happier! You might think getting 24 year old cask strength Strathisla for $89.99 is more exciting because you  personally prefer 20+ year old, classic Highland single malt whisky to fiery sherry bombs. Or, like another customer wrote to me last night, you might be more impressed with our young Caol Ila casks (there's another one coming next week) because you like the bold and brash Islay flavors of smoke, salt, and peat. That's why I try to buy as many different things as possible when I head over to Scotland. No one is more aware than me of how many different tastes there are in the whisky world. We're catering to as many corporate business guys who just want something smooth and round as we are super whisky nerds who critically analyze and breakdown every single component of the whisky. I have to have plenty for both groups and every one else in between during December. I'm often not sure customers understand how many people shop here. It's a lot.

Someone told me in the store yesterday: "I didn't think the Golden Devil Jamaican rums were as funky or weird as you described them; I thought they were really good and easy to like." That's fantastic! Says the experienced spirits drinker, however. Fortunately he wasn't there one hour earlier when the guy who clearly didn't read the description berated me for five minutes about how rum shouldn't taste like that and how we should be ashamed for selling such a product. You have to laugh. It's the only way you won't go crazy between the yin and yang of curating a booze department. For every one guy who loves what we're doing, there are ten who hate it, and vice versa. When a guy writes to me to tell me how terrible my taste is (which happened on Wednesday), I try to take comfort in the other emails I received that were complementary and appreciative. I had another person write to me this week, asking for my opinion on a particular whiskey we didn't even carry. "Should I buy this or not?" he asked. I told him I had never tasted the whiskey, but from what I knew about the producer I thought there were more interesting options on the market, which I then kindly laid out for him. He responded by angrily condemning my taste and telling me he would never shop at K&L again. I had to read it four or five times just to make sure I wasn't missing something. See what you get for having an opinion? Even when you're personally solicited for one via email!

You really understand how crazy December can make people when you drive home in traffic. As I was heading down Woodside Road to 280 last night, patiently waiting in the right hand lane's queue to merge on to the freeway two miles ahead, I watched over fifty people speed past me on the left and attempt to force their way in at the very front of the line. Sometimes they were successful via the kindness of a fellow holiday driver. Other times the rude and arrogant gesture drew an appropriate response of vicious honking and yelling. As I got closer to the on-ramp I saw that an accident had occurred due to one of these instances, and the people were screaming at one another on the side of the road as a result. That's when I thought to myself: "Is it really worth it?" I mean that from both perspectives. Is it really worth trying to teach some asshole a lesson by not letting him cut the line if it's going to result in damage to your vehicle and a miserable experience dealing with your insurance company? At the same time, is it really worth saving five minutes on your commute by trying to speed your way through a parking lot, stepping all over the other folks who are simply trying to get home the same as you? I know it will never change. I know I'll see the exact same thing on the road for the next few weeks, but I'm hoping that the warming thought of drinking a little Hepburn's Choice single malt will mellow the nerves of a few folks out there.

We've got more than just single malt coming, however. More than just Auchentoshan 19 for $79.99. More than just Royal Brackla 18 for $69.99. More than just Bunnahabhain 27 for $159.99. We've got another large batch of Cuban....I mean....Caribbean rum on the way. We've got a single barrel of cask strength agricole rhum from Clement. We've still got plenty of surprises to show you before Christmas officially hits. And we've got plenty more to show you in the New Year as well. Like I said in the title, we're just getting started.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll