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Staff Favorites - David Othenin-Girard

David Othenin-Girard
David Othenin-Girard  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service


Reviews

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Old Forester K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #4093 (Warehouse H, Floor 5) Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-18-2019
Old Forester is finally starting to get the recognition as a brand that it really deserves. After years playing second fiddle to Jack and Woodford at Brown-Forman, the whisky brand that started it all is back in a serious way. They're Whisky Row series is picking up fans across the country and selling about as quickly as any of the other Special Releases from Buffalo Trace or Four Roses, but they instead of being completely unavailable, they're in stock with relative regularity and priced for drinkers not collectors. Their stalwart 100 proof remains one of the very best values in bourbon today, but it is these single barrels where the whisky truly shines. The nose here is a concoction of exotic wood, maple drizzled fruit compote, roasted vanilla and candied cherries. On the palate, surprisingly spicy with the sweetness only building at the very end. The finish is soft as can, but not boring and ends on a somewhat distinct chocolate covered cherry note. Zero bite, but not cloying. It really is incredible what they're able to do in the patent warehouse in 5-6 short years. I'd pay double to have this at cask strength, but this has guts enough to hold the attention of even the staunchest purist.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2005 Bruichladdich Peated (Port Charlotte) 12 Year Old "Alexander Murray" Cask Strength Small Batch Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-28-2019
This wild little batch of Bruichladdich is one of the few independently bottled from the little distillery on the west coast of Islay that we've ever seen. The supposedly peaty batch isn't so peaty after all. After 12 years in refill hoggies, it's showing lots more smoke, sweet malt, and earthy complexity on the nose than obvious peat. But on the palate, the deep, linear, salty smoke. It's not as in-your-face as the modern Port Charlottes, but neither is it as tame as the standard Bruichladdich. Maybe that's why this batch made it out, or it belonged to one of the original investors, but I've yet to have anything from the new era this old or delicious. An absolutely screaming deal considering the quality and rarity of this offering, and thanks to Alexander Murray's extremely reasonable price points and our great relationship.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

1987 Fitte et Laterrade 31 Year Old "Domaine Le Chaou" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-27-2019
These wild single cask Armagnac represent some of the most unique and powerful brandies we've ever tasted. Hailing from a tiny domaine in the "Grand Cru" village of Perquie, this producer purchased new oak for the two vintages and never topped up or reduced their brandy during maturation. The powerful and oak driven style of brandy is exactly what most modern Armagnac producers are trying to avoid. The powerful esters of the alemique column stills mixed with 30 years in new oak, create a completely unique example of what the rustic brandies of Gascogne can be. This is the real deal, old school, in your face style of brandy that is simply not available outside of the few tiny farms that continue to make this style for home consumption. The 87 is savory in a way that the 88 is not. The color is an identical shade of reddish mahogany, but the nose goes in different direction! Tanned hide, sweet herbs, fresh roasted coffee, red currants, wild honey and lacquer box. The palate has a freshness that contrasts the deep savory quality of the nose. An almost tangy acidity carries through the structured palate moving toward those tangy red fruits in a very unusual way. The spicy peppery oak builds on the finish. Shockingly different from its sibling, this strange balance between zippy structure and tense savoriness. An all together exhausting and wonderful experience to consumer.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart
Limit of 12 per customer

1988 Fitte et Laterrade 30 Year Old "Domaine Le Chaou" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-27-2019
The wonderful brandy at Fitte & Laterrade represents some of the most interesting stocks available anywhere in Armagnac, but these two single casks that Vincent acquired from a small farm outside of Perquie were easily the most exciting and unique. This extremely well regarded village in the heart of Bas-Armagnac is home to the famous Chateau de Ravignan, one of La Landes most well regarded producers. But just the the south of Ravignan a small domaine produces tiny amounts of Armagnac for home consumption. The farmer specializes mostly in foie and beef production and doesn't produce Armagnac every year. Vincent told me that he'd stumbled upon the Domaine after a long day of tasting and bought these two barrels on the spot. When they were delivered to the chai a few weeks later he re-tasted and realized he must have been crazy. He wasn't sure he'd ever be able to sell them. This is just not what people trying to commercialize brandy in France are expecting. These single barrels were the entire production of the estate for that vintage and filled into new Gascogne oak without any manipulation whatsoever. It's a style that the locals love and you see people drinking out of shiners, but almost never makes it onto the market for fear that it will overpower those who might stumble upon it. The bottles open super tight and will taste world's better after a few weeks open, so I recommend pouring your first glass at least 1 hour before you plan to consume it. The color is pure mahogany. The nose is a huge bundle of roasted nuts, dried fruits, oloroso sherry, prune puree, mocha, fig jam, clove, cinnamon. Ultra thick and a bit hot on entry, it feels like it's going to go astringent, but backs off the edge with a dense sweet fruit, dark chocolate, burnt sugar and exotic wood. This is a big bold brandy that almost reminds me more of Kavalan or something in that intensity level than anything I've ever had from France.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

2005 Balblair 13 Year Old "K&L Exclusive" Cask No. 224 Cask Strength Single Cask Highland Single Malt Whisky 750ml (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 03-27-2019
I was SO excited to hear that Balblair was doing single casks, not only because I typically love their standard offerings, but mostly because we so rarely get anything distillery direct and Balblair at full strength is extremely rare. We tasted through a number of samples, but this cask stood out for it's wild nose and very appealing profile. It starts with a gorgeous snappy malt, subtle cracked pepper, ripe grain, whispers of gravelly smoke and yellow plums. The palate is bold and full of zip, with the powerful orchard fruits. The American Oak is so well integrated with the softest prettiest tannin to balance the rich malt out. With a nice dollop of water the package becomes much much prettier. Tons of citron, musk melon, apricots, and subtle spice aromatic. The palate now shows more creamy butterscotch notes balanced by bold seville orange, dense dried herbal teas and those tiny hints of smoke popping back up. There's alot of whisky in this squat little bottle. We can't wait to see what else they pull out of the warehouse for us this Spring.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2016 Florent Cosme "Utopie" Vouvray Demi-Sec
Review Date: 03-23-2019
While the sec from Cosme is one of the best values in the shop right now, his demi-sec is the sort of thing that changes peoples mind. It's almost unfortunate that we have to sell this as demi-sec because so many people will turn their nose up at the idea of drinking something sweet, but this is not any sweeter than some of the big boy chardonnays coming out of California. The nose is massive bouquet of tropical fruit, waxy orchard fruit, subtle exotic spice. The palate is wonderfully textured, coating every last bit of the tongue and not letting go. The acidity waves of any semblance of cloying sweetness with ease leaving incredible balance mineral driven finish. A truly wonderful wine built to develop in the cellar for a decade or enjoy now with a wide array of excellent pairings (Thai, Indian, fried chicken, foie gras, etc.)
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
JG 93 WS 92

