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K&L Staff Recommendations
As one of the few distilleries allowed to remain operational during Prohibition, Old Forester is celebrating this part of its history with with its Whiskey Row series. According to the distillery: "The 115 proof expression represents a barrel sample that company president Owsley Brown I would have batched at the beginning of Prohibition. The nose is an intense medley of cherry preserves, drippy caramel, dark chocolate, thickened maple syrup and seasoned oak spiciness. Dark caramel coats layers of malt nuttiness and sweet graham cracker all warmed by gree... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* A good workhorse for all manner of cocktails, this bright amber Bourbon has a butterscotch aroma and oaky, relatively dry flavors that elongate into a rich caramel finish." (7/2013) 90 points Whisky Advocate: "Light bronze color. Thick, mature aromas, with notes of subtle spice (vanilla, mint), toffee, light molasses and leather. Adding a little water revealing notes of teaberry, anise, and dark candied fruit. Pleasantly sweet at first in flavor, with notes of brown sugar and spice (vanilla, mint), becoming dry with enveloping flavors of oak and leather. With a little wa ...Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Intensely woody aromas and succulent marshmallow, bakery and lanolin scents spring forth. The fat palate entry oozes butter cream, dark caramel, and brown sugar tastes; the midpalate focuses more on the grain aspect as the flavor becomes toasty, fruity and honeyed. Ends honey sweet, decadent and maple-like. An unbelievable bargain." (4/2007) K&L Notes: Named North American Whiskey of the Year at the 2006 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Best Buy of the Year at the 2006 WhiskeyFest. Rye was the first Colonial American whiskey, and was the most popular spiri... Read More »
Buffalo Trace was named Distiller of the Year by Whisky Magazine in 2005 and 2007 and by the Wine Enthusiast in 2006. Paul Pacult of the The Spirit Journal gave it four stars and said: "Easily one of the most tactile yet assertive and expressive bourbons I've tasted in the last two years; fasten your seatbelts." Honey-colored, with aromas of toasted wheat bread and hints of tobacco, opening up to almond butter, melon and lanolin. On the palate it is oily and toasty with flavors of cereal grains and oak. The finish is long and corn sweet with a little spi... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The bouquet features smells of new car leather, breakfast cereal, cornmeal, pepper and hemp. Entry is nicely sweet and intensely grainy; the midpalate is the high point as the taste profile expands to include semisweet flavors of caramel corn, toasted marshmallow, dried fruit and chocolate covered cherry. Concludes oaky sweet and chewy." (12/2008) K&L Notes: You know it, you love it; it's ten years old, bottled in bond, single cask, 100 proof, old school Kentucky Bourbon from Heaven Hill. Incredible value by any measure.
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits 2013 & Best Buy* Golden and bright, this straight bourbon whiskey is one of the most versatile around. Though it starts with a sweet flavor profile with hints of vanilla and cookie dough, it finishes supple and dry, with notes of leather, black tea and cinnamon. Bracing alcohol levels." (7/2013) Whisky Advocate: "Soft, elegant, and nicely rounded, with honeyed orchard fruit and gentle spice on a bed of vanilla and caramel. Very versatile; a pleasing, unchallenging bourbon to suit most moods and situations. I actually like it better than the new, older 10 ye ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top Spirits 2013* Versatile, crisp, and an ideal match for cocktails that also include orange liqueur, as well as its namesake classic cocktail. Light aromas include vanilla and a touch of juicy citrus. Flavors run to bitter orange, dark chocolate and black tea, finishing with a pepper tingle. Velvety feel, despite the brisk alcohol." (7/2013) K&L Notes: The K & L Sazerac Cocktail: 1/2 oz Kubler absinthe, 2 oz of Sazerac Straight Rye, 1/2 oz simple syrup, 2 dashes of Peychaud bitters, Lemon - twist as garnish. Fill an old fashioned glass with ice. Add the absint... