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Staff Favorites - David Othenin-Girard

David Othenin-Girard
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Reviews

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2006 Highland Park 12 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Cask #5036 First Fill European Oak Sherry Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 06-26-2020
Some bystanders might glance at the price of this cask and balk, but anyone who's is more concerned with getting the best possible quality than pinching pennies will take a second look. Not many blue chip distillers are willing to bottle single cask for us and Highland Park isn't throwing us their leftovers with this program. This is top tier single malt with pedigree. IN addition to that, this product is the exact same price as last year’s cask, despite a 25% tariff that the importer paid. So in a real sense we're getting a significant discount on the base cost to our supplier. Furthermore, this cask comes from even more prized stocks than last years. It's first fill, meaning it was dumped in Jerez after years of maturing sherry and immediately filled with this spirit on arrival in Scotland. It's European oak, a rarity that costs both the bodega and the distiller a significant premium over the much more common American oak hogshead. And finally, it's a whopping 132 proof, bordering on hazmat. The resulting whisky is beyond what I would normally describe as a bomb. It's more like an ICBM. Let's have a taste. The color is mahogany. The nose is unusually restrained considering the color and proof. It's almost asleep at first pour. Subtle hints of chocolate powder, dried fruit, cinnamon and clove. But, one tiny sip and you realize the immensity of this whisky is completely masked. It's thick. Coating the mouth and offering endlessly deep layers of oloroso, hints of salty clean smokey, dried apricots, hot candies, pecans caramelized. Complete devastation. Just a few splashes of water and the nose opens to meet the palate. Unusually I think there's a careful balance to reach on that front, with the power and depth of the whisky and the great complexity meeting somewhere between 110-120 proof. Add slowly and let it find itself. Once it's there, expect the nose of chocolate powder to turn to molten fudge. Candied mango, sultanas, the finest old teak, far away pipe smoke, and hints of the ocean smashing onto rock. On the palate now we have all of the spices, manuka honey, nuts, dried plums and a perfect wafting background smoke. A steep strong mountain of a whisky that requires a good deal of time to fully appreciate, but once you reach the top, you'll find few better views. This will easily be one of the best whiskies of the year at any price point.
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart

2008 Glendronach 11 Year Old K&L Exclusive First Fill Single Oloroso Puncheon #2988 Cask Strength Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Review Date: 06-24-2020
I've always had a soft spot for this wonderful distillery. It was one of the first distillers to sell us single casks way back in 2011. Then they had significant old stocks at outrageously low prices. Part of what made Glendronach a household name was access to these stocks, a fact I try to impress on every distillery trying to make waves in today's cutthroat Scotch market. There is in fact very little room for BS any longer in this category. Things that aren't priced fairly or don't have the provenance to garner high prices simply don't sell. As Glendronach became more prominent and it's older stocks dwindled, our access did as well. Now products that we once sold for $150, would cost us $3-400. So we took a step back. And when Glendronach sold in 2016 we were prepared to say good buy to the single cask program forever. Amazingly, the new owners have refreshed attitude toward this program and acknowledged immediately that continuing the line would be a crucial aspect of their marketing strategy. But, we were still seeing single casks in the over 18 year range priced well over $400 so we were skeptical that we'd find something that worked. So, when we dropped by the distillery in the Spring of 2019, we weren't sure what would be on offer. Our only stipulation was that it be less than $100 on the shelf. I was prepared to taste through 5-6 year old stock, but our old friend Rachel Barrie instead offered us two choices, PX and Oloroso Puncheon just under 12 years old. These were some of the first stocks distilled after Billy Walker had taken over the distillery and a perfect example of the quality the new owners had brought to the old distillery. Both were excellent, but we were only allowed one. It wasn't an easy choice, but we ended up going with the puncheon because it more than exemplified the "classic" 'dronach flavor profile. And while this is a first fill it's not one of the motor oil dark malts. Instead its full of nuance, depth and balance. Over a year after our original selection, this cask is finally here. Even with tariffs, Glendronach honored their commitment to keep the price under $100 and we couldn't be more proud to be selling this gorgeous cask of this special malt. IT's difficult to find a better OB in the shop right now and for $100 this a no brainer for any lower of high proof sherry. The color is deep copper. The nose is a heady mixture of medium roast coffee beans, fig jam, jamon, burnt orange peel and graphite pencil shavings. The palate is surprisingly sweet considering the strong oloroso influence - full of dried apricots, plums, old leather, dark chocolate, roasted almonds and fudge candy. Chewy and textured, the finish builds into a long spicy beast. I wouldn't add more than a drop or two of water, but if you do you'll find the dark roasty flavors take a back seat to the fruit, followed by more exotic wood and spice. I rarely perfer young cask strength whisky with out ANY water, but this one I think doesn't benefit much from the addition. The sweetness on the palate totally hides the 60% abv, but the big spicy finish keeps you from forgetting what you're drinking. It's a lovely example of what's going on at this special distillery in the modern era and a great sign for what is to come of the next decade. They're still making some serious juice here and hopefully we'll continue to be able to offer casks that deliver on the promise of value and quality that built the Glendronach name.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Foursquare Rum Distillery 14 Year Old "Nobiliary" Exceptional Cask Selection Mark XII Single Cask Blended Barbados Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 06-23-2020
It truly is astonishing that we've been able to secure the quantities of this special rum like never before. Typically, the yearly special release arrives and disappears within days. For the first time in a long while, we've been able to jockey for a significant amount of the years top release and that means hopefully we'll have it for at least a little while. But then again, maybe not. This is the best special release extremely short-lived and now highly collectible "Dominus." Appropriately named, Foursquare has truly become rum nobility. The color is chestnut sherry. The nose is an explosive cocktail of dried mint, roasted clove, Tahitian vanilla, wild honey, lacquer box and freshly dried grapes. On the palate the telltale depth of the double retort pot still is front and center, but framed by a gorgeous platter of tropical fruits, spices, macadamia/hazelnut, more honey and some herbal tea, maybe lemon verbena. Long warming and overtly pleasurable, it doesn't show the heat at 122 proof and I think adding water isn't necessary considering the particularly well appointed package, but if you do add water, you'll notice the immense body coming forward. Rich and viscous. Adding weight and sweetness, while taming some of the spice, but not all. I think there are very few spirits lovers that would argue that this isn't one of best bottles of any kind in the store right now.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2006 Trois Rivières 13 Year Old K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel #23-108 Vieux Agricole Martinique Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 05-27-2020
You may ask why I'd ever buy two casks of rhum from the same distillery only a year apart. If you've read my review of the 2005 cask you'll know how I feel about these and the 13 no second hand version of the 14 yo. The reason I selected this casks in addition to the other one is because their both delicious and distinct. Also, we just can't have enough of this stuff, it's absolutely worth every dollar. Yes it's "expensive" rum, but nobody blinks an eye at spending $150 on a 12 year old rye made in Canada these days! There isn't an American whisky on the market today with as much character and depth as these special rhums. This is made from a single harvest and distilled the old way. They can't make industrial quantities of this product even if they wanted to. The fact that we're able to offer cask strength single barrels at all is shocking, as we've never had an opportunity to sell old Agricole before. The few times we get access to vintage agricole in this country it tends cost several hundred dollars even for a 10 or 15 year old expression. So that's why a bought two. Also, this one is aged in casks that previously held Cognac where as the other goes direct in to french oak, likely used previously at the distillery. And the cognac makes a big difference, adding exceptional layers of sweet and savory flavors on top of the already complex rhum. The nose is oak almost into the bourbon/armagnac territory. To be honest this is one of the best cross over rhums we've ever had. Not as briny and wild as the 2005, instead complex aromas of exotic wood, old biker jacket and the Harley engine to go along with it. Sweet stewed fruit, candied orange peel, robust and savory. On the palate, its nearly tangy, but balanced by unending exotic spices. Again it loves water and now we have extremely fancy green teas and wild honey. Subtle smokiness from the oak and hints of fresh rubber -racing tires? An unabashed powerhouse and easily one of my favorite spirits of any kind in the store. Rhum people should grab both vintages, everyone else should snag the 2006 first.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