2017 Florent Cosme "La Motte" Vouvray Sec
Review Date: 03-23-2019
These new Cosme wines are a real revelation for anyone who appreciates the versatile character of Chenin Blanc. While this is certainly in the "typical" style there's nothing typical about the incredible depth and complexity delivered by Cosme's wines for your dollar. The sec is brimming with vibrant freshness. Hints of lemon oil, green apple skins, pungent honeysuckle and a smidge of flinty mist behind. The palate it's medium but textured and cut right into by an incredible tension. This is really why Vouvray is considered one of the best in the world, but you typically have to spend 2 times this price. A great deal and the perfect thing to have stocks of for versatile summer drinking.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

1987 Invergordon 31 Year Old "Sovereign" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 03-07-2019
I often talk about how Single Grain shouldn't be seen as some type of Single Malt light or an off shoot of bourbon, but should really be treated as a stand alone category that should be judged on its own merits. That's why we thought it was so important to offer a diverse selection of well-aged grain at reasonable prices. We've managed to amass a collection of nearly every active grain distillery (save for Girvan) along with several ghost distilleries all in the $100-200 range and absolutely delicious. Anybody who can wrap their brains and palates around the subtle complexities of grain whisky should consider amassing as many of these awesome examples as they can afford, not only for the exquisite learning experience, but simply because we're not sure when we'll have this kind of broad access again. Invergordon tends to have a little more herbal and citrus quality than some of it's more southerly cousins and this one is no different. Caramel corn, light roast coffee beans, fresh mint, woodsy herbs and orchard fruit. A bold wild honey cuts through the linear entry and leaves you with a sweet sugar cookie finish. A bit idiosyncratic and proof that all single grain is not just one note, but has potential to offer a range of interesting and unusual flavors. This one might appeal nicely to Highland malt drinkers for it's added richness and herbal undertones. A real treat for lovers of old complex whisky of any kind though.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Mortlach 20 Year Old "Cowie's Blue Seal" Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (ships like a 1.5 L bottle due to shape)
Review Date: 03-02-2019
The Mortlach 20 Year is the most intellectual and brooding of the three new editions. I found it was pretty closed compared to the 16 on first nosing, but with some air and time, it's refinement and elegance set it apart from the other two. 100% sherry cask leave it sitting thick in the glass with a deep nutty red hue. The nose after some air starts letting go deep savory aromatics and tons of exotic wood. More on the spice, with some dark chocolate again and some deep red fruits as well. Textured and elegant with tons of oils to coat the palate, the beefy qualities build as you continue through the glass. A fine example of what old Mortlach in Sherry looks like and certainly a beautiful pour if you really want to sit and contemplate the meaning of life and whatnot.
Price: $199.99 Add To Cart

Mortlach 16 Year-Old "Distiller's Dram" Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) (ships like a 1.5 L bottle due to shape)
Review Date: 03-02-2019
Easily unseating the old Flora & Fauna bottling as the benchmark expression of Mortlach, this distillery seems to sing under sherry and at this age it's completely developed the dense character and meaty savoriness that we crave from the Beast of Dufftown. ON first nosing expect deep dried fruit, dark chocolates, roasted meat juice, tangy clove stuffed pear. Deep and spicy on the palate with the oily texture one demands of the great malts of Mortlach. Hints of fresh herbs, candied tropical fruit and old bay spice. Truly a worth example of this special distillery and well worth $100 they're asking.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
WA 91

Mortlach 12 Year Old "The Wee Witchie" Single Malt Scotch Whisky 750ml (ships like a 1.5 L bottle due to shape)
Review Date: 03-02-2019
The new distillery release of Mortlach are the perfect counter balance to the complete disaster that the previous offerings represent. Each is a wonderful expression of the distillery, somewhat different in style than the next and absolutely reasonably price. The 12 year captures the essence of MOrtlach without pushing the limits too far. This is perfect expression to introduce someone the Beast of Dufftown. A blend of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry cask offer tons of classic Mortlach character without totally overtaking the complex maltiness of the spirit. The nose has rich vanilla bean, nougat, caramel and cocoa. The palate brings in some spice and baked orchard fruits with the sherry framing the spicy malt perfectly. A great value $50.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1991 Chateau de Vacquié 27 Year Old Unfiltered Haut-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 02-17-2019
The excellent Chateau de Vacquié Armagnacs are setting a precedent which I'm not sure can be match elsewhere in the Haut-Armagnac. The region, which is not producing significant quantities of brandy, seems to have been nearly forgotten. Yet sitting on a plateau across from the medieval town of Lectoure one of the most spectacular domaines exists in a class unto its own. The proprietor, Bruno Compagnon, is a former fashion retail executive who has used the domaine as a summer home for decades. Over the last 25 years they've committed themselves to producing ultra-high quality Armagnacs. Bruno has spared no expense in the production of the Armagnacs, enlisting high-end wine consultants and the region's finest distillers. Now decades later, his son Morgan who is an LA film industry insider, is interested in commercializing the stocks. We've selected two excellent vintages to be highlight the diverse offerings from this special domaine. The 1991 is much more fruit forward than the '98. Big notes of stewed peaches, dark tea, high-end cocoa powder and maple syrup. The palate is lifted, but bold with big baking spice and cinnamon. The oolong tea thing comes back on the back end but not enough to bring it into bitter territory. Ultra decadent and pretty polished. A very approachable yet very complex offering from this new domaine.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

1998 Chateau de Vacquié 20 Year Old Unfiltered Haut-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 02-17-2019
I first heard about the incredible Chateau de Vacquie through a customer, Morgan Compagnon. His father was a wine and brandy producer at small domaine outside of Lectour. I was skeptical simply because the area is well known for not having much good brandy production, but it was just a little detour from my planned visit with L'Encantada that I couldn't resist exploring the area for our first producer from the region. I was expecting a small little farm house and when the GPS took me into Lectour I knew I'd made a wrong turn. I met Bruno at the local supermarket and followed him on tiny dirt roads through the hills across the gorge from Lectoure to find one of the most beautiful properties I'd ever seen. Vacquie was a traditional 17th century chateau surrounded by vineyards and pear trees. Not at all the farmhouse I was expecting. Bruno and his wife were inside having an espresso and we sat and talked about what they did and why I was there. Incredibly cosmopolitan and chic, the couple seemed to feed off each other and my excitement for their beautiful property. I spent the next several hours tasting every single vintage we could get our hands on. Bruno was like a kid in a candy store jumping from place to place insisting I try this or that barrel. We ultimately settled on two vintages that I thought represented the best of what the domaine had to offer. The nose on the '98 is packed full of dark dried fruit, bitter herbs, cacao, coffee, anise, gentian and fudge. It's so dark and intense you worry about the palate going bitter, but the opposite is true. Very rich and textured with the perfect amount of wood sugar to keep it balanced. Long spicy peppery and powerful. This is one that should appeal to nearly any drinker of dark spirit although it's likely to intense for the typical Cognac drinker. An absolutely unbelievable value and a welcome entry to our exquisite portfolio of exclusive Armagnac.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