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The first sniffs detect restrained, lightly roasted kernel/bean-like scents; bouquet opens up as aromas of saddle leather, tobacco leaf and walnut come to the fore. Palate entry is semisweet, candied and creamy; by midpalate, the taste includes pepper, welcome spirity heat, oak resin and caramel corn. Ends showing the delicate side of Bourbon." (6/2006) Wine Spectator: "The dry, spicy, almost austere nose has a promising note of corn, and it delivers on the palate: sweet corn, berries and apricot, a touch of leather and cinnamon, with a bright, spicy finish. A mix of pot-s ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "From Master Distiller Jimmy Russell and his son Eddie Russell, this tawny and full-bodied whiskey evolves on the palate. At first, it features orange peel, vanilla and caramel, then dry leather and cocoa notes midpalate, and finishes long and lean with clove and allspice accents. Dilute to taste, sip slowly and consider all the complex flavors." (7/2013) K&L Notes: The Russell's Reserve Small Batch Bourbon was developed by Wild Turkey Distillery's Master Distiller Jimmy Russell and his son Eddie. Initially a limited edition release, the Russell's Reserve is now a 10-... Read More »
98 points Wine Enthusiast: "A beautiful, mouthwatering newcomer to the whiskey scene. Named for the “angel’s share,” the portion that evaporates from the barrel during the aging process, this golden amber spirit is finished in Port barrels, which explains those juicy red-fruit notes that slide into the long finish. Look for orange peel, vanilla and roasted nut flavors, too." (7/2012) 93 points Whisky Advocate: "Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey finished in a port pipe. This is veteran master distiller Lincoln Henderson’s newest creation, and it's a beauty. Richly textured, silky, and well-rounded, with ripe ber ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This amber whiskey is made with 95% rye, which puts it on the very high-rye side of the spectrum, and gives it a spicy zip. In some ways, this evokes an ultradry version of an orange liqueur, with juicy orange notes dusted with black pepper, clove, nutmeg and a faint hoppy note." (7/2012) Whisky Advocate: "No age statement, but it includes 4 to 7 year old whiskeys. The mashbill is 95% rye - much higher than most standard rye whiskeys out there. It’s brisk, vibrant, and loaded with spice (crisp mint, warming cinnamon, cocoa, hint of anise). Fruit - ripe nectarine ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This complex whiskey has a bold caramel aroma and, at 100 proof, an unsurprising hit of alcohol heat. Balanced with a bit of water, the caramel palate shows zesty orange peel, espresso, maple and clove. The long finish is bracing and drying, with leather and oak, plus flickers of citrus and spice. (KN)" (9/2016) 92 points Whisky Advocate: "A fuller-bodied, sweeter encounter than Barrel #55-6F reviewed below. More rounded and even-keeled throughout, too! Chewy toffee, rummy molasses, and nougat, with underlying notes of dark, berried fruit, accentuating spice, and supple l ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Deep color, medium-to-heavy feel. Strong, sweet fragrance with wood and spice tones. Butterscotch candy flavors, so strong I almost hear cellophane unwrapping, are echoed by some oak, caramel and vanilla. Smooth, not too much alcohol fire. Mellow, long finish with a touch of herbal and anise notes" (10/2010) K&L Notes: Coming from the great master distiller Parker Beam, the Elijah Craig bourbon has to be one of the best value Bourbons on the market! Great balance of sweetness and spice. Also, at 94 proof, it has just the right amount of kick.
