San Francisco: July 12th, 2016
5th & Harrison arrives at K&L. We open a bottle. We weep. We hug. We shake hands and congratulate one another. It’s everything we hoped it would be and more. It’s perfect.
And now you can finally get your bottle(s)!!!
Prepare to be transported back in time; back to an era when old malts of incredible complexity were available 24/7 and four-figure price tags were unthinkable. This project has been in the works for years and the casks have been on reserve for us since John proposed the idea way back when, which is the only reason whiskies of this quality were available for this 5th & Harrison blend. In fact, the whiskies were allowed to marry for an additional year in cask after being blended (making it in essence a marriage of 20 year old Glen Ord and 32 year old Caol Ila) simply because of all the delays from the logistics involved with doing something like this! You can taste that extra vat time in the whisky. It's like liquid silk on the palate, accented with peat and smoke from the Caol Ila, and it's of a quality that I haven't tasted maybe since we bought two incredibly old casks of Glenfarclas back in 2012. This is the type of whisky you buy now for loved ones, months in advance of the holiday gift giving season. You squirrel extra bottles away for a rainy day. You buy as many of these as you can afford because I can promise you you'll be looking back on this opportunity years from now wishing you had more of this incredible elixir. If this was the last whisky project I ever worked on for K&L, I would go out happy. I don't know if we'll ever top this. I think this is as big of an achievement as we can ever hope to accomplish. I can safely say this whisky is on the level of some of the rarer Port Ellen bottlings we've carried and it's a fraction of the price.
And there you have it. The letter from John himself. He’s thrilled. We’re thrilled. We’re pretty sure you’re all going to be thrilled.
Compass Box "5th & Harrison" K&L Exclusive Limited Edition Malt Whisky $179.99 - We'd been bugging John Glaser about doing a K&L private blend since 2011, back when both K&L and Compass Box were still making their way forward. We wanted to create something incredible and deliver excellence on a level normally not seen in the whisky world. We were bold! The question was: what to do? John proposed combining two single malt whiskies he had put aside in his warehouse: a luxurious 31 year old hogshead of Caol Ila and a 19 year old sherry butt of Glen Ord. As big fans of his Flaming Heart series, we loved the idea and we placed our trust in John and his team to create the recipe. Then whisky got hot. We got busy. Another two years went by. Compass Box's popularity increased significantly. Things got hectic. We moved our San Francisco store to 5th & Harrison, prolonging things. Finally in 2015 John came to visit. "The address sounds like an old folk song," he opined. "That's what we should call the whisky," motivated to finish up a long-lived project now five years in the making. The finished product is now here and it's spectacular. The nose is a symphony of honey, brandied fruit, and the sea. Cocoa, fudge, and cakebread coat the palate and the oily, phenolic notes of smoke and ash roll over the finish. It's impossible to tell where the Glen Ord ends and the Caol Ila begins, their yin and yang a nebulous sea of harmony. It's luxury, brilliance, and soul all in one. It's 5th & Harrison, the crossroads of culture and craft. It's K&L & Compass Box at last.
Rejoice! An era I thought was completely over lives on in this bottle. I’m so very happy we can share it with you now.
I also want to point out that today is Kyle Kurani’s last day at K&L. He’s moving on to work for Rhys winery nearby and we’ve been fortunate enough to have Kyle with us in the spirits department for many years now.
Kyle was with us in London for one of the meetings with John and the first Scottish distillery he ever visited was Caol Ila back in 2014. I always loved this photo of him staring at the building in amazement. It’s fitting that this project launched on his last day here, both in homage to him and his time spent with us. A big thanks to Kyle for all the help he’s given us during his time here and for all the spirits customers he’s helped during that period.
We wish him all the best going forward!