1988 Cambus 29 Year Old "Sovereign" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-17-2019
I often talk about how Single Grain shouldn't be seen as some type of Single Malt light or an offshoot of bourbon, but should really be treated as a stand-alone category that should be judge on its own merits. That's why we thought it was so important to offer a diverse selection of well aged grain at reasonable prices. We've managed to amass a collection of nearly ever active grain distillery (save for Girvan) along with several ghost distillers all in the $100 range and absolutely delicious. Anybody who can wrap their brains and palates around the subtle complexities of grain whisky should consider amassing as many of these awesome examples as they can afford, not only for the exquisite learning experience, but simply because we're not sure when we'll have this kind of broad access and outrageous pricing again. This Cambus is probably the friendliest of the set. Having seen significant evaporation in it's nearly 30 years, the bottle is light on its feet, but no slouch. Expect a head blast of shaved coconut and spiced apple. The palate is easy and round with a tiny salinity that keeps it exciting. Long and easy, the subtle coconut continues but brings in a sweet taffy and caramel covered nougat. I hate to say "a beginners grain" because I don't want to scare away the initiated, but this one will pass nearly anyone's smell test.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

1987 Strathclyde 30 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-17-2019
Strathclyde distillery is truly an urban entity. Sitting on the Clyde river just across from People's Palace it's only a few ticks from central Glasgow. The industrial looking fortress that is the Strathclyde distillery could be a new class of Star Fleet destroyer, but they're still cranking out some pretty stellar grain at the plant. It seems to be slightly more prized than some of its cousins, perhaps thanks to the continued success of the popular Ballentine's blend, but there's no question that the quality of these whiskies is top tier. Expect unusual density and precision on the nose for a grain. Deep old wood, lemon cake, biscuits and Rolos. On the palate some dense dried herbal qualities, almost like a pipe tobacco note balanced with sweet stone fruit in syrup and bright citrus peel. This is definitely moving slightly toward the malt category and should be a good crossover for skeptics.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

1990 Port Dundas 28 Year Old "Sovereign" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-17-2019
I often talk about how Single Grain shouldn't be seen as some type of Single Malt light or an offshoot of bourbon, but should really be treated as a stand-alone category that should be judge on its own merits. That's why we thought it was so important to offer a diverse selection of well-aged grain at reasonable prices. We've managed to amass a collection of nearly ever active grain distillery (save for Girvan) along with several ghost distillers all in the $100 range and absolutely delicious. Anybody who can wrap their brains and palates around the subtle complexities of grain whisky should consider amassing as many of these awesome examples as they can afford, not only for the exquisite learning experience, but simply because we're not sure when we'll have this kind of broad access again. This lovely Port Dundas is not the typical thing we get on these grains. Subtle is normally the name of the game, but this Dundas pops right out of the glass with a tinned pineapple, bake apples, toffee and lemon meringue. The oak is very much on the back burner with the vibrant zesty fruit taking over. Touches of savory cereal qualities come in for a growing finish that goes darker and exhibits tiny bits of oak char and vanilla bean. A fun one that's more expressive than your average grain.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch Bottled in Bond Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 02-07-2019
It's been a little while since I've sat down and evaluated this product thoroughly. A standard in my back bar when I can get it, but I tend to drink and not think this one if you know what I mean. The fact that it's recently become slightly more available (for what will certainly be a short period of time) means I get to take some time to consider this one thoroughly for once. Supposedly the same mash bill as George T Stagg I actually get a strong similarity one of the other famously hard to get Buffalo Trace Bourbons, Rock Hill Farms. Maybe it's a warehousing thing or the fact that they're both 100 proof, but the mashbills on the two should be different. The nose still has tons of sweet dark oak spice, strong Tahitian vanilla and caramel. Touches of barnyard and dried vegetation. Big sweet corn on the palate with a lovely kick thanks to the higher proof. This is the perfect whisky to go in between Eagle Rare and Blanton's and the shoe fits perfectly, figuratively speaking. Sad we don't get to sell this on the regular, but hopefully more stocks will continue to open up on this excellent brand.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WA 90

Tom's Foolery Bottled in Bond "K&L Custom Blend" Ohio Straight Applejack (750ml)
Review Date: 02-07-2019
Tom Herbruck had originally planned to make Apple Brandy when he started his distillery back in 2011 and while curiosity and market forces have pushed him towards whiskey production, the Applejack might be my favorite thing he does. Tom's Applejack doesn't taste like apple bourbon like some others on the market the nose is extremely ethereal, almost in the Calvados range, but with more spice. Creamy almost fondant like fudginess. The mouth is fully textured, bold and filled with cinnamon baked apples, big roasted vanilla bean, and subtle nuttiness. SO drinkable and versatile I've already powered through my entire bottle experimenting in cocktails and sloshing it back like it's going out of style.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Tom's Foolery Bottled in Bond Single Barrel #150 Ohio Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-07-2019
I used try to look for something from Tom that approximated what you'd expect to get out of Kentucky, but after tasting the 100% ryes that Tom was making I changed my tune. This is is a blend of 70% winter rye and 30% malted rye. The result is one of the headiest and most out there flavor profiles for any whiskey we've ever sold. Out of control aromatics right out of the bottle of fresh mint, pine forest, wet pavement and something slightly barnyardy. The palate is big dry spicy monster with a powerful earthiness and the mint taking over on the finish. This one is not for the faint of heart, but for anyone who knows they love powerful rye or wants to experience what pre-prohibition might have tasted like, this is the a great move. The quality of the whiskey is undeniable even if it might be too much for some to handle.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Tom's Foolery Cask Strength Single Barrel #121 Ohio Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-07-2019
Another stupendous little bourbon from Tom Herbruck in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The special little distillery outside of Cleveland is part of our portfolio thanks to a fateful visit to my in-laws who live in the area. After tasting grand Plucinsky's homemade "Bailey's" I was feeling a bit saucy and recommended we go check out this craft distillery I'd read had purchased these old still from Michter's. Turns out the "distillery" was just a shed behind Tom's house, but the whiskey was every bit as delicious as I'd heard. This is our third barrel of bourbon from the Herbruck's and represents the smoothest and most "typical" bourbon profile we've yet to release. The intensity of the pot stills comes through while the whiskey is young, but around 5 years old these bourbons seem to real change. The rugged grainy pot still softens into sweet soft aromas of baked apple, barrel spice, burnt orange peel and fresh corn bread. The palate is full sweetness and spice, the thick texture of the bourbon a hallmark of those old potstills. Sweet candy corn, dark chocolate and pointed baking spice (clove and cinnamon especially) are the main show. While we're still not in the same flavor profile as Kentucky, we are moving closer to a traditional bourbon with this one. More reasons why Tom is one of our very favorite American distillers of any kind
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2009 Talisker 8 Year Old "Old Particular - K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-29-2019
There's always a risk when you pick casks from a rare blue chip distillery. Not to mention the fact that you'll need to pay a bit of a premium, but also these sorts of casks receive an extra dose of scrutiny from our discerning customers. It's not enough to put out a cask of Talisker just because you can. It needs to be special. We've done it a few times in the past and while all those casks were good, none broke the threshold for true greatness like this one has. The 8 year age statement from Talisker is a historical one and the distillery has an incredibly rare LE making the rounds in Europe right now. So we thought we'd have a crack at filling the void that product has left for lovers of the old still on Skye. Here is what to expect. The nose is all salt and lemons. Touches of sourdough and pumpernickel. Not at all as spirity as past barrels have been. We've really turned a corner here in terms of maturity. Some big salted orchard fruit chopped and wrapped in nori. On the palate big ripe Meyer lemons and salty smoke. Tons of grip and bold peat. It's always surprising that Tali shows so much intensity of smoke and salt when the peat levels are only around 16-20 ppm (half of the big boys on Islay). Savory herbs, fennel, lovage, coriander, but very clean and pointed. With water, the brine fully takes over. For those who like 'em salty, you've found your malt. Basically seawater. Easily one of the best young Taliskers I've ever had.
Price: $72.99 Add To Cart