2005 Trois Rivières 14 Year Old K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel #22-6 Vieux Agricole Martinique Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 05-27-2020
I'm honestly surprised that there hasn't been an article in the paper about these casks yet. There's just no one else doing single casks of agricole at this age for anywhere close to the price. I'd honestly feel comfortable selling these rums for double this price (near where the importer originally envisioned these casks coming in), but I know the world is not ready for that. So I was very grateful and honored to be allowed to sell these rums at an altogether reasonable price. Some might look at it and say, well there's plenty of other rum that's older for cheaper, but that's where you'd be wrong. This is not rum, but Rhum Agricole. This is an agricultural product that's limited in its capacity by nature and french law. Only a certain amount of this can be produced each year and it must legally be aged entirely on island. That means MASSIVE losses. Most Agricole we see is only a few years old. People are happy to pay $50-60 for those, but don't realize that for $100 more you could be experiencing one of the world's most transcendent spirits. At nearly 15 years of age, only a tiny fraction of the original spirit is left. Here they age in French oak, which is a big (and expensive) distinction from the rest of the Caribbean. Bottled at cask strength and without chill filtration, these two single casks are easily in the upper echelons of what is possible with cane spirit, period. The nose is just a believably complex. An orchestra of oak and rhum flavors. Countless tropical fruits balanced by a subtle agricole brine, green olives, licorice bark, and sweet cloves. Absolutely mouth coating and thick in texture. Beautiful stewed orchard fruit, strong freshly dried tobacco leaf, espresso from Sant'Eustachio with sugar (of course no sugar is added here!!!) Long and complex on the finish and you know it's great when the very best part is the smell of the glass after it's done. Unlikely most cask strength rums I do recommend a tiny splash of water the incredible richness of this rum stands up to water well and you can see the oils expanding the complexity as you add it. A superlative expression and easily one of the best aged rum on the market at ANY price.
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart

Clairin Le Rocher Aged 21 Months"Ansyen" Selected By Gino Pellarin Single Estate Haitian Sugarcane Syrup Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 05-27-2020
This barrel represents the creation of a new style of rum, that until recently simply wasn't made. Clairin is the extremely delicious and unusual cane spirit from Haiti, that is rum in name only. Here they've taken that totally idiosyncratic spirit and aged it for just under two years in the tropical Haitian climate. This cask was selected by my dear friend Gino Pellarin, a man of great taste and experience. The rugged complexity of Clairin should lends itself perfectly to softening in barrel and it's astounding how much influence has already been imparted in two short years. Le Rocher's spirits taste like smoky, lime and black olives, but after aging the complexity is profound. The black olive is still there although it's taken a back seat to deep sweet oak flavors from the ex-rum barrels. The nose is like butter and honey spread over olive loaf dipped in maple syrup and deep fried in motor oil. Surprisingly sweet on the palate with the maple flavors coming through, exotic stewed fruit, fresh cinnamon and of course olives. A truly special casks that will make any rum lover hum and render comatose the uninitiated.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Barrell Bourbon Company 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #A111 Cask Strength Straight Kentucky Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 05-27-2020
Well this one was a bit controversial. Barrels of this expression have been popping at fine purveyors of spirits across the country and we were lucky to get one of the CA barrel allocations. That said when I tasted the barrel, I was under the impression that is was a bourbon mashbill aged for 18 years in used barrels. When the bottles arrived, I realized this was in fact impossible because the whisky was designated as "straight" implying that it had spent at least two years in new oak. After contacting the bottler about the discrepancy, we came to the conclusion that this was in fact whisky with no predominant grain in the mash that had spent at least two years in new oak before being transferred into used barrels for the remainder of it's maturation. While the provenance is unusual, it wouldn't be the only old Kentucky straight whisky, and it's not unusual for brokers to be legally bound from revealing their sources even to the point of not being able to disclose the mashbill. This is however, delicious whisky and for the sleuths out there, you might be able to identify just what distillery this is coming from if you look close enough. I however cannot comment or even speculate about it's origins. What I can do is tell you that it's absolutely delicious. Another, almost unexplored side of American Whiskey. The nose is restrained compared to a bourbon of this age, but nonetheless offers all the subtle nuances of old american whiskey, just with out the intense oak. Deep roasted vanilla bean, salt water taffy, hints of citrus peel and eucalyptus. On the palate, we're back in bourbon country at first, with a that sweet corn coming through, but before it finishes a dark rye spice comes up. The finish is long and filled with wintergreen and lacquer box. A totally unique expression from one of the most innovative bottlers out there today.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

1994 GlenAllachie 24 Year Old "Faultline" Single Cask #3560 Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 05-27-2020
This gorgeous 'Allachie is one of only two casks of the distillery we've ever bottled. That's not for lack of trying, it's just stuff that doesn't make it to the open market very often. When I first tasted this set of 3 Glenallachie casks, I was not impressed. This is one of those whiskies that starts ultra shy. First impressions are so important when bottling whisky, but if you judge a book by the first page, you'll miss so much. It's not unusual for me to hear from customers about their first sip of a new cask being a let down, only to fall in love with the whisky hours or weeks later. This is EXACTLY the sort of whisky, you'll return to and fall in love with. On first nosing you get hints of pencil shavings and bits of citrus, but as expected its completely mute otherwise. Take a nap. Now we're back, 20 minutes power nap in the books, and a whole new world has opened up in the glass. Gone are the fresh shave wood and newly arrived a plethora of yellow things: mirabelle, lemon sorbet, honeycomb and marigolds. Behind that a darker quality light roast coffee, roasted malt, taffy. On the palate, great balance between the sweet malty flavors, cinnamon, cinchona bark and pithy citrus peel. A splash of water and the lemon and herbs come forward. Strangely its become even more spicy and bold on the palate, the water adds richness and sweetness up front, but the big spicy finish is undeniable. I prefer this with just a few dashes of water or cut under 46% (enough water to cloud) rather than somewhere in between , but it stands up straight right out of the bottle if you give it some time. A more nuance expression than previous Alexander Murray Faultlines that offers tons of complexity for those willing to tease the whisky out.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

Lagavulin 11 Year Old "Offerman Edition" Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 05-26-2020
There's been a wave of media collaborations in the booze business, but none as natural as the union of Mr. Offerman and this venerated Islay distillery. The actor is best known for his work on the hit show, Parks and Recreations, where Offerman portrays Ron Swanson -Pawnee, ID's staunchly libertarian Director of Parks & Recreations. Swanson is a living irony and has become a caricature of American masculinity. His defining traits, a love of woodworking, rare steak and Lagavulin. Any true fan of Parks and Recreation likely owns a bottle of this lovely special edition from the south shore legend, but many Lagavulin fans have yet to experience this exceptional expression due to the initial high cost of admission. Thankfully, we've been able to the secure a much more reasonable price, nearly 40% off the release price. If you're a Lagavulin lover in the slightest, discard all cynicism. This unique Lagavulin fits perfectly in style between the rugged smokiness of the well loved 8 year expression and the undeniably complex 16 year. With the cost of 16-year-old expression skyrocketing, the unprecedented price retreat of this lovely expression sets a new benchmark for value in the Islay category. Aged in ex-bourbon and "rejuvenated" bourbon barrels. That's shave, toasted, and rechar, which other distilleries on Islay have been touting opening now. A nose of smoldering smoke, poached pears, moist pipe tobacco, pure cocoa, candied orange peel and crème brûlée. The sweet oily character of Lagavulin is on display and that utterly unique smoke unlike any other Islay. Some subtle ocean quality, but not brine. Add some sweet stewed fruit and a pleasant toasty quality and you've got a recipe for top notch Islay, finally priced right.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2009 Heaven Hill 10 Year Old "Archives Whisky From The Whiskybase Team" K&L Exclusive Single Cask #496 American Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 05-26-2020
This oddity is part of an unusual category of American whiskies aged partially out of the country. This one spent at least six years in Kentucky before making the transatlantic journey to Scotland for further aging and bottling. Distilled at the Heaven Hill facility in Louisville known as Bernheim, it was aged in second use American oak for its entire life. We call this "the devil's cask," as it's bottled at a staggering 133.2 proof, making the abv exactly 66.6%. The nose is fiery and raw at first; arresting, to say the least. Behind the intense nose are candied fruits and dried cinnamon. While I don't usually recommend adding water to cask strength bourbon (this isn't bourbon, but still), this loves water as well as any single malt would. Once you've added some water the bourbon character becomes much more evident. Beautiful balances between sweet stewed fruit, exotic spices, and elegant vanilla. Once it hits your lips we're distinctly into bourbon territory, with a rich texture and a bold sweetness. We've moved more toward the orchard fruits, dried apple and hints of mango, with a building spice on the finish. An excellent spirit that doesn't fit any category well, but simply drinks like a dream. Don't forget to give it a good splash to unlock its character. It's a shame this style is considered an oddity, but considering how delicious and unusual this is, I wish we could have stuff like this all the time! Grab it while it lasts, as we've only got one barrel for the whole year.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

