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K&L Staff Recommendations
Basil Hayden's Bourbon 750ml $36.99
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 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 »
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 »
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 »
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!
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
One of America's finest and most authentic rye whiskey. Great price for an excellent 6 year Rye.
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 »
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 vintage Kentucky Bourbon is incredibly easy to drink. It's a honeyed gold hue, with aromas of caramel, vanilla, spice and smoke that are plush and honeyed on the palate. Undertones of apple, orange zest and spice fill in the palate and continue onto the finish.
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 »
Since the explosion of American whiskey, it's been pretty much impossible to find a straight rye at a price that doesn't break the bank. Luckily, the workhorse rye from the Jim Beam Portfolio is pretty tasty in a pinch and the price looks mighty fine compared to some of the young Indiana distilled whiskey that's trading for upwards of $30. It's got that great (some might say ghastly) yellow label and there ain't nothing wrong with it. Don't waste the fancy stuff on the wrong crowd, you'll thank yourself regularly for always having a bottle around. Plus, ... 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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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.
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 »
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: "Rich and creamy, this small-batch Bourbon offers butterscotch laced with bitter chocolate and orange peel, edged with a clove and cinnamon finish. Muscular alcohol feel." (7/2013) Whisky Advocate: "The new, elder sibling to the standard Bulleit. It shows the Bulleit personality, but it’s deeper and drier on the nose and palate (as would be expected), with more oak, dried orchard fruit, and dark berried fruit, along with a hint of barrel char, leather, vanilla powder, and a dusting of cinnamon. I’d save this as a postprandial bourbon, and opt for the standard Bulleit as an a ...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.
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Fragrant with cinnamon, floral clover honey, and sweet dried fruit notes. Flavorful: lots of oak, a generous dose of toffee, toasty nutmeg and allspice, finishing with a big bite. Reminiscent of dark gingerbread. Medium body, pleasant, a touch astringent." (09/10)
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 »
The classic Jim Beam expression - big spice, lots of cinnamon and clove notes, with great richness cutting through the high proof.
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.
This classic brand is finally back in the hands of its namesake family. The wonderful and affordable high proof bourbon was originally produced by Wathen Medley at the Owensborough Distillery in the 1940's and 50's. The brand left family hands in the late 50's, but Sam Medley has worked tireless to win back the rights to his family's old brands. The resulting product is an incredibly well priced 100+ proof bourbon targeting the craft cocktail movement. What that means for you is another excellent $20ish kentucky bourbon and more proof that American Whisk... Read More »
Made by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd.
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.
The secret is out. Old Bardstown Black Label is one of the best deals in Bourbon. Close your eyes, forget the label, and taste what $20 can really get you out of Kentucky. You don't need to drink slop to save money. What a deal!