Basil Hayden's Bourbon dates back to 1796 when Master Distiller Basil Hayden Sr. created a new bourbon recipe using a traditional corn base, but adding small grains into his mash. The results showcased the spicy flavors of rye, which complemented the sweetness of corn. Today Basil Hayden's is aged for eight years at a relatively mild 80 proof, and glints like liquid gold in the glass. Its spicy-sweet perfume shows hints of peppermint and black tea and its flavors are spicy, peppery and honeyed, with a light body and a gentle bite. According to Patterson'... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Superb/Highly Recommended* The bouquet has a dry, grainy aroma which is accented by peppery/spicy scents. The palate entry is surprisingly sweet and corny, considering how dry the aroma is; the midpalate point is deep, corny sweet, sap-like and a bit syrupy. Ends up well and balanced, with a backnote of dried red fruit (raisins, prunes)." (12/2007) K&L Notes: Four Stars/Highly Recommended F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal: "The rich bronze color sparkles under the lamp; perfect purity. The initial whiffs uncover dry notes of stone-milled grist and dried fruit; follow... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The base aroma is buttered corn-on-the-cob with aeration bringing additional scents of vanilla and cinnamon. The palate entry showcases sweet breakfast cereal grain; at midpalate the corn dominates so thoroughly that you know that this could only be one of the best straight bourbons from Kentucky. Ends spirity and heated. One of America’s benchmark spirits." (12/2007) Wine Spectator: "It's a doughnut nose: a sweet dusting of cinnamon and corn, with a touch of vanilla. Maker's is a bright, delicate balance of corn and cinnamon, with just enough oaky spice coming along in th ...Read More »
This is one of the great bourbon deals that K&L has to offer. It is a soft, creamy, rich, and semi-sweet whiskey that drinks far above its price point. For all of those who long for Black Maple Hill, the Hirsch might be just a bit better. Always a top-seller and a customer favorite, we just need to keep it in stock!
The classic Jim Beam expression - big spice, lots of cinnamon and clove notes, with great richness cutting through the high proof.
Inventory: Redwood City
One of America's finest and most authentic rye whiskey. Great price for an excellent 6 year Rye.
Fresh off our late Summer visit to Kentucky, we've got two new K&L single barrel selections ready to go just in time for the holiday season. It's no secret we're big fans of the Kickin' Chicken and getting the chance to go around with the legendary Jimmy Russell and pick barrels out of the Wild Turkey warehouse is an opportunity we'll never pass on. Barrel #3181 is a dialed up version of everything you love about the Russell's Reserve whiskies: big Red Hot cinnamon spice, sweet oak up front, leaner on the palate, with a finish that brings more of that cl... Read More »
Wine Spectator: "A fiery oak nose eventually yields sweet corn, herbal grass notes and light vanilla. Laser-intense flavors of mint, rye and eau-de-vie-purity corn spirit heat up the mouth. Break it with a bit of water and you'll get corn pudding, boozy vanilla and a drying oak finish. It's a great example of deep flavor hidden in overproof whiskey." (2/2012) K&L Notes: Noah's Mill is a handmade, small-batch Kentucky bourbon with unique character and a smoothness rarely found in young whiskies. Awarded a Gold Medal at the 2005 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This received 91... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This mellow Bourbon is scented with vanilla and a hint of stone fruit. On the palate it's light and creamy, with nuanced notes of vanilla, almond and pecan, plus a gentle baking-spice finish. Sip or mix. (KN)" (9/2016) Wine Spectator: "The nose is standard Bourbon: corn, vanilla, with notes of mint and oak dryness. On the palate, there's more corn, vanilla and a bit of cocoa; the mint is more pronounced. The finish shows off the oak. Simple, straightforward, unpretentious." (2/2012) K&L Notes: **World Whisky Award Winner: Best Bourbon 7 Years and Under (2010)** **Malt Advoc... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This blended Bourbon starts smooth and sweet, with sasparilla and maple sugar, then explodes with bold cassia, cinnamon and cayenne razzle-dazzle." (7/2013) Whisky Advocate: "A soft, delicate bourbon -- especially when compared to its single barrel siblings here. Subtle notes of candied fruit and creamy sweet notes (vanilla, coconut, light toffee, and caramel corn) are nicely interwoven. Some integrated, gently-dried spice dances throughout and lingers on the finish. An easy-to-embrace bourbon with nice balance. (Vol. 16, #4)" K&L Notes: Named American Whiskey Distiller of the Year 2010... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Crazy-sweet aroma, full of caramel, vanilla and a slight floral touch. The bite comes first (and lingers awhile), followed by vanilla, caramel, coconut flavors. It mellows considerably with ice, and becomes quite likeable, drinkable and mild." (11/2010) K&L Notes: The Michter's name has been synonymous with great whisky since the 1950s. That famous whisky, once distilled at the famous Schaefferstown Distillery in PA, is no longer, but the legacy lives on. Current owners Chatham Imports bottles under this historic name and have been doing so since the 1990s! One of th... Read More »