George Dickel "K&L Exclusive" 9 Year Old Single Barrel #L8269K1006 Tennessee Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 01-24-2019
Wow another killer selection of Dickel from Whiteley here. This is much more classic than the 1002 cask showing tons of deep honey, toffee, vanilla bean and sweet corn. With some air hints of freshly roasted espresso bean, peach tea, sandalwood and none of the cinnamon that the other cask shows. It's so rich and sweet on the entry it almost feels sweetened, but then draw some oak tannin into the middle and finishes with a pleasing peppery note. Altogether one of the most balanced and approachable whiskies in the store. Always shocked that these don't fly off the shelves until people taste them, but we're slowly finding more and more people calling themselves lovers of the other Tennessee Whiskey. A real treat to drink and sell.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

George Dickel "K&L Exclusive" 9 Year Old Single Barrel #L8263K1002 Tennessee Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 01-24-2019
Every time we taste another barrel of Dickel we're reminded of how special the old distillery at Cascade Hollow really is. If this stuff were distilled 250 miles north and had the world Straight Bourbon on it, there's no doubt that we wouldn't be getting as many casks, but because it's not bourbon (in name only) it just doesn't have the clout that it might have. Nonetheless, for those who know they understand that any opportunity to try these should not be ignored. This cask in particular has really got me going. The nose is bold mixture of grade B maple syrup, exotic woods and old leather. The palate is drier and spicer than most Dickels and takes us into the cinnamons, peppers and subtle dark mineral flavors. The whole thing keeps from feeling too tannic at the end with touches of honey and sweet tea. An odd but wonderful example of this special whisky.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Maker's Mark 46 "K&L Exclusive Barrel #906" Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 01-23-2019
Another MONSTER from the Maker's Mark Private Select line. This one was built and brought to you by our illustrious LA Manager Illya Haase. Illya happens to be from Northern Kentucky and he just happened to be on vacation with his family when I had planned to be at the Maker's Mark distillery to select a barrel. So he did what any serious bourbon love would and raced to meet me in Louisville. Building your own bourbon at Maker's Mark is not an opportunity anyone should pass up. And Illya has some very clear ideas about what he likes in bourbon. We spent a good 90 minutes tasting and blending the various staves in the lab at Maker's. And while I've got my biases in the blending room, I have to say, Illya opened my eyes to some seriously exciting possibilities. Namely that the some of the staves we've avoided in the past because their character stood out in blending trials, could offer you an integrated bourbon once the actual process had been run. And while this cask falls well outside our normal recipe, it hits all the notes that Illya was looking for. Big bold spice, tempered by rich sweet vanilla. Dense textured sweet fruit balanced by an inviting sweet fruit. My fears of the Mocha staves turning bitter were completely unfounded. This may be the most exciting Maker's barrel we've done to date and certainly offers an exceptional contrast to all the others we've done. Kind of proof of concept for our friends at Maker's in my opinion. Top tier stuff.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2015 d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz McLaren Vale South Australia
Review Date: 01-10-2019
Well this was everything you'd expect and more from the venerated McLaren Vale house. Dense nose of ultra ripe black and boysenberry, dense cracked pepper, gravel - almost Bordeaux like in its mineral components, pungent violets and fresh herbs. The perfect balance of sweet to savory character. The power of the aromatics is match on the palate, but with plenty of structure to keep it from feeling baked or overly ripe. This is truly a world class wine masquerading as something we think we know.

1995 The Rare Armagnac Collection "Venus" (Domaine de Pouchegu) 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Vintage Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 01-03-2019
One of the most striking things about Pierre Laporte's eau-de-vie is the incredible diversity in flavors the various vintages offer. This special brandy, bottled at an astonishing 56.2% abv, is in a completely different range than it's older sibling. It's a few shades lighter and the aromatics follow suit. Much fresher than the '80, with gorgeous ripe apricot, tropical spices, lacquer box, Seville orange peel, grated ginger. On the palate, the heat, big spice and strong vanilla are in full force. The bold citrus adds and almost acidic tone, which I don't mind, but gave me an idea. I almost never recommend adding water to brandy. It doesn't have the same opening affect that you'd experience on a single malt, but I highly recommend the tiniest dab of water here. If you want to be precise, maybe 6 drops to an oz. The effect is a spirit so much more complex and balanced than the full strength offering and the oily rich texture remains without "breaking" as they sometimes do. Careful as we're really trying not to dilute, as soon as you see the oils reacting stop. After water, the sweet fruit explodes from the glass tempered by a savory almost gamey spice. On the palate the acidity has developed into structure and actually much more spice comes through. If the '80 was an ultra sherried speyside monster, this '95 would be an a sublimely elegant yet totally out there Islander - a totally different story but no less exciting!
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

