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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
The new offering from Diageo's Orphan Barrel operation is a 15 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey distilled at the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville. It features a very low rye content in the mashbill and is already selling out across the country. These Orphan Barrels are the remnant of long-defunct brands of bourbon or blended whiskey that have found new life in this special series. Sip on this and wonder where this whiskey might have gone otherwise. I think we're all glad it ended up here. Limit 2 bottles per customer
We've been doing gin and single malt for years, and now rum, so why not throw our hat in the bourbon pool? One of the obstacles that kept us from making a Faultline bourbon earlier was availability: the current demand has made the extra barrel a thing of the past. One of the only distilleries that would sell us a cask for a private label was the old LDI distillery in Indiana, but with the already overcrowded LDI market (Bulleit Rye, Templeton Rye, High West, etc) we didn't think our product would be different enough, or of the quality we desired, for the... Read More »
95 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pour it, and let it sit awhile; this one opens up and gets more aromatic, rich and flavorful, like wine. It starts off with a candied sweetness and touches of coconut and tea on the nose, then opens up to deeper caramel tones. Orange and caramel flavors, mellow, smooth, linger on the finish. Light-bodied, despite the bold, luxurious flavors. And oh, that pretty bottle, like an oversized perfume flask. Add this one to your gift list." (9/2010) Wine Spectator: "Custard, pepper, orange peel and grassy rye fill the nose. In the mouth, it's a breakneck ride: an initial rush of ...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 ...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 »
This past January we tasted another extensive round of Four Roses barrel samples and wound up choosing three more wonderful casks that help to illustrate both the quality and the diversity of the Kentucky distillery's backstock. The ten year, nine month old OESF is the richest and roundest of the three barrels, despite the fact that it's a month younger than one of its brothers. At 52.7%, the whiskey has evaporated more liquid and concentrated more oak into the spirit. Big, rich, oaky vanilla starts off the palate, more spice and peppery notes flutter to... 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 12 year old Bourbon has to be one of the best 12 year old Bourbons on the market! Great balance of sweetness and spice. Also at 94 proof it has just the right amount of kick.
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 »
This bourbon, bottled in bond, was aged for seven years in the famous Colonel Taylor's warehouse built in 1881. It is the latest from the sought-after E.H. Taylor line from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Soft and subtle, this is easily the most approachable and affordable of the recent Taylor releases. The Bottled in Bond Act of 1897 means that the bourbon come from barrels all produced at one distillery, in a single season, and then stored in a bonded warehouse for at least four years before being bottled at 100 proof.
We're back with more hand-picked K&L barrels, directly from Wild Turkey's Lawrenceburg warehouse where our spirits team visited and tasted with legendary distiller Jimmy Russell. Barrel 2403 is a gentle whisper of a whiskey compared to many of the monsters we've secured over the years. One would never think 55% upon tasting this delicate Bourbon. The aromas are classic burnt sugar and toasted wood and those notes translate into a creamy and supple mouthfeel on the initial entry. The palate then turns into herbaceous notes of pepper and dried underbrush b... 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 »
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 »
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 »
Inventory: Redwood City
This past January we tasted another extensive round of Four Roses barrel samples and wound up choosing three more wonderful casks that help to illustrate both the quality and the diversity of the Kentucky distillery's backstock. Our nine year, seven month old barrel of formula OESK is a whopping 61.9% ABV with dark, brooding notes of oak and earth on the nose, fading in and out with undertones of burnt sugar and charred wood. The initial sip is all pencil shavings and more earthy notes before exploding on the finish with black cherry, oak spices, and a z... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pour this single-barrel Bourbon some time in advance to allow it to open up and reveal crème caramel aromatics while you eye the rich topaz color in the glass. Sweet and smooth, this whiskey finishes with dry espresso, dark chocolate and black-tea notes. Mix into classic cocktails." (7/2013)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 leather. The heavyweight of the gr ...Read More »
Another four stupendous casks of Four Roses have just arrived on the tail of the three fabulous casks that were recently released. Thank God, cause you guys ate those up, we're almost completely out. These four new casks for the most part are a total contrast from the last three, with the exception of one offering which is identical to the last batch in every way except the barrel number--VERY educational to taste them side by side. This lovely OBSF is getting close to the 12 year mark and comes in at a healthy 119 proof. It was aged in the HW warehouse.... Read More »
We're back with more hand-picked K&L barrels, directly from Wild Turkey's Lawrenceburg warehouse where our spirits team visited and tasted with legendary distiller Jimmy Russell. Those looking for the bright spice and youthful vigor of the Russell's Reserve will want to go with barrel #2087. A veritable explosion of pepper, baking spices, dried herbs, and savory goodness takes off right from the first sip. While not exhibiting the power of something like Four Roses cask strength or George Stagg, the higher than normal alcohol level definitely helps bring... 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) comb ...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!