Fresh off our late Summer visit to Kentucky, we've got two new K&L single barrel selections ready to go just in time for the holiday season. It's no secret we're big fans of the Kickin' Chicken and getting the chance to go around with the legendary Jimmy Russell and pick barrels out of the Wild Turkey warehouse is an opportunity we'll never pass on. Barrel #246 is one of the more spicy and concentrated whiskies we've ever bottled from the Russells. Whereas most Wild Turkey whiskies have a mellow, toasted corn creaminess in their profile, this particular ... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* This small-batch bourbon uses wheat in place of rye to create a soft, rounded character. The mild crème brulee aroma leads into sasparilla and creamy caramel flavors. At 92 proof, it’s a wonder that the alcohol feels so moderate, but it makes its presence known in the cinnamon-firework finish. Attractive bottle design with clever keyhole label." (7/2013) Whisky Advocate: "A new wheated bourbon from Heaven Hill, using wheat instead of rye in the mashbill, resulting in a smooth, easygoing whiskey. Layers of sweetness (creamy vanilla, maple syrup, marzipan) combin ...Read More »
This is Wild Turkey's super-premium Bourbon, bottled at 101-proof. It has a soft nose for such a high proof Bourbon, with scents of dates and vanilla and oranges, which continue onto the honeyed palate. Rich and powerful.
Rowan’s Creek bourbon is stored in charred oak barrels and is hand-bottled at 50% alc./vol. (100 proof). This boutique bourbon is still made in small lots, batch-by-batch. Rowan's Creek takes its namesake from the creek that runs directly through the distillery. This creek still carries the best limestone spring water that is essential for making good bourbon.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Though this new offering meets the technical criteria for rye (a mash bill of at least 51% rye), the sweet, caramelly flavors suggest a high-rye Bourbon—which makes sense considering that Knob Creek is best known for its Bourbon. Expect bold almond, oak, brown butter and pecan pie flavors. The drying baking-spice finish is more characteristic of rye, and has less bite than might be expected of a 100-proof spirit." (9/2013) Whisky Advocate: "Unlike the Knob Creek bourbons (which are 9 years old), there’s no age statement with this new rye, which tastes relatively younger. It ...Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "This uncut, barrel-strength Bourbon is bold and flavorful. The caramel aroma is rich and luxe. On the palate, it’s quite tannic and drying, but the flavor shines through, showing toffee, caramel and dried cherry, with a spicy finish of clove, dried fig and date. The alcohol feels remarkably balanced despite the high proof. It needs no adornment: just add a chunk of ice and enjoy." (9/2014) Whisky Advocate: "Aged 7 years, 1 month, and 7 days. Big and chewy, with nutty toffee, molasses, nougat, tobacco, pencil shavings, subtle fruit, and dried spice (cinnamon, vanilla). Leath ...Read More »
Kentucky's most popular wheated bourbon that isn't called "Pappy," Maker's Mark has long been famous for using winter wheat as the flavor grain (along with the majority of corn) instead of the ubiquitous rye. The only thing that ever kept Maker's Mark from capturing the hearts of serious bourbon aficionados everywhere was the low proof. In 2014, however, they released a tiny amount of cask strength whiskey to Kentucky residents and people went bananas. Seeing that landing a bottle of Pappy today is like winning the lottery, the Maker's Mark Cask Strength... Read More »
Distilled by Buffalo Trace, this four year old rye recipe bourbon won the Silver Medal in the 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition and a Great Value award, 93 points, in the 2016 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
While Beam may have hired Mila Kunis to do its commercials, the distillery won't need to invest much in marketing if it can continue to offer single barrels like this one to key retail accounts. Our latest selection K&L cask selection from Beam's gigantic warehouses is a bright, supple, and incredibly balanced Bourbon that brings serious value to the single barrel category. There's a lovely sweetness that envelopes the sense from the first sip and sways between sweet vanilla and earthy grains all the way across the palate to the finish. It's not an anoma... Read More »
Whisky Advocate: "Plenty of color, and the nose says it ain’t lying. Sharp warehouse oak aroma puts an edge on an authoritative nose of honey, Indian pudding, spicy hard candy, and old-fashioned root beer, the not-too-sugary kind. Fiery and bold on the tongue as oak roars from start to finish, but the sweetness builds sip-by-sip: cornbread, buckwheat honey, King syrup, and a teasy bit of citrus peel. Long finish as the oak dies down. At this price, let’s keep it our secret. Sourced whiskey. (Fall 2015)" K&L Notes: Made by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd.
