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Staff Favorites - David Othenin-Girard

David Othenin-Girard
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Reviews

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Wathen’s Barrel Proof "Barrel #89 NorCal Barrel K&L Exclusive" Cask Strength Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 09-15-2020
The delicious Wathen's single barrels are the ultimate under-the-radar bourbon brand. It's literally a two man team, father and son, Charles and Sam Medley. Charles has decades of experience distilling and thanks to his connections gets to take over an unnamed distillery for a tiny run of barrels for his brands every year. Sam sells us the bourbon his dad distills. They have extremely limited stocks, but a couple of years ago they finally agreed to bottle these up at cask strength for us. The tiny brand is one of the few truly hidden distillery brands that is actually responsible for the creation of their juice and if this bottle were in the distillery label it would have likely sold out months ago for twice the price. But here we are. We get two barrels of the cask strength a year, one for each the north and south, and they're distinct in flavor profile. The NorCal barrel opens with dark black fruit and that lovely forest floor savoriness that bourbon can sometimes have. A twinge of pepper and sweet maple syrup complete the picture. On the palate this one is more focused on the caramel and bold cinnamon than the fruity aromatics on the palate. A tiny hint of dried grass and old wood round off the finish. A totally delectable little bourbon that, considering the hyper-intense interest in this bourbon market, should be at the top of many people's to-try list. The simple fact that many haven't heard of the brand is the only reason it's still in stock.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Wathen’s Barrel Proof "Barrel #99 SoCal Barrel K&L Exclusive" Cask Strength Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 09-15-2020
The exceptional Wathen's brand suffers from not having a team of marketing and sales people pushing it all over the place. But those who know understand that they're offering some of the best stuff out there. It's not sourced bourbon or contract distilled, but distilled by the owner Charles Wathen Medley at an undisclosed facility. They finally agreed to offer some single barrel selections at cask strength three years ago and if they'd put the age on these bottles they would have certainly sold out months ago. We can guess it's between 8 and 10 years old from one of KY's big distillers to Charles' specifications. If you tried the Medley cask strength and loved it, this is the same stuff more or less for $20 less. Let's taste: the nose starts with syrupy corn oil, vanilla bean, black tea, cinnamon and dried stone fruits. This is WAY less grassy than last years', which were total grass bombs and much more in line with the traditional Wathen's profile, which is to say sweet and spicy. On the palate: great balance, with the deep sweet oak coming through over the background baking spices. Lots of fuel in the tank here, richly textured and a long soft finish. There aren't many sleeper bourbon brands left, but this here is easily one of the coolest KY bourbons that's not on most bourbon nerds' radar. But what counts here is just how damned good it tastes, inviting and familiar yet unique in character.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Arran "Machrie Moor" Cask Strength Peated Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-01-2020
This fun whisky from Arran is now more or less extinct, at least in this package. We are forever in search of a great malt that can properly described as "somewhat peaty." Despite what many might believe, there are very few in-between malts. Almost everything that's readily available is either 30+ parts or zero. Yes, there are a few exceptions: Oban, Balvenie, Dalwhinnie...But, in general, these don't really cross the threshold to really feel the peat in a big way (Oban is probably the closest). There's of course a few exceptions, but the options are extremely limited. So when we came across the Machrie Moor at a very reasonable 20 ppm, we were intrigued. Now add that this small batch is not colored, and bottled at cask strength, and that's a recipe for something special. The color is pale gold. The nose is extremely focused, with an obvious ocean quality, but not the Laphroiag slap that some peat lovers might be craving. Instead, the smoke is lingering in the background with salinity and crystalline malt coming through. Clean and gentle, yet not boring by any means. On the palate some smoldering peat and some green earthiness. Green apple skin, crushed oyster shell, and bits of citrus. This is NOT a lightly peated whisky, but it's a balanced medium peater, which is really very rare in our world. Bottled at cask strength, it's delicious, but this guy loves water too, so don't be afraid to hit it with a few satisfying splashes of water. It develops some interesting character at the slightly lower proofs, offering more citrus, more fruit, and a bit of the salted fish character that we all love so well.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2003 Macduff 14 Year Old "The Cooper's Choice" First Fill Single Sherry Butt Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-31-2020
There's no question that the world is obsessed with malt aged in dark oloroso sherry butts. It's been like this for many years and the trend is not alleviating in any way whatsoever. So we jump at the chance to sell anything that's nicely aged and when I tried this the first time, I was ready to pull the trigger on the entire cask. Then I saw that the price would be upwards of $110 on the shelf and we decided to hold off. While it's an excellent whisky and I think ultimately worth that compared to what else is on the market for this price, our customers have been predisposed to expect old malt at the over $100 price point on independently bottled malt, even when heavily sherried. So I was delighted when the importer came to us with a deal we couldn't refuse. For $70, this might be one of the year's best deals and when every other malt is going up in price, this awesome Macduff is randomly 30% less than what it's being sold for elsewhere. The color is auburn. The nose is a wonderful explosion of rum raisin and dark nut butters. Moving toward the fig compote, it offers hints of old diesel and bomber jacket. On the palate, bit of the red cherry fruit comes through along with the deep oloroso nuttiness. There's not a lot of heat at 46% but the texture is full and the finish quiet long. For any lover of sherry, there will be very few deals like this going forward even after tariffs are removed.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