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 »
Four years ago, when barrels of 18 year old Stitzel Weller Bourbon could be purchased on a whim, we began piling up more casks than we knew what to do with. When you buy a barrel of whiskey from a producer they usually send you the empty vessel with it. At that time we were working closely with Crispin Cain at the American Craft Whsikey Distillery on a number of new projects and when they mentioned they were experimenting with wheat whiskey, running it through their antique column still, I offered some of our ex-Bourbon casks for maturation. "Fill this o... Read More »
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "**Top 50 Spirits 2013 & Best Buy** Consider this blended Bourbon for dessert pairings or a fruit-spiked Old Fashioned. Look for caramel and dried-cherry aromas and a flavor akin to dark chocolate-covered cherries. The long, mouthwatering finish is dark and decadent, evoking chocolate, espresso, Port, leather, nutmeg and clove." (7/2013) 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, straightforw ...Read More »
Jefferson's is one of the few negotiant bottlers left that still has access to real Kentucky Bourbon. Most other second-party labels have moved on to MGP (formerly known as LDI) distillery in Indiana, which makes delicious whiskey, but is rather ubiquitous in today's market. This single barrel from Jefferson's mature stocks is one of the softest, more supple American whiskies we have in stock. The focus is clearly the creamy corn and the richness of the spirit. There's a bit of an herbaceous note on the finish, hints of dried leaves and tobacco, but it's... Read More »
The Willett Distilling Company, which has been family, owned and operated since 1935, is now the home of Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. The Pot Still Reserve is KBD's flagship single barrel product and while it doesn't carry an age statement, it is of the highest quality. Because it is bottled in single barrel format, the precise flavors change from cask to cask. However, the general style of this bourbon, despite the single cask nature, is one of great elegance. It is bottled in a lovely glass pot still decanter. A very graceful bourbon. It's very su... 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 »
When David and I visited Kentucky for the first time last year, we saw everyone drinking a brand called Very Old Barton. It was everywhere we went. Granted, we had heard that Sazerac's other Kentucky distillery (you know, not-Buffalo Trace) was very popular in its home state, but I was taken aback at how prevalent it was; especially considering they don't distribute it to the West Coast. It's an inexpensive local favorite that stays pretty local for that reason. As you can see in the above photo, the 90 proof 1.75L bottles sell for about $25. That's not ... Read More »
We're back with more hand-picked K&L barrels, directly from Wild Turkey's Lawrenceburg warehouse where our spirits team visited and tasted with legendary distiller Jimmy Russell. Barrel #554 was already half-empty when we tasted it having evaporated at an incredible speed even for Kentucky standards. That phenomenon usually translates into a more concentrated core of oak flavor, which the nose initially suggests as well. Big vanilla and intense wood are apparent right from the initial whiff. The palate is rich and spicy, but not nearly as sweet as the no... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
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; foll... 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 »
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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "An unexpectedly wonderful pairing with a sweet chocolate or a sticky caramel dessert, Campfire blends straight rye whiskey, straight Bourbon and blended Scotch. Altogether, it’s big and smoky, with lots of iodine, but doesn’t completely overwhelm, settling into a pleasing mix of toffee and peat. Gift a bottle to a Scotch lover to introduce the joys of American whiskeys." (7/2013) Whisky Advocate: "A blend of bourbon, rye, and peated single malt Scotch whiskies. This is an adaptation of the original release that spent additional time in Hungarian and French oak barrels. The ...Read More »
The beast is awakening! Finally, Kentucky's largest Bourbon distillery is using its size and scale to create a fantastic, value-oriented, high-quality whiskey that anyone can enjoy. For less than $20, this is my new go-to for mixing cocktails and making rocks drinks. It's Beam flavor through and through-creamy corn, sweet vanilla, and that spicy, grainy finish-just turned up to 100 proof. It's a no-brainer for the money.