1980 The Rare Armagnac Collection "Mars" (Domaine de Pouchegu) 38 Year Old K&L Exclusive Vintage Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 01-03-2019
The excellent Domaine de Pouchegu has held a special place in our hearts since we first found it years ago. After tasting through Gascogne's great estates, arriving at the extremely well kempt estate not far from Montreal-de-Gers was a strange experience. For years we'd heard nearly every small producer insist that the character of their spirit would be ruined if they'd ever dare to leave them in new oak for more than a few months. This technique of "successive" aging is very typical in the brandy world. It avoids excessive tannin and stretches the purchase of a new barrel across several barrels worth of spirit. The spirit absorbs a significant amount of wood in the first 6 to 12 months in a new barrel. Some producers don't bother to use ANY new oak and the concentration comes purely from evaporation. But Pierre Laporte was one of the first small producers we'd met who insisted on full term maturation in new local oak. Only the big estates like Boingneres and Pellehaut seemed to be able to afford to buy significant amounts of oak and even they didn't leave ALL their eau-de-vie in new oak for decades. And we'd assumed that the hard edge French oak tannins would create intense bitterness in Pierre's brandy, but he explained that wood selection and proper seasoning could avoid the harsh tannin and insisted that the results, while not narrowly elegant as some more traditional producers, offered a superior experience. Boy, did M. Laporte know his shit. There is almost nothing like this insane brandy on the market today. Only the extremely hard to get Lous Pibous has achieved this kind of intensity and complexity and those were created almost by accident. Expect an absolutely over the top nose, which you can detect from across the room. Tons of deep exotic wood - mahogany, sandalwood, spruce, birch, oak...all the woods. A bucket of wild dark spices, premium Italian leather, almost oloroso levels of dense raisinated fruit, fresh mint, sugar mixed in brown butter. The perfect balance of savory and sweet. The palate continues the fireworks. A very sweet entry with an elegance that is not altogether expected. The sweet rancio fruit and crazy roasted nuts are the star and the tannin is almost unperceivable until the finish where the dense spice and wood begin to take over. Ultimately it remains very balanced, but is one of the most full flavored spirits I've ever tasted. We're always looking for brandy that's going to appeal to the Bourbon drinker, but honestly I don't think there's a single lover of brown spirits that couldn't find a way to love this special spirit. We're extremely sad to have lost this great producer, but at least we have his wonderful brandies to remember him by.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

Wathen’s Barrel Proof "Barrel #40 Los Angeles" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 12-29-2018
This absolutely stupendous cask strength bourbon offers so much complexity in such a small package. There's something inherently old school about the Wathen's products and these barrel proof offerings allude to an old style of whisky that might have existed 30 years ago. The nose is a powerful mixture of big sweet toasty oak, ultra ripe nectarines, Tahitian vanilla and old polished wood. The palate has this wonderful gravelly dark forest quality that balances the sweet caramel and ripe fruit in the perfect way. Medium bodied, but a long spicy nutty quality on the finish. These whiskies are so delicious and yet completely idiosyncratic. Not for lovers of super sweet sappy whiskies, but also not completely austere by any means. Overall a feeling of old schoolness that is almost non-existent in cask strength single barrels from any other producer. Easily one of the most exciting and interesting bourbons of 2018...and just in time.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Wathen’s Barrel Proof "Barrel #69 San Francisco" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 12-29-2018
Barrel 69 is much more traditional than Barrel #40. The nose has powerful aromas of roasted coffee, sweet tea, toffee, and crème brûlée. The dense sweet aromatics on the nose are completely translated to the palate, but with the addition of a powerful oak spice and strong grassy note. Gorgeous tannin structure and a richer texture than the other barrel - it doesn't have the same linear earthy forest note, but the allusion to old school whisky component is still there. I actually like this with the tiniest drop of water (not something I often prefer do with cask strength bourbon). This cleans the earthy note up and softens the tannin adding a great sweetness to the spicy palate. Of the two barrels, I'd definitely give this to people looking for a more bold and challenging experience.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill "Tom Cat" Barrel Aged Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 12-28-2018
Caledonia Spirits had me hooked the moment I opened a sample of the outrageous honey they use to make their gin. This veritable nectar of the gods could literally make anything delicious. Now take an ultra high quality gin, age it in good quality oak, and add just enough honey to feel it, but not enough make it particularly sweet and you've got one of the most dangerous concoctions on the market. Aromatically unique, encompassing a huge variety of complex flavors, Barr Hill has created one of the most successful barrel aged gin I've yet come across. Sip it straight or in the place of whiskey in certain spirit driven cocktails.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
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2006 Isle of Jura 12 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-18-2018
Isle of Jura is a bit controversial these days. Several customers have already surprised me with their preconception of this odd little distillery. How did such a gorgeous distillery get a reputation across so many disparate drinkers? There is as well the odd customer saying, "Oh, I LOVE Jura," but the general consensus is that this cask will be eyed with skepticism from some, thanks to some preconceived notion of this malt. Luckily for me, this is the type of casks that can change people’s entire outlook on life. The incredibly oily rich malt of Jura is perfectly suited for a nice refill sherry butt and without the chill-filtration and low proof of the distillery bottlings, we've entered a whole different territory for this wild malt. There's just so much going on here it's hard to even begin to describe it. First nose is all candied apple, sea spray, roasted malt and hints of speedway. Like having a coffee near an F1 race. The malt is big and the sherry character is not obvious. But with air the complexity really explodes. This one demands a touch of water and some time to breath because behind those odd flavors is a plethora of complex flavors. Salted fruit, ozone, fennel, oyster shell and camphor. The palate is surprisingly sweet with some nutty sherry starting to sneak in. With more water ocean spray, but not quite briny. Big black pepper, almond butter, Ruger wafers on the palate. With more air, hazelnut spread on rye. A weird wonderful combo, but strangely delicious. This is one of the most unusual and exciting casks we've ever bottled, but not at all difficult to love just in need of some coaxing. And at this price, I'd hope every serious drinker would consider giving the odd little malt a chance and some time to tell its story.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

2007 Benrinnes 11 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-14-2018
It's not a secret that I'm particularly fond of Benrinnes and its beautiful fruity character. Part of what I've always loved about it is the idiosyncratic nature of their distillation process and the big gorgeous worm tubs sitting behind the stills, so I was a bit skeptical when we were offered a Benrinnes under the "new" regime. Instead of the old odd ball process, this one is distilled as most Scottish single malt, TWICE! But, despite my skepticism, the distillery has not lost any of its charm or soul. Maybe not as heady and perfumed as some of the older version, but with ever pit of the vibrant orchard fruit you want from the great old distillery. As with all these young cask strength malts the bold malt and pepper that is exhibited right out of the bottle is just a mask to something much more complex beneath. One drop of water and this thing goes absolutely bonkers. The hard edge is replaced by pungent orange fruit aromas - apricots, tangerines, persimmons, every orange thing you can think of. The palate is VERY rich and sweet with more malt than the nose and subtle bits of bitter herbs (gentian root, angelica) balancing out the sweet grain. While I'll admit this is not quite the same character as some of the previous Benrinnes, it is still full of life and the purity that we crave from this special little place. And what an incredible value for such a drinkable and complex whisky.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

