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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 »
The new release of Anchor's highly sought-after straight rye. Bottled at slightly higher proof this year, but, as usual, this whiskey was aged for 3.5 years in new charred oak barrels. Very limited.
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 »
For years, Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, run by the Kulsveen family, has been bottling fantastic whiskey under their numerous labels; Willett being just one of the expressions (along with Noah's Mill, Rowan's Creek, Johnny Drum, etc.). Willett Distillery was actually founded in the 1930s by former Bernheim superintendent Thompson Willett, but subsequent generations of the family would become disinterested in bourbon until the distillery finally closed. Evan Kulsveen, who married Willett's daughter, purchased the abandoned site in 1984 with plans to reopen... Read More »
One of America's finest and most authentic rye whiskey. Great price for an excellent 6 year Rye.
96 points Wine Enthusiast: "Strong but intriguing. Medium color and body, with rich aromas of burnt orange and caramel. The flavors also reflected burnt orange and caramel, plus a spicy tinge reminiscent of cassia bark or Red-Hot candies. The finish lingers, pleasant, inviting and warm. Might be good for Manhattans--a touch of fruit or sweetness would go well with this rye." (11/2010) 95 points Whisky Advocate: "A blend of two whiskeys; a 6 year old made from 95% rye and a 16 year old made from 80% rye. These are very high percentages; a straight rye whiskey only needs to contain 51% rye to meet the definition ...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 »
The fascinating spirit represents Anchor Brewing Company's attempt to re-create the original whiskey of America. This release was distilled in a small copper pot still at Anchor's distillery on San Francisco's Potrero Hill, from a mash of 100% rye malt. Rye was the grain of choice for America's first distillers, and using a mash of 100% rye malt produces a uniquely American whiskey. Aging in handmade oak barrels--lightly toasted in the traditional manner--imparts a wonderfully subtle flavor to this 18th-century-style American whiskey. (In the 18th centur... Read More »
97 points Wine Enthusiast: "This full-bodied blended whisky hits all the right notes, starting with plenty of rich caramel and oak tones on the nose and palate, plus touches of butterscotch, spicy cinnamon and clove. It finishes long, slightly oily and mouthfilling. Sip it straight or add a splash of sweet vermouth." (11/2015) K&L Notes: Voted Canadian Whisky of the Year by the Whisky Advocate, Lot 40 is considered by many to be the quintessential Canadian rye whisky, garnering heaps of praise and a cult-like following. Distilled by Hiram Walker, now run by Pernod Ricard, it was briefly discont... Read More »
Since the great American rye whiskey shortage began back in 2008 much of the market has gravitated over to "North American" rye whiskey, i.e. Canadian-distilled rye from above the border. Since that transition no brand has become more beloved than perhaps Whistle Pig, the Vermont-based company that sources ten year old stocks of Alberta rye whiskey and blends them into a lovely expression both rich and robust. Earlier this year the company announced a single barrel program allowing select retailers to choose single barrel, cask strength versions of the W... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Medium-amber color, citrusy aromas opening up to caramel scent. Big flavors of tobacco, oak, and leather lead to a lingering, tannic, alcoholic and slightly bitter finish. Cocktail purists will love the label showing old-time gentlemen in hats tippling at the bar." (11/2010) K&L Notes: The most talked about little rye is finally available to the general public. This is a spice monster! It almost feels like they've steeped it in spices after distillation. Big, rich, clove, cinnamon, very intense, very delicious. Now available online after months of in-store only! Dis... Read More »
When you think about Utah you probably think about great skiing, stunning National Parks, maybe great mountain biking. But did you know that Utah also cast the deciding vote that ended Prohibition? This barrel aged Manhattan, made from two parts High West Double Rye whiskey, one part sweet red vermouth and two dashes of Angostura bitters (per every 2.5 ounce serving), was all left to rest for 120 days in a two-year-old rye whiskey barrel. The results are stunning, harmonious and a great homage to that key vote, the 36th Vote, that allows us to freely enj... Read More »
One of the more interesting and intriguing independent bottlings of bourbon since Black Maple Hill went out of production, the Lost Republic whiskey is made of three different bourbons from three different states: Indiana, Tennessee, and California. Matt Weese and his team in Healdsburg are contracting spirit and aging the barrels separately in their Napa warehouse, using them to create a fruity, grainy, and gritty style of American whiskey. The fruity, young whiskey aromas are potent on the nose, but the woody, vanilla notes balance out the youth on the... Read More »
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 »
Named for former owner E. H. Taylor Jr., this is the fifth release in this limited edition bottled-in-bond 100 proof whiskey from Buffalo Trace Distillery. It is notable in that it is using an undisclosed mashbill consisting of only rye and malted barley. The proportions are not disclosed, neither is the use of malted rye, if used at all. The profile is herbal and peppery with a distinct dried citrus aroma. The intense spice is balanced by a rich sweet-side. A welcome, if unusual, offering from Buffalo Trace.