1994 Braeval 22 Year Old "Munros" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-31-2020
Another young, but relatively well liked distillery, this one is distinct across the Munros line in that it was aged in exclusively ex-bourbon barrels. The already clean and fruity style of the Braeval (previously called Braes of Glenlivet) works perfectly with the round subtle American oak and sweet flavors imparted by these great bourbon barrels. The color is pale gold. The nose has the perfect blend of yellow and orange fruits, hints of fresh apricots and mirabelle. Touches of roasted almond and toasted vanilla bean heighten the clean fruitiness perfectly. On the palate lemon candies, white pepper, cherry pits, ground clove and tiniest hints of fresh bread yeasty quality. Certainly not a whisky that's going to scare anyone away, as it's round and approachable, but by no means one note or boring. This is as quintessentially Speyside as any malt in our selection right now and offers and incredible value for a relatively rare distillery.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

1995 Tormore 22 Year Old "Munros" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-31-2020
The odd and delicious spirit coming off the stills at Tormore is not something we see very often stateside. It is one of the most beautiful new distilleries in Scotland, having been built in only 1960, the gorgeous tall white walls are contrasted by the stunning varnished green of its copper roofs. And like the odd dichotomy of the distillery itself, this whisky is another idiosyncratic and understated example of what is produced there. This whisky was aged for 22 years in American oak hogsheads. Let’s see how it tastes. The color is old gold. The nose is packed full of deep red fruit, with a curious orange peel component. Surrounding that is a roasted cereal quality that touches ever so slightly to the nutty aromas. Tiny hints of wood glue are actually weirdly inviting. On the palate, the lower than typical proof is not at all to its detriment in terms of texture, instead we have a round rich body and which add some wild honey and subtle floral flavors to the bouquet on the nose. The finish is medium long and satisfying with some almond extract and vanilla bean showing up. A fun, unique whisky that should not be overlooked because of its low proof or unusual provenance.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

1993 Glen Keith 24 Year Old "Munros" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-31-2020
The excellent and affordable whiskies from Munros are unique in that they're dumping small batches of two to four barrels. IN this case they've married a tiny lot of "dump hogsheads," which I believe refers to a dumpy or squat hogshead. this is a barrel composed of slightly shorter staves giving the barrel squat look and resulting typically in a higher oak to whisky ration (210-220 liters vs the standard 250). In any case, the resulting whisky is lovely extremely classic Keith. The color is pale gold. The nose is zesty and fresh, with hints of citrus peel, crystal malt, and fresh bitter herbs (hints of wormwood and orris). Great texture on the palate, with an almost buttery consistency, and now some more vanilla. The citrus fruit leans slightly toward grapefruit with some fresh stone and orchard fruit coming in as well. The finish brings back some of the tangy herbal quality, but refrains from feeling bitter - dried mint, anis, exotic spices and orange blossom honey. A truly lovely drinkable classic Keith for an outstanding price.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