The iconic label from the Heaven Hill Distillery has long been considered one of the greats. This lovely cask of Elijah Craig is the first we've received from their newly rebranded Small Batch 9 year old single barrel program. This exceptional whiskey, which we've known for decades in its older 12 year expression, is now being bottled as a no age statement small batch. We're lucky to get one of the few single barrels available this year. While these bottles don't care the age designate on the package, each of their single barrels is aged at least 9 years... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits 2013* Finished in the barrel with specially seared oak staves, this Bourbon is a new classic. In the glass, it sports a bright maple color, and lively, spicy aromas and flavors of oaky vanilla and tropical fruit touched with clove, ginger and allspice." (7/2013) 90 points Whisky Advocate: "This is original 'red wax' Maker's Mark that received additional aging in barrels containing internal "seared" French oak staves. The original Maker's Mark, being a wheated bourbon (instead of rye, which is typically used), is rather mellow and easy-to-drink.The French oak staves i ...Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits 2013 & Best Buy* This luxurious Bourbon shows layered and dense flavors that run to the darker and drier side: cocoa, espresso, clove and allspice, all wrapped in beautiful caramel and butterscotch aromatics. At 100 proof, the alcohol deservedly feels intense, so best to temper this with a bit of branchwater or ice." (7/2013)
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "This limited-release rye offers a rich aroma of vanilla and caramel. Bottled at barrel strength, it's initially drying and hot on the palate. Complex and echoing with rounded vanilla and allspice, it stands up to plenty of dilution, and finishes on a hint of almond. (KN)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: The Michter's name has been synonymous with great whisky since the 1950s. That famous whiskey, once distilled at the famous Schaefferstown Distillery in PA, is no longer, but the legacy lives on. Current owners Chatham Imports bottle under this historic name and have been doing s... Read More »
On a recent trip to Kentucky, our buyers paid their first ever visit to Jim Beam to taste barrels with esteemed distiller Fred Noe, son of the late, great Booker Noe. With supplies of mature, age-labeled Kentucky Bourbon on the decline due to increasing demand, they were searching for value in market with few true deals as of late. Jim Beam, being the state's largest distiller of Bourbon, still has healthy supplies of 9+ year old casks and was happy to make them available for the boys upon their arrival. Bottled with at a whopping 120 proof, these hand-s... Read More »
This barrel of Four Roses formula OESK is one of the sweetest and roundest selections we've snagged from the distillery in years. With the swirl of sweet wood and vanilla that overtakes your palate right from the first sip, never in a million years would you dream this Bourbon was 118.6 proof. The E means we're dealing with a 75% corn mashbill, with only 20% rye and 5% malted barley. The K refers to one of ten yeast strains used at Four Roses, this one happens to produce light caramel notes and a full-bodied spirit. Both are true in this case. This singl... Read More »
Finding an age statement in today's bourbon market is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Finding one that's above ten years of age is like finding a needle in a haystack. Because of the current state of affairs, the prices for American whiskey are going bananas. So how is it that Wild Turkey can come in and drop a 17 year old gem of a bourbon for the same price as some non-age statement MGP-bottled mystery? We weren't sure, so we headed on down to the distillery recently to try ourselves a pour. Soft, round, and rich on the palate, thi... Read More »
Whisky Advocate: "The whiskey's formula has been improved, and now consists of a higher percentage of older whiskies (into the high teens) than the original release...Nicely balanced, with candied fruit, blackberry jam, soft vanilla, kettle corn, and a kiss of mint. Pleasant, unpretentious, and uncomplicated. (Vol. 20, #3)" K&L Notes: A medium-weight, small batch, aged bourbon that delivers richness and elegance. Aromas of peaches, vanilla, raisins and butterscotch carry through to the palate, which also shows flavors suggestive of dates, orange and blackberry. Sweet, and warm through... Read More »