1995 Blair Athol 23 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-14-2018
The loveley Blair Athol distillery is the spiritual home of the Bell's Blend, which gets a bad wrap from some whisky geeks, but when we see the excellent distillery in the warehouse we take note. Very few things are more appealing to me than an extremely affordable Blair Athol charged from a sherry. One whiff and we knew we had to have this majestic barrel. The nose has a big note of Oloroso, but also some complex malty fruit behind. With a bit of water, dark fruit compote, exotic spices and subtle almost Amontillado savory quality to balance. On the palate it's wonderfully textured with big taffy notes and a woodsy herbal quality -although much cleaner after water than the our Ben Nevis, it still has a bit of funk to start. This is a total no brainer - ultra balanced, but overtly sherried malt in what might be arguably it's perfect state of maturation. You barely notice the high proof, but it does love a little dollop of spring water opens it up in the most impressive way. Those that love the balance between dark sherry tones and rich maltiness will want to load up on this while it's still around. No reason a whisky this good and this old should be this inexpensive.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

1995 Loch Lomond ("All Malt") 22 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
Here is a weird one! I've never had a grain anything like this little puppy. The distillery, which has since changed hands, used to get in lots of trouble trying to sell this stuff as "pure malt" before the SWA banned the terminology. Now we're the beneficiaries of those oddball experiments. The nose is filled with vibrant orchard fruit, much more expressive than most grain whiskies at this age. Subtle hints of green tea, toasted sour dough, vanilla wafers. The palate has tons of green apple, white pepper, sugar candies and fresh herbs. A playful example of the interesting things that happen when you distil 100% malt mash on a column still!
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

1995 Glen Keith 21 Year Old "John Milroy - K&L Exclusive" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
Good old Glen Keith. It gets a bad rap from some of the old timers in this industry, but there's always been something intriguing about Chivas' oddball experimental facility behind Strathisla. I visited the rundown distillery with David on our first trip to Speyside and we'd considered trespassing, but it seemed work had already started on the new reception area and we weren't prepared to be confronted by some Scottish construction worker. This distillery, while relatively new--the first built in Speyside since the whisky crisis in the late 1890s--is actually really attractive. Like Tormore to the southwest, this distillery was a stalwart addition to the Chivas portfolio, but also produced some oddball whiskies through the years. That's given us a difficult time pinning down exactly what the distillery style is, but if we can expect anything like this special whisky I hope they keep popping up. A nose of extreme freshness, crystalline, precise pear and apple fruit. Subtle hints of heather and vanilla. The heather and fresh vanilla take charge on the palate, but the cleanliness of the spirit is paramount here. We're at a natural 45.8%, so I'm going to recommend you avoid adding any more than the tiniest drop of water, which adds a touch of broadness on the nose, but risks ruining the delicacy on the palate. This isn't the most overt or powerful whisky, but offers elegance and a certain grace that's lost in so many modern offerings.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2006 Balmenach 11 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
This gnarly little Balmenach is the first from the distillery we've ever bottled. The odd little hidden distillery is the unsung hero the year - no one seems to be familiar with it, but everyone who tries it understands why we bought it. After the initial funky whiffs blow off, the whisky opens to an inviting array of malty flavors, grainy and fresh, it takes a drop of water to tease the exceptional nuance of this awesome cask. With water marmalade on warm biscuits, freshly picked pears and leaves, digestive cookies and tea. On the palate equally appealing and still on the gorgeous breakfast flavors. Babies bum really, smooth and soft. And an easy going one (with water), but sometimes it’s best to just drink not think.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

1996 Auchroisk 21 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
Part of the problem with bringing in 40 casks at once is that several of our bottlings fall under the radar. In general, we’re ok with that because once people make it around to tasting the sleepers they begin to realize the incredible diversity of the whiskies we have to offer. Auchroisk is a good name that almost no one knows. We powered through the last of the limited release this year, which the distillery couldn't sell at the MSRP of $400, but our customers demolished at $250. Now we're offering a similarly aged product from this excellent distillery for only $90 and no one seems to have noticed. Their loss is your gain! This magnificent example of one of the quintessential Speyside flavor profiles is firing on all cylinders. The big nose of cake frosting and oak spice reminds me very much of the 25 year old, but with more purity. The palate is pointed and peppery until you add the requisite dash of water. Then the nose pops with an opulent mineral quality, something like a northern Rhone white (but not like floral viognier). The palate is now absolute overflowing with flavor. Citrus peel, candied apples, malted cocoa, tropical fruit salad, it's an absolute stunner. When people finally get around to this little whisky, they'll be kicking themselves they didn't notice it sooner. And this PRICE, I mean COME ON!
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

2004 Fettercairn 14 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
We don't see a lot of Fettercairn around. . We've come across casks at Signatory and they prices have become untenable. But the potential to put solid under $60 medium aged malt drew us to this cask. We're glad we tasted it because it fits perfectly into our selection this year. It offers a ton of value for people wanting a spirit driven well matured malt for not a whole lot of money and exemplifies the “highland” style perfectly. The whole package is pretty well polished, with subtle floral and fruit aromas stacked on top of pointed crystal malt flavors. This drinks best for me with the second dollop of water, which allows a beautiful wild honey character out of its hidden bag of tricks, the added sweetness a welcome addition. Odd fruits, kiwi, loquats, lychee and dried yellow plums. The finish wafts in with a big herbal dryness. Not having tasted too many independent Fettercairns I'm hoping this is a good representation of this unusual little distillery because it's absolutely delicious! Hopefully more like this in the future, but don't get your hopes up, we almost never see this distillery. Don't forget that second little splash of water to open her up.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2010 Glen Garioch 8 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
I'm an absolute FREAK for Glen Garioch. There isn't a ton out on the open market and the stuff we used to see has become extremely expensive. The malt is highly prized by the blenders for its exceptional highland character. Although it's not well known to the generally public still, it commands a premium and rightfully so. I recommend you try to separate the seemingly young age statement from this whisky when evaluating it. Absolutely nothing tastes like Glen Garioch and this one deserves to be judged without the preconception of age. The nose is gorgeously old school - with big inviting malt, deep earthy wood, a complex mixture of sweet and savory aromas. On the palate that "almost" peaty feeling adds complexity and nuance. Snappy malt, but not sulfured, it exhibits a gorgeous texture and unsurpassed purity. With water it becomes truly the quintessential eastern highlander. The malt is on display offering a tense aromatic battle between expensive teas and spices, complex fruit and earthy dark malt. On the palate the feeling of fresh peat (not smoke at but actual product) is on full display. There's absolutely nothing in the store that taste anything like this special whisky and for people who are truly enamored by top quality distillates in their most pure form, you'll definitely appreciate this special bottle.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1982 Cambus 35 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
I'm a total sucker for old Cambus. There's a lot of good stuff going on in grain these days, but it's usually with the caveat that it's offering incredible value in exchange for some of the intensity of flavor that a malt might offers. But some people actually prefer the soft smooth character of grain and that small but growing group of discerning drinkers understands that single grain simply represents a different aesthetic, a different set of goals for their connoisseurs. But something about this Cambus puts it into totally different league from the other single grains we sell. The nose is this unusual mixture of sweet vanilla frosting spread old metal machines. Sweet maple syrup drizzled over running diesel engines. It’s full of wild contrasts that don’t seem to make sense, but keep bringing you back to the glass. The crazy nose doesn’t actually transfer to the palate where we’re instead transported into bourbon territory. Super dense fruit, coffee, wild topicality, unctuous and full bodied it offers richness that even some of the 50 year stuff can’t match. It's less concerned with softness than most grain and more about character and complexity. Yet there’s no edgy sharpness to it at all. It’s so perfectly smooth you could calibrate the Hubble Telescope with this whisky. This is why people fall in love with old grain. That said it needs a few drops of water to balance the alcohol and begin to open properly - this will add texture and depth on both the palate and nose.
Price: $179.99 Add To Cart