Mal Bien Green Tape "Victor + Emmanuel Ramos" K&L Exclusive Batch 0318ER Tepextate Mengoli De Morelos, Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 08-29-2020
The big daddy of our Exclusive Green Tapes with a whooping 65 bottles produced. This Tepextate has been rested for more than two years so the pungent greenness that is often associated with the varietal has integrated into something far more complex. The nose is a unending bouquet of fresh tilled earth, bitter roots (gentian and orris), lemon oil, beeswax, pineapple and pink peppercorns. On the palate a bit more of the Tepex "green" character, but still unusually integrate. Ashy smoke, dense dark volcanic rock, powerful dark spice and roasted pepper components (ancho, chipotle). This is an absolute monster that will likely continue to improve in the bottle but offers an incredible and diverse bevy of flavors right out of the gate.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Mal Bien Green Tape "Victor + Emmanuel Ramos" K&L Exclusive Batch 1119VFR Arroqueno Mengoli De Morelos Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 08-28-2020
To the untrained eye the Sierra Negra and Arroqueno plant look similar, but to the master who cultivate them they couldn't be more distinct. That physiological difference translates to a completely different character on the palate, although the balance between fruit, pepper and mineral qualities is a theme across both varietals. More fresh cooked agave here than the Sierra Negra, with bold green pepper and savory dried tamarind. The front palate is leathery and filled with bold minerality, a much bigger kick than the Sierra and tons of dark smoky fruit. There are few side by sides more interesting that this and it's cousin Batch 1219VFR, but of course both will be gone very quickly so don't wait.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Belle Meade "Reserve" Small Batch Indiana Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-28-2020
I love what the Nelsons are doing over at Greenbriar Distillery in Nashville. They've got their heads screwed on and they got in at a pretty good time so their NDP bottlings are still relatively reasonable. The Nelsons got hold of some pretty serious stocks of bourbon from several distilleries, likely including MGP, maybe Dickel, and others. The whiskey is now really reaching maturity. The style easily matches great brands on quality terms and you're not looking at a stupid markup like so many craft distillers are asking on their purchased stocks. An excellent range of 7-11 year old bourbons of various mashbills are small batched to create a very even and solid drink. I especially love that the Nelsons have used their ancestor's merchant bottler brand to sell their merchant-bottled bourbon. This product is now bottled just under cask strength, which according to the distillery, will allow them to keep putting older barrels into the mix without compromising flavor. The result is one of the few high proof older bourbons on the market and the price continues to make it one of the best values in bourbon period.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Rezpiral K&L Exclusive Espadin & Piñuela Series 5 (Simeon Ramirez) San Agostin Amatengo Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 08-27-2020
So this is an absolute oddity that we just couldn't pass up. This is not your typical mezcal, but instead some what of an experiment by the incredible team Simeon & Apolonio Ramirez in San Agustin Amatengo. Pinuelo is an usual mexican fruit that tastes something like pineapple. It's stocks are harvested and roasted with the agave including the seeds and husk. The resulting spirit has a character somewhere in between mezcal and agricole rhum. The nose is full of green earth aromas coupled with dense savory spice and high toned funky fruit. The palate is slightly more typical of mezcal, offering sweet agave nectar, green pepper, tropical fruit and hints of lactic acid. This one should be reserved for the geekiest of mezcal nerds and I encourage every single one of you to act before this totally weird and wonderful expression disappears. Only 60 bottles for the States.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

Rezpiral K&L Exclusive Mexicano Series 5 (Berta Vazquez) San Baltazar Chichicapam Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 08-27-2020
Berta Vasquez is quickly becoming a name to watch in the Mezcal world. Her soft spoken style and sweet demeanor belies and absolutely impeccable ability to craft top tier mezcals. Interesting that Rezpiral features her and Reina Sanchez prominently, as two of the most prominent female producers of mezcal, their personalities and products couldn't be more different. Berta's restrained style extends into the spirits she so caringly crafts. This wonder Mexicano (a. Rhodcantha) is no exception. This unusual agave tends to offer some serious savoriness and this batch from Berta does that, but so much more. On the nose, an obvious leathery quality is balanced by sweet orange character. These two opposing flavors are connected with an bouquet of floral aromatics that's unprecedented - rose, honeysuckle and hibiscus. On the palate, the very best black and green teas explode on the palate, slightly sweetened with honey and zesty lemon peel. Oily, textural, warming and satisfying! It's an extremely usual and welcome profile. Any love of quality spirits will understand why this is special from the first moment in the glass.
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart

Rezpiral K&L Exclusive Madrecuishe Series 5 (Reina Sanchez) San Agostin Amatengo Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 08-27-2020
I feel extremely grateful and lucky to have gotten a preview of the Rezpiral Series 5 when visiting Oaxaca back in early March. We were able to ear mark a couple of special batches for the store. These are extremely tiny offerings and none is more exciting than the exceptional Madrecuish from Reina Sanchez. Reina has a reputation for putting out some absolutely spectacular batches, although we've been warned that not all Reina is the same. She's a known broker and buys and sells batches of other peoples juice as well as distills her own. We're after the stuff that she's produced and this Madrecuish is definitely hers. The nose is an absolute explosion of fruity and savory agave character. These plants took and incredible long time to mature (15-20 years), even for Madre and you can sense the incredible complexity that that extra aging has imparted on the spirit. We first get fresh guave, roasted gourd, pineapple, dill, seville orange and a bit of shaved pecorino. ON the palate, the roasted agave is at the front with clear mesquite character followed by a powerful mineral quality. The finish is spicy, almost capsicum, but the green chalky fruit prevents it from feeling overtly hot. A truly special and complete experience. This is definitely La Reina at her best!
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart

Hombo Shuzo Mars Shinshu Komagatake "Limited Edition 2019" Single Malt Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-18-2020
The excellent Mars Distillery in Nagano has played third fiddle to the big boys during the Japanese Whisky explosion, but their special releases are still snatch up by collectors as quickly as we can get them. Last year, we were allocated we received a minuscule 36 bottle allocation. It was sold out in a day. This year we were able to muscle the supplier for more than 20 cases thanks to the fact that bars all over the country are closed. So, for the first time in ages, we're able to market a collectible Limited Edition Japanese Single Malt that isn't made from Canadian or Irish Whiskey bulked into Japan, marked up and bottled as Japanese. This is real Japanese malt here and Mars is making some seriously delicious stuff. The stills were hand built in the 50s and moved around the country during various periods, but production began in earnest again at the Nagano plant in 2009, so this is not very old whisky by any means. The malt is dried with the tiniest amount of peat smoke, around 3-5 parts per million. Their Limited Edition apparently comes from the warmest parts of the warehouse. The top floors is what one source mentions. Hombo Shuzo seems to have some Kentucky style racking warehouses, which are not unheard of in Scotland either. This vast majority of this batch was aged in first fill ex-bourbon, with tiny amounts of virgin oak and sherry butts thrown in for good measure. Let's have a taste. Almost an hour of aeration the glass before tasting. The color is old gold. A gorgeous nose of fresh orchard fruit: yuzu, poire d'anjou, mirabelle, Crispins and more. A pristine, almost chiseled character on the nose, focused, refined, but not monotonous. Fleeting slivers of spice and vanilla, but the pure fruity malt is front and center. It might be young malt, but it's very very good malt. On the palate, we're starting to see more American oak take charge, still with some fruit there though. A bit of roasted vanilla bean, cinnamon spice, twinges of espresso and burnt sugar. The fruit is maybe a bit more tropical now. The tiniest drop of water washes away the slightly overt wood on the palate bringing some lively citrus and unusual herbal character. Is it tarragon? A decidedly refreshing take on the white-hot Japanese malt category. It isn't simply an approximation of Scottish single malt, but a window into what will certainly become the house style in years to come, and an idiosyncratic style that I believe allows it to stand alone among it's peers. While the collectors may snatch this up, it's the drinkers who will undoubtedly get the most out of it.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

1990 Invergordon 29 Year Old "Barrel to Bottle" Single 1st Refill Tennessee Whiskey Barrel #45981 Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-13-2020
The two tiny casks of Invergordon brought in by Barrel to Bottle are definitely intended to attract the bourbon drinker to this exciting category. I try to avoid selling Single Grain as "bourbon light" partly because I think that over simplifies the category and more precisely because I believe often misleads the consumer about what they're getting. But the B to B guys have found two casks that work wonders to cross over really the categories, while staying true to the Single Grain aesthetic. I think these are really fun to taste together so I'll add my notes for both here. The color for both of these is yellow gold. The nose on barrel 981 is more classic grain with notes of marzipan, yellow flowers, coconut, hay bails, vanilla. By contrast barrel 090 has more corn oil, more oak, maple syrup, cooked cereals and baked apples. On the palate, both far surpass the relatively restrained nose. #90 is very sweet up front, textured, oily, baked sweet corn, subtle herbs and a long citrus-y finish. Barrel #981 has more vanilla, a bit of melon and more spice. There's still some sweetness, but building toward a large spicy finish. Adding 3ml of water softens #981 slightly and I think I like the bold intensity of it at cask strength better, but #90 loves the water. Adding the same amount brings a bit more stone fruit and heightens the experience on the palate significantly. The are surprisingly unique within this context and while they still offer a much more restrained and elegant experience than any old bourbon, they will certainly scratch an itch that most bourbon drinkers might not even know they have.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