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 »
Another four stupendous casks of Four Roses have just arrived on the tail of the three fabulous casks that were recently released. Thank God, cause you guys ate those up, we're almost completely out. These four new casks for the most part a total contrast from the last three, with the exception of one offering which is identical to the last batch in every way except the barrel number--VERY educational to taste them side by side. Another lucky find over 11 years old aged in warehouse US. The OBSO whiskey is an important component in the standard Small Bat... 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* 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 »
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.
Another four stupendous casks of Four Roses have just arrived on the tail of the three fabulous casks that were recently released. Thank god, cause you guys ate those up, we're almost completely out. These four new casks for the most part a total contrast from the last three, with the exception of one offering which is identical to the last batch in everyway except the barrel number - VERY educational to taste them side by side. This is a great lesson in why the single barrel is important. Driscoll and I, completely independetly from each other selected ... Read More »
Another four stupendous casks of Four Roses have just arrived on the tail of the three fabulous casks that were recently released. Thank God, cause you guys ate those up, we're almost completely out. These four new casks for the most part a total contrast from the last three, with the exception of one offering which is identical to the last batch in every way except the barrel number--VERY educational to taste them side by side. This wild spicy OBSK came out of the ME warehouse. It is the youngest of the bunch, but a total no brainer in my opinion. This ... 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 (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.
The beast is awakening! Finally, Kentucky's largest Bourbon distillery is using its size and scale to create a fantastic, value-oriented, high-quality whiskey that anyone can enjoy. The new 90 proof rye formula is definitely going to make a splash in what is still a rather desolate rye market. The spice is turned up a notch and the pepperiness of the grain really comes through, while maintaining richness. For a few dollars less than Bulleit, it should cause many a discerning drinker to ponder switching over. A must for Manhattans.
High West is dedicated to preserving and promoting the American West, that's why they've created a whiskey dedicated to one of the greatest land preservation projects of our time: the American Prairie Reserve in Montana, a 5000 square mile land tract the size of Connecticut restored to what Lewis and Clark would have seen. High West will donate 10% of after tax profits from each bottle to the American Prairie Foundation. This is a marriage of two straight Bourbon whiskies: 6 year old Bourbon distilled and aged at the old Seagrams plant in Lawrenceberg In... 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.
The classic Jim Beam expression - big spice, lots of cinnamon and clove notes, with great richness cutting through the high proof.
A fine effort for this little craft distillery out of Brooklyn. Funky, spirity, powerful and made to drink. The little bottles fit snuggly in your skinny jeans...
Beam's limited edition whiskies for the Fall 2014 season have arrived, substituting the rye for a different experimental flavor grain. The Beam 11 year old "soft red wheat" is exactly what you expect it to be: like a combination of Beam Signature 12 with Weller 12. It's a soft, creamy, deliciously delicate whiskey from Beam-maybe the most exciting Beam I've ever tasted just for its incredible crossover potential. It's not cask strength and it's not inexpensive, but what it lacks in specs it makes up for in flavor. You might hesitate in buying one, but y... Read More »
Sazerac's other distillery, the Barton facility in Bardstown, is not nearly as well-known as the Buffalo Trace side of things. Ken Pierce, not Harlan Wheatley, is distilling over in Bardstown, making a high-rye Bourbon called 1792 Ridgemont, a softer, smoother, yet more peppery version of Bourbon than what we're used to from BT. Lots of tasty oak integration and a wonderful mix of spice and richness make this another feather in the cap of America's top Bourbon producer.
*Double Gold Medal, San Francisco World Wine & Spirits Competition* Distilled from 100% Hopi blue corn in Waco, Texas, this is one of the tastier young American whiskies to come out recently. The corn is present and the flavors are dominated by it, but there is a subtle sweetness behind it that really makes the whiskey quite pleasant. It's much softer than most other young products and is very sippable. Balcones has done well to make one of the more accessible whiskies in the burgeoning American craft whisky scene.