Tedorigawa Mangekyo "Kaleidoscope" Daiginjo Sake (blue bottle) 720ml
Review Date: 05-26-2020
An absolute legend in midst. The Mangekyo is reserved for only the finest dining establishments. Only a handful of cases are available for the entire country each year. It wouldn't be unusual to see this on a sake list for upward for $800 and of course, they sell like crazy. We're extremely lucky to have access to a tiny allocation of this special sake. The flavor is extremely subtle yet undeniable complex. The nose exhibits a unique purity that can only be described as the essential spirit of the Ishikawa. Tiny hints of chrysanthemum, citrus peel and delicate crystallized stone fruit. The sense of walking toward a babbling brook, the subtle aromas of fresh moss and running water. The palate extremely clean, mineral rich and medium bodied. The low aromatic quality continues with the focus on purity and ethereal nuance. Hints of white pepper and crush stone on the finish. An absolutely unbelievable experience that should be reserved exclusively for the most serious lovers of sake. Pair this with sashimi or other extremely delicate flavors.
Price: $220.00 Add To Cart

Tedorigawa Tsuyusanzen "Thousand Drops of Dew" Nama Daiginjo Sake 720ml
Review Date: 05-26-2020
Rarely have I come across a sake with more vibrancy and juicy complexity as the excellent Nama from Tedorigawa. The explosive aromatics waft from the glass. Linear and fresh white floral character: magnolia, gardenia, rose. The fruit character is uncanny offering voluptuous ripe melon, most honeydew, young stone fruit and white berries. On the palate the melon takes over. The texture is surprising rich considering the fact that it's junmai, but the racy acidity and pungent aromatics keep it lifted and stifle any sense of over-ricey-ness. Just stupendously drinkable and complex.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

5 Sentidos K&L Exclusive Ensamble De 6 Magueyes "Batch 6M-19" (Atenogenes and José Garcia) San Isidro Guishe Uncertified Oaxacan Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 03-27-2020
I, like many of my peers, like to make the comparison between wine and mezcal. And the more time I spend in the Agave world, the more closely I see the links. After all the Mexicans do refer to it as "Vino de Mezcal." But one thing I've always had trouble with is the regions. Not only the many diverse Mezcal producing areas within Mexico, but the difference in culture and style the exist on the municipal level in a place like Oaxaca. So after finally going there earlier this year I've start to codify my understanding of the various areas. Of course, in practice the analogy breaks down a bit, but one of the areas that's clearly of great importance, is an area to the south of Oaxaca City called Miahuatlan. The rolling hills of this high valley at the base of the Sierra Sur are likely the ancestral home of all Agave. Here the plant thrives, wild and domesticate agave grow abundantly and vigorously. And the tradition for producing mezcal is strong, but we haven't yet seen it become as important as the easier to access villages in Tlacolula, Ejutla or Minas. Yet much of the production for many large brands is purchase and blended from this area. There certainly is a style to this area, some type of powerful elegance which seems to be a common thread. This incredible batch captures that perfectly. A traditional field blend produced in the artisanal style. That is to say mesquite smoked, tahona press, and copper pots. That doesn't mean this is a big smoke bomb though. On the nose there's a stupendous mixture of lemons roasting over freshly dosed embers. A cacophony of red flowers and exotic teas. On the palate the smoke does come up with a smack of juicy acidity and then fades into fresh gooseberry, passion fruit, guava and more citrus. It's rather rich and pretty bold, but so complicated it needs air and some slow sipping to truly appreciate. That or some Al Pastor. This stuff LOVES food. The acidity is perfect for anything fatty and spicy. Here is another similarity with wine - this will 100% get better in the bottle of the next 1-3 years. Not all mezcal improves with age, but some do. One of the only spirits that is truly affected by bottle age on the short to medium term. I'm absolutely in love with this spirit and can not recommend it highly enough.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

1994 Auchroisk 25 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-25-2020
The beautiful malts coming out of Auchroisk have always been a favorite here at K&L. We've had some good luck with a few casks over the years. But I don't think we've ever come across an Auchroisk with so much going on as this one. And yes it's more expensive than last year's 24 year, not only because we were able to work an incredible price on that, but also because this cask is particularly special. And while that 24 year was a good value, it doesn't stand up to the quality of this excellent barrel. There's also that magic at 25 years that makes everything in single malt just that little bit better. The nose starts with a big charred oak and vanilla character: malty, sweet, and creamy. The oak feels almost dominant at first and were it not for the gorgeous sweetness it might be over powering. One the palate, we get strong malt, sweet dried stones fruits and some gingery spice. And while I'd be perfectly content with this as it, it's not until you add a few splashes of water that we're really beginning to see it shine. Now we have this gorgeous crystallized lemon candy, gorgeous toasted malt, complex bitter herbs and ginger. On the palate it's bright and fresh, adding lemon drops and apricots to the already honeyed flavors. I usually expect the older ones to lower water less, but this one is completely perfect after a splash or two. Don't miss it.
Price: $96.99 Add To Cart

Kaiyo "K&L Exclusive" Cask #543 Cask Strength Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-24-2020
These wild casks of Japanese Mizunara Oak aged whisky have been are a bit of a mystery, but tasting them side by side is a really interesting experience. While cask 541 had tons of spice and this one has much more fruit. The nose starts with classic Mizunara plums spice, but melds into a complex bouquet of wild honey, baked apple, earthy malt and fresh oak. The softer nose doesn't translate to the palate and we've still got that bold oak and spice from the Mizunara taking over. Yet here more subtlety, more malt and a bit more sweetness. There's something that reminds me distinctively of Ben Nevis, which would be appropriate considering the assumed source. A very interesting offering indeed.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Kaiyo "K&L Exclusive" Cask #541 Cask Strength Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-24-2020
The enigmatic and opaque Kaiyo whisky has become a staple on our shelves. It does a lot of things right in the very complicated Japanese Whisky genre while maybe skirting some of the most obvious pitfalls. And I still have no information about what is actually in these bottles, but we can assume that these have been aged in Japanese Mizunara and are likely sourced from malt distilled in Northern Japan (Hokkaido & Sendai). And while these distilleries are some of the world's finest, it is clearly the barrel who is the star of the show here. Interestingly, the two barrels we purchased (541 & 543) are pretty different despite having the same proof and specs on the bottle. This cask is the most quintessential expression of the flavors I'd expect from Mizunara. The nose is tight at first and needs a drop or two of water to open up. Now we get tons of sandalwood, ceremonial incense, plum wine, coconut husk. On the palate, tons of red cherry and big spice - cinnamon, clove, nutmeg etc. It's long bold and peppery. This one is really pretty intense designed for those who like more intense flavors. Adding water doesn't necessarily diminish that but adds some depth and sweetness.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Ragnaud Sabourin K&L Exclusive Reserve Speciale #20 Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
The big bold character of the Ragnaud 20 is an interesting contrast to the much rounder 35 year. Here we're a few ticks up on the oak, but still with an elegance the pervades the entire Sabourin line up. The nose is chalked full of ripe exotic citrus, creamy vanilla cakes, plum jam, cinnamon, spice box, exotic wood. On the palate is weighty and wild. Powerful ginger and sweet citrus. Delicate rancio, but not quiet into the oloroso stuff. Very inviting, very delicious, pretty dry and spicy. Maybe a good one for the single malt guys to cross over on account of the balanced sweetness and wild complexity. I like this batch better than when we first tasted it 5 years ago. A real gem at this price, but not for the sweet toothed cognac lovers.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