1994 Miltonduff 24 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
Pour little Miltonduff. Nobody seems to want to admit that this stuff is world class. Critics ignore it, amateurs are unaware of it and aficionados don’t even pretend to understand it. It took us a while to sell the last exclusive Miltonduff because most people wouldn't get on board. When they finally got around to tasting it, the stuff flew out the door. This cask might sadly suffer a similar fate. Waiting on our shelves to be discovered, but the lucky few who dip their toes in without bias, will be rewarded handsomely. Quite an old school nose, with hints of citrus, wisps of clean smoke, marzipan and savory herbs. The somewhat subdued nose is in total contrast to the massive intensity of the palate. It's all citrus, cake frosting and herbs again though, none of the smoke. A bit of camphor and warming minty green tea finish. With water, it just explodes with flavors offering an absolutely stunning bouquet of aromatic complexities. It's a terrible shame that more people aren’t jump all over this beauty, but if you don't act soon you might just miss the malt of your dreams. Once the geeks get a hold of this one I think they’ll be hoarding it.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

1996 Tobermory 22 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2018
This awesome cask of Tobermory seems to have gotten lost in the sea of exceptional single casks we've just acquired. The new owners of this odd little distillery on the gorgeous Isle of Mull have recently closed the distillery for renovations and won't likely open until sometime in 2020. That means the already expensive whisky could become even more rare. The thing about Tobermory is that it can be a bit inconsistent. When it's good, it's an absolute dream. At its worst it's overly feinty with tons of funky mashy fermenty flavors. We were unsure if this whisky aged in a refill sherry butt could possibly be from the right side of Tobermory at this ridiculous price, but we needed to risk it considering the potential opportunity. Turns out this is one of the best Tobermory I've ever tasted. Much cleaner than we usually see, perhaps thanks to decades in this old butt and retaining its distinct "Islands" quality that I see in all the best Tobermory. When the porridge flavors aren't there, this stuff can be truly exceptional. The nose starts a bit closed with hints of roasted nuts and sweet malt. On the palate, there's the tiniest hint of sweet spent mash, but it's restrained and has none of the lactic quality that makes some of these feel "off”. But when you add water the whole thing explodes into a symphony of salted nuts, roasted stone fruit, vibrant fresh forest and freshly cut grass. On the palate the malt takes a back seat now with a basket of nuts and dried apricots delivered right to your olfactory gates. This might be the best Tobermory I've ever had and considering the special distillery release 21 Year is $240, it's worth the risk for even the most jaded hater of Mulls historic distiller.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

1997 Hector Macbeth (Glenfiddich) 21 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-04-2018
For being the best-selling single malt in the world, Glenfiddich gets a bit of a bad rap. While the distillery is widely known for its ubiquitous 12 year offering, it is occasionally offering exciting cask finishes and special releases. These are sought-after, but a lot of the regular malt drinkers seem to poo poo them. While I consider the 12 year a benchmark that serves as a good middle ground to compare other malts — a centering malt — also, an easy way to seem like you know what you're talking about is to shit on easy targets. But one thing very few malt drinkers can say they've actually tasted is Fiddich in a single cask. I do believe that experience will change many staunch detractors' minds about Dufftown's most active distillery. The nose is a gorgeous mixture of clean minerals and pale malt. With the tiniest drop of water is begins to expand. Vibrant freshly cut Granny Smiths, the deep minerality of a grand cru Alsatian Riesling, chamomile tea, citrus peel. On the palate, the gorgeous orchard aromas are pointed with a subtle cracked pepper. With a bit more air, gorgeous yellow floral and stone fruit aromas start to creep out. There's no question that Fiddich is producing one of the finest malts in Scotland and if they let it go for 20+ years and bottle it at full strength it can be absolutely superlative. A polished gem that should be in every serious malt nut's cabinet.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2017 Guy Farge "Bouquet de Syrah" Ardeche Rouge
Review Date: 11-15-2018
Wow this is my new favorite syrah in the store. Be sure to get it decanted as it loves air, but as soon as it starts to open up we're into some rarefied air. Juicy, pungent and packed full of wild black fruit. The structure is gorgeous! Perfect acidity to balance fruit and flinty earthiness. Soft round tannin adds length and texture. This is exactly what I want from an entry level syrah and the wine out drinks its price point by about a mile.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2000 Velier Caroni 17 Year Old "High Proof" Trinidad Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 11-15-2018
Caroni has long been a sort of golden goose for us rum geeks. It's been super hard to get and limited almost exclusively to high end bottlings from Scotland. But it's perceived rarity and cost were only sometimes backed up by an amazing product in the bottle. That's cause a lot of different stuff was actually made at Caroni. But Velier, being the incredible rum ferrets that they are, got into the very very best stocks. Pot stilled and Island aged I was expecting the high proof and extreme concentration to mean something harsh or hard especially since there's no sugar added to balance the tannins. But actually this stuff drinks with easy. It's ultra heady and complex but the intensity is extremely well balanced on a base of concentrated sweetness. The nose in an unrelenting mixtured of burnt sugar, tropical spices, old leather and flinty dark earth. The palate is indeed potent but balanced and longer than most rums with a texture that could only come from extreme concentration in hot humid warehouses. If there's any rum in the world that should be coveted due to it's quality and rarity these old Caroni stocks should be them. Easily one of my favorite spirits of the year, the total package and a benchmark in terms of rum appreciation.
Price: $199.99 Add To Cart

