Single Cask Super Store!
Over the years we’ve worked closely with nearly every Scottish Independent bottler. Often times we are the first retailor in the US to feature a particular brand, but it’s not often that we’re able to secure truly exclusive sale. We’re not an importer and have no particular rights or claims to any brand. Instead, we build relationships through positive interaction and responsible stewardship. We’ve brought many brands to the US that our importers would otherwise not have the opportunity to sell and likewise we’ve secured exclusive rights with certain international brands in California.
The John Milroy line of Single Malts is precisely one of those relationships. We’re not going over there to select casks. In fact, we rely on the honorable Doug McIvor to make his astute selections for the brand. He is the Director of Spirits for the formidable Berry Bros & Rudd Co. in London. This wonderful company is a hybrid of high-end retailer, negociant, independent bottler, and brand incubator. He started his illustrious career running the Milroy of Soho whisky shop – the baby (literally the shop is tiny) of brothers John and Wallace Milroy. When Jack Milroy sold his diminutive Soho shop, he turned to Doug to help continue his legacy of bottling exceptional Single Malts.
We’ve tried many times to work directly with BBR and had only limited success. Our industry is a complicated web of relationships, trade agreements, and back channel dealings. Most brands can't simply turn around and sell products to us directly. We’re just not a big enough fish to fry some of the national relationships BBR has developed over the years. When the Milroy line came up as an independent brand free from the complexities of Berry Bros other dealings, I jumped on the opportunity to work with them. While these aren’t true direct buys and we only take a fraction of the total amount imported, we are negotiating incredibly advantageous pricing and selling these exclusively in California. That means if you live in CA you're going to spend 30-50% less for a bottle of Milroy's than if you lived anywhere else in the world.
After our initial purchase a year ago, we've had to wait a long time before the right casks popped up. Since we're not fully in control and even the Milroy's offering exceptional quality across the board, we simply can't offer products that don't provide our customers with the extreme level of value that they expect. We’re lucky to have found these three special casks that represent the ethos brand and its highly distinctive style perfectly; an odd, yet wonderful Island whisky, a shockingly affordable and bizarrely drinkable young peater and a classic zesty summer Speysider. We’re still a few months out from the next big container of Whisky (the Season is coming don't worry) but these three gorgeous casks will help you bridge the gap.
This wonderful cask of Glen Keith was selected by our friend Doug McIvor for its exceptional balance and character. The distillery in Keith has been rare in modern times due to its closure from 2000 until 2013. While it served as a partner to neighboring Strathisla as one of the component malts in the Chivas Blend, it was also the site of much experimentation and some unusual production techniques. There they developed unique yeast strains and alternative was of peating whisky -namely the use of extremely peaty water to ferment the mash. Keith has long remained out of sight and out of mind of the modern whisky consumer, but now we're starting to see wonderful casks pop up from the period right before the closure. The gorgeous aromas and purity of malt are astounding. Extremely round ripe orchard fruit and subtle highland grasses. The seamless body and silky texture are what set this whisky apart and create the perfect frame for the creamy malt and subtle savory nuttiness to balance the zippy citrus and apple fruit. A subtle whisky that might seem a little shy at first, but blossoms into something absolutely lovely. An easy go to for the summer Scotch drinker.
This crazy little Tobermory is exactly what I love about the strange little distillery on the Isle of Mull. It was filled into a used sherry butt in 2008. This distillery sometimes gets a bad rap, in particular because the independently bottled stuff is usually filled into 4th and 5th fill cask. The slightly feinty style of the malt really needs some higher quality oak to be softened enough to release its complexity, but once it does it can be an absolute treat. There's no question that Tobermory has the potential to provide incredible depth and enjoyment, but it's often a challenging whisky not necessarily designed for the novice. This particular cask represents that dichotomy perfectly. Second fill sherry butts are perhaps the perfect vessel for this funky spirit, adding and taking from the whisky in perfect balance. As expected this whisky is as fun and funky, but it also represents one of the starkest examples of the benefits a few drops of fine spring water to a quality single malt like this one. It's nearly mandatory with something this youthful to at least try it with a few drops of water and thank god we did because this thing absolutely transforms. What was once hard edged and idiosyncratic is now opulent and enlightening. There is complete turnaround in the glass and one of the most unique and exciting drinking experiences we can ever offer at any price point. An odd yet beautiful whisky that will appeal to the real malt geek.
An astonishing whisky in so many ways. We've tasted young peaty whisky many times and while it can sometimes be delicious (I'm thinking Kilchoman here), it's typically much more neutered and spirity than you'd expect. The peatiness can take many years to really poke through especially when you've got high proof and powerful malt to hide behind. This goofy whisky, however, is exactly the opposite. It's a true peat bomb even at this young age. But that's not all, the dense ashy smoke is tamed by robust sweet malt and some hints of salty fruit. This is an impressive whisky by any account and while it will by no means be in anyone's top 5, I'll challenge anyone to name a more interesting and drinkable cask strength peater under $35 that's even half as good. I'm not sure what they're doing over there at the bay north of Port Askaig, but there's definitely something amazing happening there. We can only pray that we'll continue to see such affordable and delicious whiskies coming out of Scotland in the future.