Ragnaud-Sabourin "K&L Exclusive Fontevieille #35" Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
In many ways, I've come to consider Ragnaud Sabourin the gold standard in Grand Champagne Cognac production. Their tiny estate in the best part of Grand Champagne produces Ugni and Folle Blanche and eau-de-vie for some of the most expensive cognacs on the market today. Before I visited the legendary estate, I didn't really have a good understanding of what the quality difference in Grand Champagne was all about. I was also misunderstood why the elevage of great cognac included so called "additives". On the industial scale I understood that cognac needed to use additives to offer consistency across thousands of cases of young brandy, but I didn't see why a high quality estate would ever do that. Now after hearing from them what they exactly use to create their "boise" (additive), I much more accurately appreciate why the do this. The creation of this additive is not a short cut, but the very opposite. They cultivate and create an "extract of oak" from the ultra old under proof cognacs. So if the additives someone is using are actually 80+ year old cognac that are under proof and therefor not able to be bottled any longer as cognac, I'm all for it. So this blend is essentially 35 years old, but includes eau-de-vie much much older. The nose is surprisingly vibrant with a beautiful bouquet of ultra mature flavors: flambéed citrus peel, cocoa butter, stewed stone fruits - Mirabelle, nectarine etc. ON the palate, very forgiving and round, with tons of wild honey, orange blossom, smattered with clove and cinnamon spice. A truly delicious example of what the best cognac SHOULD taste like.
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart

2000 Chateau de la Grangerie 18 Year Old "Cask #67" K&L Exclusive Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
As an obvious contrast to the spirit driven, vibrant '99, this lovely 18 year old Armagnac shows much more oak and savory character than it's sibling. That said it doesn't get into the over the top range that some of the other estates we love show and has a rustic elegance that seems to be ubiquitous at this old Chateau. A nose of fresh blue plums, charred oak, barrel spice, roasting stone fruit. On the palate the oak is not at all overwhelming and balanced by wonderful stewed plum and apricot. It's long and building toward a core of powerful spice. It lies somewhere on the spectrum between great bourbon and amazing old highland single malt. An absolutely gorgeous example of this excellent estate very similar to the awesome '01 14-year-old we sold back in 2015. The age statement is up 4 years, but the price is only up $10! How is it possible? I have no idea.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

1999 Chateau de la Grangerie 19 Year Old "Cask #54" K&L Exclusive Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
The lovely zesty middle aged Armagnacs from Grangerie are the ones that get us every time. We picked a wonderful barrel of from 2001 and a sister cask to this one as well and there's something very satisfying about this estate in that 18-20 year range. The older ones tend to be harder and less open, but there's always a lovely baseline rusticity that Grangerie exhibits throughout the offerings. Must be the affects of their unusual chai. The '99 is lighter in color than the '00 and their differences are exactly why we chose two similarly aged single barrels. The 99 is certainly off the oak and exhibits a wide array of subtle flavors: Chinese five spice, hibiscus, persimmon and marmalade. On the palate very much off the oak flavors offering instead candied apple, white pepper, ginger, tangerine and slight whiffs of smokiness.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Chateau de la Grangerie K&L Exclusive Armagnac (1L)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
The lovely 1L of Grangerie is my go to for mixing of any kind. There is no better deal in unadulterated brandy. This is young brand that's not seeing a lot of new oak because it's intentionally meant to harbor the fresh fruit and floral aromatics associated with the eau-de-vie itself. A gorgeous nose of green pears, yellow cherries and tropical flowers. The palate is fresh and grape-y in a good way. Dry and linear with great texture and a clean long finish. As long as you're not using the brandy as a sweet in cocktail creation this one is perfect. It's also gorgeous in a simple long drink or as the strong in many different punch preparations.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2005 Domaine du Cardinat 14 Year Old K&L Exclusive Bas Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
The quaint little Domaine de Cardinat is run by an assuming young couple, the Singhs, who are quiet, sweet and easy going. Their brandies, however, are the opposite. Bold, brash, intense and full of intensity. This young 14 year old version is no exception, punctuated by an undeniable oak character that seems to be the hallmark of Cardinats better releases. Generally, there's not too much work being done on these in the chai so when there's money to buy new oak the eau-de-vie sucks it up and stays put for a while. So we start with some super dense stewed plums, big toasted vanilla, strong cocoa/coffee aromatics pick up with some air. On the palate serious texture and lots of upfront sweetness that quickly leads toward the dry spicy oak we know from Cardinat. Some mint, some dark herbs, some serious tension at this high proof. This is right in there where we love them, over the top intensity but somehow achieving balance in the end.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1998 Domaine de Jouanda - Cask #312 "K&L Exclusive" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
The awesome Jouanda estate is run by the sweetest most an assuming couple. They spend a lot of time and energy trying to make the very best Armagnac possible, but they don't actually make any money on these brandies. Instead, the proceeds go back into the upkeep of this special place. It's incredible how different the '98 and the younger '04 show, but there is continuity between vintages. The strong oak influence on the younger has tamed into a more supple and complex offering which leans strongly toward the savory character. Already showing tons of rancio (deep oxidized sherry/fruit character) roasted hazeulnuts, cola, dried plums and big sweet oak. Despite the unbelievable dense nose the palate is VERY forgiving. Supple and sweet with no hardedges or strong tannins at all, but it does have plenty of spice. I really expected it to be drier based on the nose and that shows you the inherent quality of the operation. An absolutely sublime example of mid-aged Armagnac.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

2004 Domaine de Jouanda - Cask #43 "K&L Exclusive" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
The gorgeous brandies coming from the absolutely perfect estate Domaine de Jouanda are one of Armagnac's best kept secrets. In a land full of secrets, it's just incredible to me that this uncompromising an obviously special estate hasn't become more prominent in the eyes of the eau-de-vie loving public. We're here to change that and this deft 15 year old brandy is an easy way to draw people in. Unlike many of our other suppliers we noted exceptional difference between single casks of the same difference and therefore specified the cask number when ordering. Great Bas-Armagnac doesn't need to be super old to be ultra-delicious. If this was being marketed by any other source I'm certain they'd be asking for twice this price and to be honest I'd probably still pay it considering how delicious this is. But, what we have here is a truly classic example of what the greatest estates can achieve at a fraction of the price of what similar estates of this quality can offer. This single cask was aerated 3 times before bottling which is likely why it's so approachable right out of the bottle, where as many great brandies need tons of time to breath, this guy sings the instant is hits the glass. The nose is explosive and driven with unending number of sweet and savory aromatics - muscovado, birch, cola, camphor, newly tanned hide, underbrush, ancient cured oak and cloves. On the palate surprisingly viscous for the age, the sweet and spice continue to battle it out on the palate with the strong savory leathery stuff being saved mostly for the finish. This is a serious mouthful of flavor. Considering a similar vintage from Boingnere or Ravingnan might be 2-3 times this price it's a no brainer for anyone who has even the slightest interest in Armagnac.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Compass Box "Myths & Legends I" Single Malt Scotch Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
This series of interesting releases dives into the Myths about blending and how that is achieved to elucidate a distilleries true nature even within a single malt. Here we're on one of my favorite Northern Highland distilleries, Balblair. This is a blend of nearly equal parts of two distinct parcels. The first, about 15-16 years old was aged in rechar American Oak barrels (42.3%) and the second a parcel aged entirely in first fill bourbon for 22 years. The result is something so distinctly Balblair it could be used as a reference. The nose boasts tons of malt, vanilla, lemon cake and pepper. Behind are hints of yellow & white flowers (honeysuckle, marigold, magnolias, etc.) yet not perfumed per say. On the palate caramelize green apples, zesty lemon peel, tea tree and cinnamon. A zippy zesty example of what this special distillery delivers when not aged in sherry.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

Compass Box "Myths & Legends II" Single Malt Scotch Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 03-21-2020
The unique exercise that Myth & Legends represents continues here with one of the Speyside's finest unsung distillery, a single malted blend of Elgin at what we assume is various ages (John can't publish the ages) but it's said to be between 16 and 23 years of age. So this "16-year-old" Glen Elgin was aged in mostly Rechard American Oak Barrel (59.2%). Refill & Recharr American Oak Hoggies and Refill Sherry Butts and American Oak barrels make up the difference. The resulting whisky reminds me a great deal of a distillery release balancing multiple cask types into what can only be described as the "house style". Elgin tends to have a nice balance of fruit, spice and earth character and this expression is no different. A nose of green tea, miel de tilleul, poached pear with subtle notes of white pepper and anise. On the palate the sweetness is there but not overwhelming. Instead the lovely herbal and peppery aromatics take charge here tamed by a melted caramel component. Just about the best Glen Elgin we can get right now.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