90 points Whisky Advocate: "A blend of two straight whiskeys: a very young 2 year old high rye content whiskey and a 16 year old rye whiskey with a lower rye content. Perhaps the spiciest American whiskey I have ever tasted, yet at the same time, quite tame and mellow. Complex notes of mint, clove, cinnamon, licorice root, pine nuts, and dark chocolate, with a surprising dose of gin botanicals throughout. A soft underbelly of caramel, sweet corn, and soothing vanilla provides an interesting counterpoint. Very easy-drinking, too (hard to believe it’s 46%). Intriguing, and a must-try ...Read More »
Whisky Advocate: "The back label of this whiskey describes it as 'feisty,' and feisty it is! Brandishing 95% rye (another Canadian flavoring whisky that was diverted?), bottled at 46%, and at a relatively young age (around two years old), this whiskey lets you know you are alive. It’s very spicy, with crisp evergreen, warming cinnamon, clove, rooty licorice, dark chocolate, and suggestions of gin botanicals. Spicy, vibrant finish. I’m having fun drinking this au naturel (the whiskey, that is), but this would also zing in a cocktail, the same way smoky Islay whiskies make ...Read More »
Old Overholt is amongst the oldest more-or-less-continuously available distilled products in America. (They've operated for at least 150 years.) When one speaks of rye, others are most likely to think of this product, if they think of anything. Their Straight Rye is readily available at a moderate price. Overholt has a subtle nose with hints of raisin, fruit (orange perhaps), and almond. Overholt's taste is light, with slightly medicinal and bitter hints.
Corbin is a farm located in Atwater, California (just south of Modesto) that grows sweet potatoes. A few years back, David Souza, whose family has farmed in the region for a hundred years, decided to add a still to preserve the unused harvest (just like farmers have been doing for hundreds of years) and Corbin Sweet Potato Vodka was born. It turns out that Corbin hasn't only been distilling sweet potato vodka over the past few years; they've also been growing, harvesting, fermenting and distilling their own rye--purchasing custom-charred, 53 gallon white... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits 2013 & Best Buy* Despite a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley, this golden-bright, small-batch rye is smooth and not as spicy as other rye whiskies. It has a surprising freshness, with bold vanilla, nut, fresh apple and white-flower aromas leaping out of the glass. While charred-oak flavors hit the palate first (it’s matured in charred oak barrels for at least five years), it finishes downright buttery, touched with ginger and maple sweetness." (7/2013) K&L Notes: Here we have the venerated Tennessee distillery, dipping its toes into the hot a... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
The modern classic returns in a new 1L bottle! The Kickin' Chicken is finally back on the shelf!
96 points Wine Enthusiast: "Attention wine lovers: this fab bottling with the cowboy label is made with a blend of straight rye whiskies finished in two wine casks, formerly holding vermouth and Syrah. The result is a deep ruddy amber hue and a strikingly concentrated flavor profile. Look for warming layers of caramel, toffee and espresso, drying to leather, zingy orange peel and spice. Sip or mix into Manhattans or any drink including sweet vermouth. (KN)" (7/2016) K&L Notes: Another winner from David Perkins and the gang at High West, the new Yippee Ki Yay takes rye whiskies from Barton and L... Read More »
The Pepper Barrel proof is one of the best values in Rye today. Cask strength LDI for less than $40. Sure it's only 3-4 years old, but several others sell the exact same stuff for twice the price. Isn't that nice.
Whisky Advocate: "The third recently released 100% rye whiskey sourced from Canada, with the others being WhistlePig (50%, $70) and Jefferson’s (47%, $40). (The one you purchase might depend on which one you can find, as they are all quite limited.) This one sells at a premium to the other two, but shows polish and is nicely rounded. Layers of sweetness (honeyed fruit, caramel, nutty toffee, maple syrup), toasted oak, cinnamon, evergreen, nutmeg, and a dusting of cocoa. Very distinctive! (Vol. 20, #4)" K&L Notes: Another independently-bottled Canadian 10 year old rye, a la the Jeffers... Read More »
Another independent bottling of LDI rye (a la Bulleit, Templeton, Redemption, etc) except that this one offers an outstanding price. Very much in the style of Bulleit, light and peppery with soft vanilla notes. Quite drinkable on its own but nice for mixing as well. A good overall value.