1997 Benrinnes 20 Year Old "Signatory" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-14-2018
We've had incredible luck with the wonderful Benrinnes distillery across the board. The hidden little distillery sits a few miles behind Glenfarclas and when we rolled up to check it out without an appointment we were certain we'd be turned away. The distillery entrance is surrounded by old little homes and you immediately notice the Tibetan prayer flags hanging across road. With no gates or guards we parked the car and ventured into the first building with an open door. There a large gentleman was sitting at a desk and I think he jumped about a foot. We explained we'd had a retail shop and how much we loved their distillery and we understood a tour would be difficult without an appointment. He told us to wait a minute and dialed the manager, "You've got a couple of boys here who want to see the distillery." After a little pause he asked us, "Are you boys German?" No no no we're are not Sir! "Alright, she'll be right down!" The old distillery is as endearing as the gorgeous malt they make. Until 2007, the partial triple distillation: feints (tails) from the wash still and low wine still, weaker feints from the spirits are distilled again in the low wine still. The spirit still is fed by the hearts and head of the first two, as well as the heads and stronger tails of the spirits. The whole thing is cooled on these massive gorgeous worm tubs. The resulting whisky is one of the most pungent and fruity in the Diageo portfolio, this cask is no exception. Tons of ripe apples, flint and creamy malt. On the palate, mirabelle, chalk, slightly watered down honey. Super refreshing and zippy. With a bit of water the minerality comes forward as does the honey. A fabulous expression of this quirky little distillery.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

Westland K&L Exclusive "#2479" Single PX Sherry Hogshead Single Cask Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-13-2018
I think it's safe to say that the Westland Distillery deserves its spot atop the Craft Distilling pyramid. The Craft Spirits category is dominated by distillers who are trying to do it all. That worked for St George because they started 30 years ago and CAN actually do everything well, but very few people will ever replicate that model. So instead distillers search for a way to do it different, to stand out, to change a category. The problem with changing a category like say Single Malt, is that it's been changing for hundreds of years. It's hard to argue that the Scottish haven't figured it out pretty well. SO the question shouldn't be, "how can we change this?" It should be, "how can we make it better?" And that's exactly what Westland have done. They've stayed dedicated and focused completely on producing exceptional and eclectic single malt. They examined closely every possible aspect of the process and adjusted subtle quality components to create a product that is uniquely theirs, yet falls well within the boundaries of acceptable/traditional Single Malt. The results are no less than astonishing than their rise to prominence. I've always appreciated what they were able to achieve within their core range, but having been to the distillery and tasted countless single cask versions, there's little doubt the true heights are only achieved with these singular expressions. So when Matt phoned up to say he'd be in town with samples I cleared my schedule. It's been YEARS since we've even been considered as a potential partner for their single cask program and the huge majority of single casks seems to sell in and around the distillery. It wasn't an easy choice. There were some big bold peaters in the bunch and some elegant aromatic American Oak barrles, but there was just no way that I could let this sweet little number walk away. This ultra concentrated Pedro Ximinez Sherry Hogshead is the total package. Dense nose full of dried fruit, deep malt and spiced cakes. The absolutely jaw-aching texture belies the youth of the whisky, which can't be very old, but packs a punch like Mike. With water this stuff builds intensity and some salinity, while staying sweet enough to keep from being astringent. I'm sort of loving this with only the tiniest drop added. IF more whisky came out of Westland like this, we might have to call it the Kavalan of Cascadia, but I think this one is a bit of an outlier. And that's just were we like 'em - off the charts.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2006 Foursquare 11 Year Old "Golden Devil" Single Barrel Barbados Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 11-13-2018
I was straight up giddy when our friends at Hunter Laing pulled out this wild little cask of Foursquare. Not because it's easily the hottest rum distillery in the world right now, but mostly because I've never ever tasted a single barrel of this stuff. We knew it wouldn't be cheap. Mr. Seale does sell to blenders, but it seems from what I can tell that most everything sold is tankered out of there. This special cask, while of course the classic pot/column blend that Foursquare is known for, was indeed blended at birth as is typical. But even after having every rum geek I know pestering him to release single barrels, Richard has yet to relent. So we are forced to search elsewhere for our fix and we're goddamned glad we did cause this rum is sublime. What's most shocking about it is just how open and approachable it is at full strength. We'd expect some hard edge pot to dominate but the years married in cask have made the two distillates intertwined in the most beguiling way. Pungent, yet restrained. Powerful, yet supple. Big bold and sweet enough to give even the most novice rum drinker a chance, but unquestionably an expert rum of the highest order. We know this cask is expensive and some might point to the distillery bottlings (also VERY hard to get) and find that those offer more "value." I argue that nothing is more valuable than experience and this is one experience that you won't want to miss.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

1996 Linkwood 21 Year Old "Signatory" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2018
Linkwood is one of those distilleries that has a pretty surprising following despite not being at all available in the US. The last official release from this exceptional distillery was a limited release 37 year old, which was sold for $600+ initially. In a lot of ways Linkwood is the quintessential "scotch" for my palate, a bench mark for Scotchiness that they set pretty high. Here we have it in its most classic form, although in desperate need of a tiny dollop of fresh water, there are few malts more enamoring. After a little squirt of spring water, the powerful dark malt suddenly falls away to reveal a complex web of orchard fruit and citrus peel. Canned pineapple and white nectarines, pointed by a subtle green plum and floral honey. Subtle briochey malt lingers in the back ground, hinting at the rich, textured, almost sweet entry. More of those tart plums, dark cocoa powder, sweet barley tea and a long white peppery finish. An absolute dream that's approachable enough for nearly any scotch drinker to fall in love. Indeed this could be the quintessential Speysider. ADD THAT WATER!
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

1987 L'Encantada 30 Year Old "Del Cassou #14" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2018
Fans of traditional Armagnac will be extremely happy to get a hold of a bottle of this exceptional 30 year old Armagnac. Not as bold and tannic as some of it's sister casks, but with an elegance very familiar to lovers of the great Gascogne brandy. The nose is an inviting mixture of baked apple tart (tatin!), exotic old wood and baking spices. Not as sweet and rich as the 82 drier and more traditional here. Super vibrant and almost refreshing with tons of dark cherry and brambly wild berries, dark roasting cocoa and beautiful old varnished furniture. Maybe not for the bourbon guy looking for a massive explosion but a brandy filled with elegance and precision. In context easily one of the best values in the store.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

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