Corner Creek 10 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 03-06-2020
I'm always astonished that we're able to secure exclusives like this one. Corner Creek is a good old brand that used to be pretty well regarded. There was a period where they were putting out stuff that was a bit austere, but the new owners have moved the brand up several notches and are now offering some real quality in the bottle. There aren't many 10 year old age stated bourbons on the market anymore. While all the big guys are taking age statements off, this little player has added one. This whisky is the perfect balance of ease of consumption and complexity. If you're looking for something to gift, but don't know someones tastes this is an easy bet. No one else in California is selling this baby and it's always great to receive a gift of bourbon you've never tried before. As for the flavor expect a soft supple nose of melted butter and brown sugar. Hints of mint and toasted vanilla offer intrigue, but don't over power the sweet aromatics. On the palate, it's medium bodied and not too dry. Sweet corn and caramel topped off with a lovely herbal finish. It's not the monster whisky that a Bookers or Elijah Craig Barrel Proof might be, but it's got plenty of complexity and drinks extremely well at 88 proof.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Medley Exclusive Selection "K&L Whiskey Club" Barrel #1 Barrel Proof Single Barrel Cask Strength Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 01-31-2020
When Sam Medley came to me with these casks, we didn't have an official "whiskey club." And since these casks were reserved exclusively for private whiskey clubs, I wasn't sure we could make it work. We once had something we used to call "the whiskey club," - an insiders list that gave people first crack at our special releases, but that system was done away with years ago. Instead to be a Spirits Department insider, all you need to do is click the box on your email preferences. While we don't have a standalone Whisk(e)y Club in the style of our wine clubs, we do have an alternative way for our customers to get monthly curated selections from our stocks. Many of our customers don't realize that K&L offers custom club called the Personal Sommelier Club. The “Wine Clubs” are a very specific set of wines within our store that club members receive special discounts on through a monthly subscription. These are wines we select for a large group of people that we can offer exceptional exclusive pricing on to our members. Those who have joined one of our many wine clubs might have noticed that we do occasionally include spirits in those discounted offerings, but not as part of the monthly selections. But if you're one of those adventurous drinkers who loves receiving a new bottle every month, you've got to try our Personal Sommelier Club. You won't always receive a discount, but you will get an awesome new bottle, hand selected by our experts each month. Just sign up online, change your preferences a often as you like and get access to our entire selection of discounted Wine Club wines in the store or online. You select the curator, the price and product type and you're all set. We provide you with a new bottle (wine, whisky, gin, brandy or whatever else you want) each month and sometimes we'll be able to offer you great casks like this one and certain other spirits at significant discount. Now about this cask, these are technically similar stocks to the ones we select Wathen's Barrel Proof from, but this barrel is completely differently from the Barrel Proofs last year. Those had an unusual grassy note and tons of earthy spice. This has a deep bouquet of sweet overripe stone fruit, kettle corn, candied apple and sarsaparilla. On the palate the high proof is totally masked by the butter sweetness up front before kicking up some spice on the back end. Very easy drinking considering the 126.52 proof, unctuous and rich on the palate, but doesn't forget it's cask strength as it goes down. So, just to recap, anyone can be in the K&L "Whiskey Club," but it's a club of your own design. Just navigate to the "Wine Club" section of our website, select the Personal Sommelier Club from the list, choose you’re preferences, choose a price range and your favorite K&L Staff member as your Sommelier. If you were to pick bourbon less than $100, you'd be the proud owner of this special bottle at the discounted price next month. Conversely, you could sign up, buy it immediately at the discounted price and get different non-discounted bottle next month. The following month you'll get yet another great bottle hand picked by our staff.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$80.00

2003 Benrinnes 15 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-23-2020
We've been on a bit of a Benrinnes bender these last few years. It's just really hard to argue with the quality of this spirit and the value these incredible casks are able to offer. Last years 10 year sold well at $50, but that was distilled after the distillery flipped to it's new double distillation system. It's hard to tell whether it's the added age or the old way of distilling that sets this one significantly apart from last years, but we've definitely graduated to the next level here. This cask is an absolute gem, especially if you love fruity spirit driven malts, rather than the cask driven. The nose is a lovely mixture of cake frosting, ripe Mirabelle, touches of underbrush and sugar cookies. On the palate sweet malt, slight grassy notes frame the lovely freshness and pure fruit perfect. With water the intensity of the crystalline fruit is heightened, rich juice and textured. This is one of the cleanest easiest drinking malts in the shop right now. Easy creamy and fruity, but don't forget to add a drop of water or you'll miss out on the fun. Too easy to drink and perfect for anyone, whether expect or a novice looking to have their first cask strength dram.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

1988 L'Encantada 30 Year Old "Domaine Le Frêche #17" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2019
The awesome barrels coming out of Le Freche remind me so much of being in Armagnac it's scary. One whiff and we're transported straight to the dark cold chai covered in black mold and cobwebs. In lots of ways this product is quintessential Baco for me. This often maligned grape is capable of making serious brandy, but it can highlight some of the rustic qualities that Armagnac is known for. I personally drink Armagnac because I love those intense flavors that just simply don't exist in any other brandy. Luckily the French just don't seem to be drinking this stuff or we'd have no Armagnac to sell you, since overall production is minuscule and the French seem to prefer the softer more modern style. This is not that. The nose is freshly tanned hide, orris root, the darkest cocoa, grilled stone fruit, freshly turned soil, lacquer, fancy wood and black currents. As it opens the leather and the sweet cooked fruit take center stage. The palate is extremely forgiving after tasting the Lous Pibous, but it stands firm in its own right. Fancy freshly dried raisins and cranberries, fresh grated nutmeg, clove, Mexican hot chocolate, earthy rustic wood - very forgiving and open despite the high proof. Dark and brooding, but supple and round. It's so balanced and yet so intense. With a little water, an explosion of red fruits. Pure currants and cinnamon. I can't figure out how they do it. I do think I know who made this, but I won't blow up Encantada's spot publicly. Here I wouldn't add water, but some of my colleagues much preferred it with a drop. I think this is the best Le Freche I've had yet.
Price: Hidden View Price

1995 L'Encantada 24 Year Old "Lous Pibous #146" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2019
The massive interest in this incredible brand and its flagship property has meant that what once seemed like an endless abundance of casks is already dwindling to a trickle. Where we might have once had the opportunity to walk through the magical warehouse at Couzard-Lasselle and select nearly any barrel, now we are offered a few samples to choose from. But I'm so grateful that we're included in the tiny fraction of the world's population that's able to acquire this unprecedented elixir. There have been few booze finds that have ever compared to the uncovering of this estate and so experiencing a new cask for the first time is always exhilarating. This cask is an absolute monster. Clocking in at 112.8 proof, the nose is so power and rich it's almost scary. On the palate this juice absolutely SCREAMS! It's loud and wild, filled with dense, dark wood tannin and tingly spice, and a rich, unctuous texture. The intensity is on a different level even compared to many of the other casks we've selected, but this underlying sweetness holds it all together. For the first time with one of these insane casks I find that the tiniest drop of good spring water improves the total package, but for those that love George T Stagg or other old ultra high proof spirits, you might not need to turn this one down at all. Neat the nose barrels out of the glass with deep dark aromas of coffee, leather, sandalwood, gentian root, licorice bark, stewed plums, chocolate covered raisins, cedar, hemlock, demerara syrup and sarsaparilla. The first taste is arresting powerful and edge-y, but as it draws through the palate a gorgeous sweetness appears. Powerful spice, sweet fresh tobacco leaf, dates, dark chocolate, old wooden furniture, dark red fruits preserved (lingonberry?), bitter herbs. Profound, powerful, and exhaustingly long. With a tiny splash of water, all the hard edges go away, it looses the oomph but gains an almost whimsical ease. Be careful—this stuff is still 110 proof and it goes down like sweet tea. Hopefully there are more barrels like this one left in that gorgeous chai.
Price: Hidden View Price