Whisky Advocate: "This is what I wish the standard Maker’s Mark would be: more mature, spicier, more complex, and with a richer finish. This was initially released in Kentucky only, but rumors are that it will get a wider distribution in the future. The best Maker’s Mark since the now extinct Maker’s Mark Black, which was released for export only. If you can track down a bottle, you won’t be disappointed. -John Hansell" K&L Notes: Kentucky's most popular wheated bourbon that isn't called "Pappy," Maker's Mark has long been famous for using winter wheat as the flavor grain (along with ... Read More »
Heaven Hill's flag ship single barrel remains one of the best values in American whiskey period. Each cask is different, but the general profile for EWSB is all about balance. A strong fruity note and a rich vanilla undertone, balance the rich honey notes and spicy backbone on the palate. This is a medium bodied highly drinkable whiskey with tons of finesse and character. We're on the 2007 vintage here.
In 2001, following years of tough love and training, Booker Noe passed the torch of Knob Creek to his son Fred who carried on the tradition ever since. The 2001 Limited Edition Knob Creek series is a tribute to that transition and the relationship between the father and son distillers. One of three 14 year old batches released by Beam, batch three is not quite as sweet as batch one and not quite of tannic as batch two, ending up somewhere in between with robust oak and plenty of sweetness.
Whisky Advocate: "The whiskey’s formula has been improved, and now consists of a higher percentage of older whiskies (into the high teens) than the original release (which I rated 81). Nicely balanced, with candied fruit, blackberry jam, soft vanilla, kettle corn, and a kiss of mint. Pleasant, unpretentious, and uncomplicated. (Vol. 20, #3)" K&L Notes: A delicate, small batch Kentucky bourbon with stone fruit, vanilla and oak notes on the nose. It is smooth and sweet on the palate with a kiss of orange, wood smoke and a mulled berry flavors.
Woodford Reserve's Double Oak is exactly what it sounds like: the classic Woodford Reserve Bourbon put back into new charred oak barrels for a double maturation. Not only are the barrels charred in this case, but they're charred to the blackest possible level (any further and the wood would simply disintegrate). The result is a Bourbon with big richness and tons of new oak flavor. You can even catch that little note of blackened oak spice on the finish.
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "0 This tawny Bourbon has a rich, spiced scent reminiscent of fruitcake. On the palate, look for caramel studded with dried cherry, orange peel and clove, finishing quite dry. A great profile for classic cocktails, and not too precious to mix. (KN)" (9/2014)
Whisky Advocate: "Distilled from a relatively low-rye mash of 53% rye, 33% corn, 14% malt; true to Woodford Reserve form, a mingling of whiskeys distilled at Woodford and at Brown-Forman in Louisville. Nose of leather, cinnamon, rye snappiness, and hints of red raspberry. Hot and lean on the palate, spicy/sweet until rye’s bitter layering floats in, making for a dry finish as the oak comes on stronger. Balances drinkable and elegant quite nicely, and it’s real Woodford. (Summer 2015)" K&L Notes: Woodford Reserve's new rye whiskey is not only delicious, it's one of the most interesting... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Our latest edition of OBSQ encapsulates everything Bourbon drinkers love about higher rye recipes; namely, the combination of richness and peppery spice that act as the yin and yang of a balanced American whiskey. The B in OBSK means we're dealing with a 60% corn, 35% rye Four Roses mashbill (the other 5% the standard malted barley addition), and you can taste every bit of that formula at play. The first sip brings a wave of dark cocoa and polished wood without any of the floral aromas that the Q yeast strain is known to propagate. The nose is more of th... Read More »