Peat on the Horizon
First off, let me say thanks to everyone who bought an overpriced bottle of rare American Bourbon yesterday to help our fellow Americans in need. I went over to our accounting department after all was said and done and we put in for $5000 on the Red Cross Harvey relief site, so hopefully it makes even the slightest difference. They're calling Harvey worse than Katrina at this point and there's still more rain on the way. I wanted to also point out that if you text the word "HARVEY" to the number 90999 on your phone, you can add a $10 donation to the Red Cross as part of your phone bill. It's pretty easy. They ask you if you want to confirm and then you text them your billing zip code. If I come across any other rare bottles that I think could raise more funds, I'll continue to post them here and we'll continue donating as that happens.
For those of you looking to get out of the house next week, let me invite you over to the Redwood City store on Friday, September 8th from 4 to 6:30 PM where you can meet Kilchoman owner and founder Anthony Willis, taste a dram of the new limited cask strength edition of Machir Bay, purchase your own bottle in advance of the release, and even have him sign it! How much will the tasting cost you? Nothing, of course, because we can't charge for spirits tastings per CA law. So if you're donating all your extra money to the Red Cross right now, here's something fun you can do on the cheap (unless you buy a bottle of the Machir Bay, in which case you'll need about seventy bucks). It's pretty delicious whisky and it's one of the better Kilchoman releases I've tasted in years.
Starting tomorrow we should also have our first bottles of the Port Askaig 110 Proof Islay whisky, a brand that—as far as I know—is the brain child of Sukhinder Singh, the man behind London's legendary Whisky Exchange. As someone who's worked in the industry for quite some time, he's been able to continuously source single malt from Port Askaig (or Caol Ila, in the case of this particular batch, for those unfamiliar with your Islay ports) and run a very successful portfolio with whiskymaker Oliver Chilton, who also helps with the Elements of Islay series, etc. I tasted this yesterday and put my order in. It's a lighter Caol Ila than say the standard 12 year edition, but the American oak influence kicks up on the finish and all together it's a pretty enjoyable expression. I've always thought the packaging was top notch, so this should be a nice edition to the shelves. UPDATE: In regards to a few emails I received, I'm aware that Port Askaig bottles whiskies that are not Caol Ila. This however isn't one of them.
Of course, the real big news dropping in September is Ardbeg's new An Oa expression, set to become the fourth permanent edition on the shelf and the first new full-time release from the distillery in a decade. Let me also tell you this: it's the best new Ardbeg I've tasted since the Uigeadail first came out. No joke. It's really, really, really good. Using whiskies aged in Pedro Ximenez sherry butts, virgin oak casks, and ex-Bourbon barrels, there's a chocolatey richness that sort of coats the edges of the malt, but the chewy center is all brine, sea salt, caramel, and classic Ardbeg smoke. I've tasted it about ten times now and I feel the same way each time I try it. I haven't been this excited about an Ardbeg whisky since my first days on the job at K&L. I like it more than the Corryvreckan, and I also like the estimated retail price of about sixty bucks. We're looking at the middle of the month for our initial allocation, so keep your eyes peeled. If you even remotely like Ardbeg, you'll want a bottle of this. Those who have grown weary of the limited editions will want to take note of the An Oa because it's definitely a return to form. It will remind of you why you fell in love with Islay in the first place.