1976 L'Encantada 42 Year Old "Domaine Le Sablé #19" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-12-2019
These old Sables have a very different character than the other two domaines we have in stock right now. Sable only produced a few barrels of brandy in its tenure, but the quality was excellent thanks to the excellent distillery that helped L'Encantada find these stocks. Here instead of new barrels and dry cellars, which tend to extract more tannin and keep alcohol levels high, this brandy spent four decades in an old barrel in a very humid cellar. The result is a totally different style and maybe much closer what many are used to, but still about as unique as anything coming out of the region. The nose is a complex bouquet of flambéed citrus peel, sweet spices, exotic herbs, fresh yellow plums, quince compote, and sugar candies. We worry about bitterness taking over at this age, or wateriness at the lower proof, but neither pitfall exists. Instead, the palate is absolutely filled with an almost clean rancio fruit, hints of old leather and spice, and an unusual freshness despite the age. The whole thing is really lifted and inviting, not stodgy or esoteric. Probably the easiest of the three casks to love and the right choice for an Armagnac beginner, but with enough texture and depth the hold even the most grizzled lover of Gascogne's greatest at attention.
Price: Hidden View Price

1979 North British 40 Year Old "Old Particular" Single Refill Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-10-2019
A true expression of the potential that Single Grain has to transcend the category on quality terms. While most grain has some distinct characteristics, usually the fact that the aromatics are restrained, woodsy and driven by sweet coconut or cereal, this one is like nosing some ungodly elixir in terms of complexity. On first nosing we're in the realm of the very best natural cognacs, supple and soft dried stone fruits, exotic spice, toasted vanilla and deep roasted coffee bean. The palate is ultra sweet up front with a kind velvety texture. As the whisky travels the palate, rich oak spice and legendary tropical fruit take over from the sweet grain. This is the sort of spirit that will make anyone a lover of single grain. D'you love old bourbon? Try this. Are you a brandy nut? Try this? Do you love ultra aged single malt? Why not this? It doesn't replace either of the category, but it's got a finger in each and will seduce any lover of great spirits.
Price: $299.99 Add To Cart

2007 Fine Pot Distilled Jamaican (Monymusk) 11 Year Old "Thompson Bros." K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Jamaican Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 12-10-2019
The wild high ester pot distilled spirit from Clarendon Distillery is not something we get access to very often. This is one of the many different rums coming out of this distillery and is presumed to be somewhere between 200-300 ppm of esters putting it right up there with many of the heady Hampden's that have been so well loved. Whatever the total ester content, there's absolutely nothing like high-ester aged Jamaican rum and while Monymusk doesn't have the same commercial weight yet as Hampden has, the rum itself is second to none. The nose is an earth-shattering mixture of overripe banana, mandarin orange, guava, toasted cloves and fresh lime juice. A bold linear character on the palate with dense green olives, sweet exotic spices, wild tropical fruit, a long citrus note on the finish which builds toward a warm herbal finish. We won't be getting any other old Jamaican this year, but anyone who loves a good powerfully flavored rum is going to enjoy this masterpiece.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

1998 Orkney (Highland Park) 20 Year Old "Thompson Bros." K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-10-2019
We've had some up and downs with Highland Park recently. We've secured some incredible old stock with the distillery name on it, but also had offers for no named stuff at ridiculously high prices. Needless to say we're always game from some HP. It's really one of the very best distilleries out there and these incredible 'no name' bottlings have been some of the very best values on the market today. Yet some of our suppliers feel comfortable charging well above what another no name might cost from another distillery. Of course, they're looking at this like a business opportunity. They have high quality juice, that can be implied to be from one of Scotland's great distilleries, and most people are probably willing to pay it, but we've mostly avoided these offerings since we've been securing 'named' versions in the $250-300 range consistently for the last two seasons. It wouldn't make any sense for us to sell a similar product no name for the same price. These products must offer value. So we've generally passed on several casks due to the very high prices. But now it seems our supply of distillery bottlings is becoming more and more scarce. We had to say no to a 21 year old Hogshead this year from Old Particular due to the incredibly high price. And at the same time, our friends in Dornoch came knocking with this stunner. The fun labels poke fun at the new aggressive viking style of the distillery bottlings, but do nothing to prepare you for the awesomeness that's inside the bottle. The nose is the ultimate coastal curiosity: Salty sea spray, coastal shrubs, crushed rocks, smoldering heather, floral peat, golden honey, ripe pears. Craggy rocks being battered by the ocean. Lots and lots going on, extremely layered and complex, but not brutish or explosive. One the palate the brown butter, wild honey, stewed grains, more peat. This is how I imagine gold tastes when it's melted. More minerals more smoke, but not hard smoke. Soft sweet smoke. We're not seeing anything on the market anywhere close to this caliber in this style. Nearly perfect.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

Don Mateo "K&L Exclusive" Pechuga Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 12-10-2019
In February 2019, I travelled to Michoacán with the incredible Suro Imports to explore the wonderful mezcals of this underappreciated region. Michoacán has a vibrant culture of mezcal production, but the dominance of Oaxaca in the marketplace and the daunting complexity of the American market has made it completely out of reach. Thankfully, David Suro has committed to making mezcal from Michoacán a thing and we're now seeing high quality production at extremely reasonable prices hitting the market from a variety of producers. Suro and I visited the Emilio Vieyra's Vinyata (equivalent of the word winery as in Vino de Mezcal) Don Mateo. It's widely regarded as one of the region's very best. The old distillery is located in a area appropriately named Pino Bonito, a dense Pine and Oak forest, less than an hour outside of Morelia. At the base of a winding dirt road, the little Palenque is situated completely out of view from the main road and has several security fences to cross before entry. This part of Michoacán is relatively safe, it was not always that way, the Vieyra's have been targeted before due to their success and take every precaution to keep their property safe. We arrive and immediately feel at home. Emilio and his mother Delia are the most inviting and hospitable duo you could imagine. They're feeding us thick handmade bean tacos before we get started. Today we're distilling Pechuga of Delia's own recipe. She's an incredible cook and is manning the kitchen when we arrive while her son and his team prepare the stills. It is her recipe that is being distilled and her face on the bottle. She's created this special recipe exclusively for us as true expression of her heart and soul. The quintessential Mexican matriarch distilled spiritually and physically to her most pure form. After beginning the distillation, we loaded up into the back of two pickups and headed out to see the agave fields, mezcal in hand. The primary agave used here is Cupreata. This wonderful varietal has the quirk of not reproducing asexually, as most agave species do, so full sexual reproduction is required. That means they must leave several of the plants to reach full maturity for pollination to obtain seeds. The main pollinator for this plant are several species of bat that migrate across Mexico, following the agave bloom each season. The bats feast on the sweet nectar of the agave flower and cover themselves in pollen to help propagate this special plant. Once the seeds are thrown, they're collected and cared for in an adjacent nursery before being replanted on the hillside. The rancho, El Limon, where most of the agave for this batch were grown is just a few miles from the Vinyata, but the drive takes nearly 2 hours. The amount of effort it takes to produce one batch of mezcal here is absolutely flabbergasting. Backbreaking work from this first moment of its inception, until the final moment of bottling, yet the Vieyra's do it with pride and an extreme sense of joy. When we returned to the palenque, Delia has Picadillo de Conejo ready and waiting for lunch. In most of Mexico, this dish would look more like hash, but here it is an rich oily rabbit stew that's so perfectly spicy it makes your eyes water while you uncontrollably scoop up another spoonful. The perfect pair for a sweet smoky mezcal. When we returned the next morning, the distillation is finished. They've separated the heads, heart and tails, into 5 different sections. Each will be tested for compliance with regulatory limits and if they pass, they'll be blended together and rested for a minimum of 6 months. We ask that they not add any water to our batch, which is unusual for the Vieyra's, and they agree (note that the labels are for the standard Pechuga and were not amended to exclude this element). We also used some Cenizo in this batch, which was harvest at their other rancho about 30 miles to the south. This info is also not included on the label. This incredible batch of Pechuga, one of the finest mezcals of any kind that we've ever had the privilege of selling, is absolutely one of kind. Typically, when we see Pechuga we're expecting to charge close to $200, but this special batch is selling for nearly half the price of its Oaxacan rivals. It's equal if not better in every way to even the most special offerings from Oaxaca. Pechuga is meant to help celebrate the holidays and the harvest. I can't think of a better way to do that than this incredible product. The nose is a bevy of wild aromas -smoked citrus, roast apple, guava, fresh lime, mango peel, lacquer, numbing clove, hints of carne seca and balsam wood. The wild palate is rich and oily, with the smoky oak aromatics mingling with the bright citrus and stone fruit aromatics perfectly. This thing absolutely loves air and I think, unlike almost any other spirit in the world, will actually significantly improve from even these incredible heights in the bottle. We've bought every drop of this batch, but I'm buying cases to age and enjoy over the next decade as we never know when a spirit of this quality will come across our path again.
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2001 Ben Nevis 18 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-04-2019
The wonderful Ben Nevis Distillery has become a staple in Whisky Season. Not only does it seem to be available, but almost every cask we taste has something to love. Last year it we bought two, a young bourbon barrel from Signatory and a fabulous sherry butt from Old Malt Cask. Now we've come back with this insanely delicious expression that falls right between those two in age and style. The wonderful Nevis malt tends to have this gorgeous fruity funkiness that can be somewhat divisive, but in this case I think it's restrained enough to appeal to even the most sensitive noses. Give it a little air in the glass before you get in there. The nose shows some wonderful petrol quality (is it Pfalz?), behind that bouquet of dried herbs, sultanas, salted nuts, lemon peel and earthy malt. The palate is spice and sweet at the same time, with a lemon custard, black pepper, crunchy stoniness and a bright lifted finish. Like ALL our cask strength offerings, the splash of water should be ubiquitous now. It almost never ruins things and, in this case, takes this malt to a whole new level, but instead of shifting the flavor profile it just heightens and rounds the edges perfectly - maybe it's a bit less petrol and much more lemon. The palate is just shimmering now. Still plenty of zesty zip, chalky mineral and pepper which I love, but now with a honeyed quality that was missing at full strength. A real Nevis-y one here that leaves you smell the empty glass longingly.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

