The Roaring Twenties
There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t hear the same questions from our thirsty, whisky-loving customers: “Hey David, when do you think they’ll put the age statement back on (fill in the blank)?” While brands, advertisers, bartenders, and retailers alike can do their best to direct the conversation towards the actual flavor of whisky rather than its maturity, no one can deny the importance of that number. We’re living in the age of the sophisticated consumer. Our clients want to know exactly what they’re drinking and use each tasting experience to further their understanding of single malt as a whole, yet more and more we’re seeing NAS (no age statement) whisky expressions from most of the major companies continue to dominate the market due to a lack of mature inventory.
As I think we’ve all experience at this point, the proliferation of NAS whiskies has put a premium on whiskies with an actual age statement. If they’re bottled at full proof, you can add an additional 25-30% to the cost. Ten year old expressions are moving to upwards of $50, while fifteen year old malts now hover around the $100 mark, making our full proof, single barrel expressions from Old Particular look mighty attractive when compared to the current market conditions. But you've heard this all before. As you're all aware, finding a whisky with richness, maturity, and the influence of two decades or more in oak (at cask strength, no less), isn't easy for under $150, let alone $100. With the pound gaining strength against the dollar, keeping these bargain costs is becoming more of a challenge, but as you all know we’re committed to giving our whisky-loving customers as many top-notch bargain options as possible, hoping to keep your liquor cabinet stocked with as many unique, delicious, and 20+ year old selections as we can—all for less than a hundred bucks.
Ultimately, we're here as your trusty guide in the great hunt for delicious booze and boutique bottlings at reasonable prices. Here are the latest two K&L exclusive releases from our friends at Old Particular:
1997 Auchentoshan 20 Year Old "Old Particular" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $89.99 - Auchentoshan, while typically overlooked as a light-bodied Lowlander, has been on the ups over the last few years thanks to a shot in the arm from Beam-Suntory who have rediscovered the dependable whisky as of late. In a series of new expressions, from the American Oak to the recently-released Bartender's Malt, the focus on value has been front and center, while improving the quality of the malt, which in our opinion has never been better. Thanks to a new appreciation for Auchentoshan with our customers, we've been digging deep into some of Scotland's warehouse archives, hoping to continue that value streak with some older, single barrel, cask strength additions and we've found yet another winner with this new 20 year old cask. Bold at 57% ABV and with loads of vanilla from the oak, this is Auchentoshan with heft and punch, but simultaneously easy to drink with lighter fruity notes and heather on the finish. While pricing for NAS cask strength whiskies is now creeping up near $100 a bottle, we're thrilled to move ahead with actual 20+ year old selections from top distilleries for the same cost. Those looking for value have come to depend on Auchentoshan as of late, and they'll find more of the same in this expression.
1991 Cameronbridge 25 Year Old "Old Particular" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky $79.99 - Cameronbridge is one of Diageo's workhorse grain whisky distilleries, creating the backbone for its world famous brands like Johnnie Walker and White Horse, while simultaneously serving as the home for grain neutral products like Tanqueray and Pimm's. The dual purpose site is one of the biggest producers of spirit in the UK and because of that volume we were able to snag a very hot price on a 25 year old single grain Scotch barrel, mellowed naturally at a very drinkable 45.9% ABV cask strength. Those who enjoy the simple pleasure that is grain whisky will find nothing new here, just a great value from the still misunderstood genre. Loads of vanilla and caramel mix with candied orange and spicy oak to create a smooth and supple finish. Imagine drinking the foundation of Johnnie Walker Blue on its own, with no water added, and that about summarizes the experience here. It's magical on the rocks.