Whisky Advocate: "The U.S.-released Dark Batch is, if not the same whisky as the Canadian-released Dark Horse (both from Alberta Distillers), a very close cousin. It is dark; it’s 1% sherry, which brings the intense dried fruit notes along with cedar and a bright, pleasantly musky note. More Canadians should break the 80 proof barrier: this booms into the mouth, throwing wood, cereal, fruit, and sunshine around. Good to sip, bold in a cocktail, holds its own on ice, nice price. (Summer 2015)" K&L Notes: The Dark Batch Alberta rye whiskey from Beam Suntory is here at last, utilizing st... Read More »
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 »
First produced in Maryland in the 1890s, this brand moved to Kentucky after Prohibition and is now operated by Heaven Hill, honored as "Distillery of the Year" and "at the spearhead of the rye resurgence" by Whisky Advocate in 2011. Tasting notes from the producer: "Dusty cocoa notes with oaky smoke underneath. Dry and spicy, with honeyed rye and cloves. Soft vanilla and baking spices."
Whisky Advocate: "The old Beam rye never got a lot of respect from aficionados. It’s been pulled, reformulated, and repackaged. Let’s try it. Smell: sweet grass and pepper. Taste: hot, flashy, sweet on top, with rye oiliness underneath, a tickling bitterness that blends well with oak into the finish. The higher proof plays well, giving this a punch of flavor the old yellow label didn’t have, and at a good price. It’s Manhattan time! Value Pick (Summer 2015)" K&L Notes: The beast is awakening! Finally, Kentucky's largest bourbon distillery is using its size and scale to create a fantas... Read More »
Well here we have another one of these fabolously mysterious new ryes. This was bottled in San Francisco, but it's been confirmed that the product has Canadian roots, of course. When I asked why they weren't talking about it's origins, the owners made it very clear that the reason that they weren't disclosing the supplier is that they're affraid to loose the tiny amount of rye they're getting from this distiller to someone else. Apparently, this isn't the same old Canadian Straight Rye! When they say small batch, they really mean it. These guys are secur... Read More »
This rye whisky by Alberta Distillers showcases the value proposition that unblended Canadian whisky can offer real whisky drinkers. Whereas previous Canadian releases masquerading as American whiskies (WhistlePig, Masterson's, etc.) have been rather expensive and geared toward the high-end market, Beam has retooled its Canadian partnership and focused on the economical option. There's plenty of richness, weight, and texture on the palate with lovely oak and rye spice. The CC 100 should give Bulleit some serious competition in the $20 category.
Special Order Only!!! Special order items are not in stock and are dependent upon quantity available from distribution. All special orders are final and non-refundable. Please allow 3-7 business days for product to be ready to ship.
Inventory: Special Order
The first new product released by Templeton in over ten years, this rye was aged since 2010 in new American oak barrels.
Inventory: San Francisco
Whistle Pig's experimental culmination is one of the most exciting barrel finished American Whiskey on the market. This is a blend of cask finished Rye at 12 years. It contains 63% Madeira Cask, 30% Sauternes Cask, and 7% Port Pipe.
A fabulous small-batch cask-strength rye from MGPi in Indiana. This is Willett cask-strength rye without all the hassle. Sure it's not single barrel, but it's basically the same juice at a pretty solid price for older rye.
This limited release from Tuthilltown Spirits is unique as they get. In a joint venture with Vermont maple syrup company, Wood's, has created something totally wonderful. The classic Hudson Manhattan Rye aged in ex-maple syrup barrels you say? It's not a liqueur, but it certainly developes a ton of character from this additional aging. They're not the first to mix whiskey and maple, but it's certainly the most interesting flavored whisky I've ever tasted. Totally wacky and totally wonderful.
This little distillery in the heart of Chicago is named for the famous teetotaler, Frances Elizabeth Willard. They've been making waves around the craft world and the products just keep getting better. This is their flag ship rye and winner of Craft Whiskey of the Year in 2013. To me it tastes WAY better than it did back then, so we're definitely firing on all cyclinders right now. Sure you're paying craft whiskey prices but the stuff is tasty and lives up nicely to the hype.
Coppersea is a small farm distillery located in New York's Hudson Valley that uses only 100% locally sourced ingredients to produce its incredible spirits. Whereas we've seen similarly minded micro-distillers in the market before, never have we tasted spirits quite this phenomenal from a distillery doing everything by hand. 100% of their malting is done in-house using the traditional floor-malting method. The distillery has its own 75 acre farm that is certified organic and provides their production with a percentage of their rye, while the rest is sourc... Read More »
Special Order Only! Special order items are not in stock and are dependent upon quantity available from distribution. All special orders are final and non-refundable. Will take 3-7 business days to receive this product.
Inventory: Special Order
Our first single barrel with the exceptional Ohio craft distillery also happens to be their second ever batch of Bottled in Bond Rye. This special little cask of rye was distilled on Monday May 21st, 2012 from a mash bill of 64% Rye, 11% Malted Rye, 22% Yellow Dent, and 3% Malted 2 Row Barley. Fermented without the addition of any enzymes on the grains in their old Cypress fermenter, it was distilled to 108.9 proof before barreling. During those four long years of aging nearly 20% of the barrel evaporated and the proof rose to 112. We decided that it tas... Read More »