1997 Blair Athol 21 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-04-2019
The "big" distillery in the town of Pitlochry is one we've long sought out. Last year we had a great big sherry butt that many found delicious and others found very funky. I absolutely appreciate that not every cask is going to appeal to every customer, but some barrels are so overtly delicious and easy drinking that I can recommend them to almost anyone with great confidence. In extreme contrast to the controversial cask last year, this Blair Athol is so obvious and approachable it's hard to argue with it. The nose is a mélange of fresh cut hay, Seville orange, a little dill maybe and Barlett pears. The palate is sweet up from with some biscuit and fresh malt coming through. With water the nose expands significantly on the pear and orange components. The palate becomes very racy and minerally with a building white pepper tempered by malty wafers on the finish. A zesty lively drink that is really hard to put down. This one should be much less divisive than others Athols.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

1998 Glenburgie 21 Year Old "Old Particular" Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-25-2019
Glenburgie is one of a few distilleries we rarely see at the bottlers as it seems Ballentine's needs every drop. But when we do find a good Burgie it can really sing. I find the very best Burgie's have a distinct and undeniably delicious fruit quality leaning toward the mangos and mellons that are OH SO rare in modern malt. This is a truly exceptional value considering the age and rarity of this special malt and we're right in that gorgeous territory that Burgie does best. Tense and tight at first. some air and the tiniest drop of water to start things off and the powerful fruit aromatics just pop. Intense nose of kiwi, banana, dragonfruit and mango. Behind that some unusual mineral oils or maybe ginseng. On the a palate the stupendous wild fruit is now coupled with a very complex set of spices - mint, coriander, ginger, dill and licorice. A total roller coaster and exactly the type of malt I love to drink on the daily. This whisky should be twice the price considering the quality. Exceptional!
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

1974 Invergordon 45 Year Old "Old Particular" Single Refill Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-25-2019
It's absolutely mind boggling that spirits like this still exist in barrel. There's growing interest in the Single Grain category and a huge part of that has to do with education. It used to be common practice to sell this stuff as "Single Malt Light," but I've found that framing the category does a disservice to both my customers and the whiskies themselves. In the end, good grain should be able to stand on it's on two feet and while it can have similarities to other whiskies -production-wise it falls somewhere in between single malt and bourbon- it doesn't need the comparison to single malt to find value. This incredible and rare spirit is exactly the type that carves it's own space out, while the 40 year we bottled this year feels much more like a brandy or old american whisky, this one is honest to goodness Single Grain. The nose is cotton candy, toasted brioche, roasted chestnuts, young orchard fruit (pears and crab-apples). The palate is so supple and soft it's like drinking pure cashmere. A bucket of interesting sweets and spices woven perfectly into the fabric: clove, cinnamon, sage, cane sugar, apple butter, milk chocolate and caramel corn. So approachable and delicious, there's simply nothing else in the store that goes down quite like this. A benchmark offering for the category.
Price: $349.99 Add To Cart

1995 Allt-a-Bhainne 23 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-22-2019
There's no question that this malt will be the sleeper of the season. Allt-A-Bhain has not particular following and even the most experienced single malt drinker would be hard pressed to give you an intelligent explanation of the distillery profile. So since it's just a bit more expensive than the rest of the offer and maybe less obvious it will be over looked by many. Nonetheless there's a lot to love about this little whisky. The style is very pretty, unlike some versions of Allt-A which can be funky and mealy, this is like pure poire williams eau-de-vie. Pointed and angular in the best way, it's also showing some herbs, lemon peel, quince and grass. On the palate, it's medium bodied with clean crystal malt some pepper, but after water it really opens up. Bright stone fruit, mint, sweet grains, green apples and pastries. If you're going to ever try an Allt-A-Bhain this is one of the best we'll ever have.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

Littlemill "Old Malt Cask" 29 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-22-2019
This one is a bit unfair. Littlemill falls into two categories. Gross and great. Those two categories exist under one umbrella, impossible to find. But what we don't see is great Littlemill at a seemingly sane price. Even if this weren't a closed distillery that's impossible to find I don't think this would be an absurd price to ask for a great old nearly 30 year old malt whisky, but when the owners of the brand are selling their 25 year old version for upwards of $4000, I think we can consider a 29 year old version at less than 1/10th the price a legendary deal. Also, this one TASTES great. The nose starts with tons of toasty oak, but that doesn't overwhelm the wild tropical fruit, mango, exotic spices, hints of fancy tea, savory herbs, a slight briny quality and the tiniest whiff of almond oil. The palate is zesty, totally alive, big fruit and big spice, not at all tannic or over oaked. This one only needs the tiniest drop of water, if that, to tame the toasty oak and bring out the freshness and wild fruit. An obvious choice, but also soon to be ghost.
Price: $249.99 Add To Waiting List

1988 Bunnahabhain 30 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-21-2019
We've worked with several old barrels of Bunnahabhain over the last few years. We've seen a wide variety of offerings from 23-30 years old. But these last two years we've been given access to two of the most special Bunnahs we've ever sold, both distilled in 1988 and complete opposites in style. So if you have last years incredible refill sherry butt at 44.5% and your wondering why you'd buy another bottle from the same vintage, rest assured that this one is on the complete other end of the spectrum. What last years cask had in poise and ease of consumption, this one has in powerful and complexity. And it's true, age is just a number, but there's no doubt that the Laings have been stashing their best casks to be released at the BIG 30! I often don't recommend drinking old whisky like this with too much water, but the proof is seemingly daunting and I think this whisky swims astonishingly well. Without water expect it to be rather shut down on the nose. Hints of malt, herbs, roots, salt, gravel and wisps of smoke. On the palate you can tell that behind the baffling nose is so much tension and complexity it's brimming with power. Now proof this down under 50% and you'll open up a completely unparalleled experience. The unique ability of Bunnah to seem of Islay without any peat is clear. Salted lemon peel, oolong, hints of camphor/creosote, gentian, lemongrass and the tiniest bit of ozone. The palate is ultra linear and long. Grassier than the nose and cleaner. A bit of earthiness and the bold citrus and salt that I loved on the nose. Power, tense, unrelenting and wild. Not as simple and forward as last years, but arguably a more exciting malt for those who love the true essence of Bunnahabhain. Don't forget the water or you'll end up a bit disappointed.
Price: $349.99 Add To Cart

Braes of Glenlivet (Braeval) 29 Year Old "Sovereign Wax Top" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-20-2019
We often over look Braeval because it's not the sexiest malt. The workhouse malt for many blenders has a relatively good reputation, but has never been released as a single malt so consumers tend ignore it. But anytime we see it listed by it's original trade name we must take note because that means it's old! This is unquestionably the best Braes of Glenlivet I've ever had (admittedly I haven't had too many), but even beyond the oddity of seeing a cask of this stuff at this age, it's simply delicious malt. It has everything I want from a great old Speyside malt and much more. The nose starts with an absolutely gorgeous dark maltiness. Behind that sweet syrup of stone fruits, complex herbs, bitter barks and mint. Despite the high proof and not atypical of very old malt, this one improves much more with air than water. Even a drop of water seems to draw some astringency out. But if you keep adding you'll find it goes full circle into the pretty peaches and herbal tea thing we started at. That said, I'd recommend not touching this one with water if you can handle it. On the palate, tons of bold malty flavors, growing influence of the mint and dried herbs taking over. Hints of fruit and citrus remain, but they're thinly spread across a slice of rustic country bread, sprinkled in salt and mint. A truly exciting and almost profound little malt, just remember, NO WATER!
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart

1997 Benriach 21 Year Old "Chieftain's" K&L Exclusive Single Rum Barrel Finish Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Speyside Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2019
This lovely cask of Benriach is the first we've bottled from the distillery in sometime. While it's nothing like the densely sherried monsters we once bottled, it is one of my favorite Riach's to date. An incredibly fresh nose of clean roasted malt and tropical fruit. I'd add a tiny drop of water to start. There's no estery funk, which I was kind of hoping for, but instead more of an agricole HOGO quality. Around that a buttery creaminess that is unbelievably decadent. Massive bouquets of yellow flowers, honeysuckles and sunflowers, papaya and pineapple. ON the palate, rich and textured, full of malt spice and fruit. The oak surprisingly taking a back seat despite more than 3 years in rum casks. It's hard to say exactly what the rum did or didn't do here, but the ultimate result is absolutely dreamy. Textured, silky, supple, sublime.
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart

1995 Caperdonich 24 Year Old "Chieftain's" K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Speyside Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2019
I was not expecting to see what I saw when we received this sample. When I saw old expensive Caperdonich on the list, I figured it had been just like the other handful of Caperdonichs we'd seen over the years. That is to say, subtle and overpriced. The ones that tended to pop up were in 3rd and 4th fill and while they were often delicious, they were too ethereal to merit that high prices. But when I saw the color on this monster I knew we'd stumbled on something else completely. This bad boy is absolutely packed full of dark roasty flavors. Big bold spice, smoldering embers, high quality pipe tobacco, caramelized apple and burnt citrus peel. This was a very active cask indeed. Big oily rich and long in the mouth, with lots of peppery and sweet raisin-y stone fruit. Finish has a savory quality that's hard to pin point - maybe some wasabi or habanero in the tiniest most perfect addition to the massively complex package. Of course many will balk at the price, but once this is a rarity that actually deserves the inflated price point. You'll be one of only 150 people in the world to experience what will undoubtedly be one of the last sherried Caperdonichs we'll ever see.
Price: $399.99 Add To Cart

2005 Laphroaig 13 Year Old "Chieftain's" K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2019
Laphroaig is one of those incredible things that is both polarizing and unifying, sometimes between the same people at the same exact time. I personally adore almost everything I taste from this special distillery. Yes there are some underwhelming distillery bottlings that might feel a bit over manipulated, but the whisky is never ever bad. The great heights that can be achieved by Laphroaig are truly unbelievable. And uniquely, some of the very best from this special distillery are not even very old. The very best Laphroaig I've ever had the great pleasure of tasting are no more than 10 years old, given they'd have been distilled 40 or 50 years ago, but the fact remains that Laphroaig is often more special in its youth. For years Laphroaig has felt like a bit of a secret that you weren't sure you wanted to share with everyone you know. Particularly that was true of the special single casks that we'd come across in warehouses and whisky shops throughout Scotland. But in the current climate, where the distillery itself has no need or use for trading or brokering excess production, what was once a special secret to find and share is now an endangered species completely. So when we get offered casks like this we expect them to be unfathomably expensive. But even if this were twice the price I'd still have bought it. This is that perfectly idiosyncratic Laphroaig, apt to have you disagreeing with yourself. Deep wafting peat, a mix of bitter herbs, salty ocean trawler, candied apricots and diesel engine. Old leather furniture, Seville oranges, not quite tropical, but not so severe as it might be. On the palate a building sweetness envelopes the powerful smoke as it wafts toward the olfactory system. Dark chocolate, salted plums, menthol and magic. A total dream and a secret that deserves to be kept.
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart

1997 Ledaig 21 Year Old "Chieftain's" K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2019
This absolutely gorgeous Ledaig is going to easily qualify as one of the best buys of the year. It's hard to argue that Ledaig isn't one of the most exciting spirits coming out of Scotland these days, but the distillery bottlings are getting more and more expensive. The Tobermory Distillery has also been closed for the last two years, doesn't do anything to ease the price pressures of this small operation. Regardless of the incredible price compared to distillery bottlings, this cask will almost certainly be a total sleeper. Not because it lacks merit in any sense, but simply because it's not as flashy or obvious as the rest of the line up from Chieftain's. Nonetheless, for those who take the plunge they'll be rewarded with one of the most complex whiskies in our portfolio this year. A nose of smoldering cigars and high-end soy sauce. It's not so abruptly peaty on the nose, but deeply umami with wide range of savory aromas that make you instantly salivate. The sherry is definitely there, but we're on the sweet roasted orange peel side of the spectrum rather than the raisins and roasted nuts. On the palate the saltiness starts to take over and definitely more obvious peat. Smoked fish, smoked herbs, smoked meats, salty, dense sooty and savory. Some dried citrus, nut butter and sweet barrel spice to balances out the absurdity of it all. This one may not be for everyone, but it's goddamned delicious and absolutely unique.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

5 Sentidos K&L Exclusive Espadin "Batch ESALB01-19" (Alberto Martinez) Santa Catarina Albarradas Uncertified Oaxacan Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2019
This very special batch of Espadin from the great Alberto Martinez is easily one of the most delicious agave spirits I've ever tasted. I often ask mezcal customers what they're looking for in an agave spirit. Do you want to be challenged? Are you just looking for something easy to drink and enjoyable? The category is so diverse that there really is something for everyone. But very few products offer something for everyone all in one little bottle. Despite the extremely traditional, almost ancient, production methods here this mezcal isn't hard edge or overly funky. It's not especially bbq-y, as Alberto doesn't use any mesquite, but the smoke is there. What's most prominent is purity of fruit and the depth and quality of the flavors. On the nose expect and enormous wave of citrus fruit, mostly limes and Meyer lemon, pointed by fresh white floral aromas, hints of chamomile and smoldering charcoal. On the palate a stupendous rush of spices, cinnamon, clove, sage and more citrus. A perfectly pure green agaveness wafts through the finish. Utterly delicious and distressingly easy to consume. Too bad we won't see another on like this for several more years.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo Tequila (1L) (Local Delivery Only - cannot ship)
Review Date: 10-22-2019
German Gonzalez has become one of the most respected and important distillers in Mexico. His work at Chinaco and his other projects have solidified him as one of the categories very best. Here he's partnered with our dear friend Enrique Fuenteseca to create the masterful product unlike anything else on the market. If German could improve his reputation anymore this was the product to do it. Originally created for his private drinking stock, ultra limited amounts of this wild elixir are now available to the public. They begin with agave at peak ripeness, hand selected by the master himself. After roasting in stone ovens and maceration, the aguamiel is fermented using German's proprietary yeast. This ultra slow fermentation allows for the deepest possible flavor. Double distillation on small copper pot stills before being put into American oak barrels for at least 3 years. After this stage, the exact aging regiment isn't totally clear, but we do know that after the initial maturation, the tequila is transferred for at least another year into the following types of wood: ex-Cognac french oak, ex-Single malt scotch barrels, ex-Sherry Butts. The final blend is a selection of those and maybe other types of wood all around 5 years bottled at 96 proof. The added proof provides richness and texture, but no additional heat. A stupendous example of what a skilled artisan can do when cost is of no object. And while it's not inexpensive, it represents a great value among the super elite and ultra premium tequila category.
Price: $229.99 Add To Cart

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