1990 Invergordon 29 Year Old "Barrel to Bottle" Single 1st Refill Tennessee Whiskey Barrel #45090 Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-13-2020
The two tiny casks of Invergordon brought in by Barrel to Bottle are definitely intended to attract the bourbon drinker to this exciting category. I try to avoid selling Single Grain as "bourbon light" partly because I think that over simplifies the category and more precisely because I believe often misleads the consumer about what they're getting. But the B to B guys have found two casks that work wonders to cross over really the categories, while staying true to the Single Grain aesthetic. I think these are really fun to taste together so I'll add my notes for both here. The color for both of these is yellow gold. The nose on barrel 981 is more classic grain with notes of marzipan, yellow flowers, coconut, hay bails, vanilla. By contrast barrel 090 has more corn oil, more oak, maple syrup, cooked cereals and baked apples. On the palate, both far surpass the relatively restrained nose. #90 is very sweet up front, textured, oily, baked sweet corn, subtle herbs and a long citrus-y finish. Barrel #981 has more vanilla, a bit of melon and more spice. There's still some sweetness, but building toward a large spicy finish. Adding 3ml of water softens #981 slightly and I think I like the bold intensity of it at cask strength better, but #90 loves the water. Adding the same amount brings a bit more stone fruit and heightens the experience on the palate significantly. The are surprisingly unique within this context and while they still offer a much more restrained and elegant experience than any old bourbon, they will certainly scratch an itch that most bourbon drinkers might not even know they have.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

Del Maguey Tobala Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 08-04-2020
The Tobala is an incredibly rare agave the grows best in the shaded areas of the Oaxacan highlands. This producer is known to use tropical fruit in addition to agave to get the right balance for this spice fruit forward mezcal.
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart

2006 Daftmill "Summer Batch Release" Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-01-2020
I feel very lucky to have visited the good Mr. Cuthbert at his farm and distillery in the Summer of 2016. The beautiful and tiny distillery is hidden behind barley fields and built inside a gorgeous old stone farmhouse. Francis was in the distillery taking measurements, a truly hands on distillery owner. He seemingly does everything, although one must assume there are others helping, there's no question that this tiny production distillery is a labor of love. We tasted several casks together all around 10 years old and while I thought they all tasted pretty good, he brushed off the idea of bottling them saying unequivocally that they weren't ready. This man knows barley and we've waited with bated breath to see these barrels meet his high standards for bottling. Now after waiting almost 4 more years, we finally have access to this excellent and unusual single malt from one of Scotland's smallest and most watched distillers. The color is white wine. The nose starts restrained, but obvious complexity hides right behind the initial austerity of first nosing. As it opens, we start to notice vibrant stone fruits: apricots, plums, peaches. Then a mineral element and some citrus, lemon oil components. It's got a very old school feeling that isn't really available from any other modern distiller. A drop of water and a bit more time and we're being delivered truckloads of various fruits tropical and continental, some poached and drizzled in vanilla sauce. Creamy and luscious on the palate with wisps of white pepper and perfect clean American oak. This stuff is just lovely in every sense of the word. It's a new old-style malt unlike so many of the modern new distillers who are trapped between the science and art of single malt distillation. Without a visionary like Francis to make the crucial decisions, any new distillery will be relegated to the second tier and never truly cI feel very lucky to have visited the good Mr. Cuthbert at his farm and distillery in the summer of 2016. The beautiful and tiny distillery is hidden behind barley fields and built inside a gorgeous old stone farmhouse. Francis was in the distillery taking measurements, a truly hands on distillery owner. He seemingly does everything-although one must assume there are others helping, there's no question that this tiny production distillery is a labor of love. We tasted several casks together all around 10 years old and while I thought they all tasted pretty good, he brushed off the idea of bottling them saying unequivocally that they weren't ready. This man knows barley and we've waited with bated breath to see these barrels meet his high standards for bottling. Now after waiting almost 4 more years, we finally have access to this excellent and unusual single malt from one of Scotland's smallest and most watched distillers. The color is white wine. The nose starts restrained, but obvious complexity hides right behind the initial austerity of first nosing. As it opens, we start to notice vibrant stone fruits: apricots, plums, peaches. Then a mineral element and some citrus and lemon oil components. It's got a very old school feeling that isn't really available from any other modern distiller. A drop of water and a bit more time and we're being delivered truckloads of various fruits tropical and continental, some poached and drizzled in vanilla sauce. Creamy and luscious on the palate with wisps of white pepper and perfect clean American oak. This stuff is just lovely in every sense of the word. It's a new old-style malt unlike so many of the modern new distillers who are trapped between the science and art of single malt distillation. Without a visionary like Francis to make the crucial decisions, any new distillery will be relegated to the second tier and never truly compete with the big boys. Of course, the price is no trifle but it’s a small price to pay for immediate access to the future history of modern single malt.
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart

Arran "The Bothy" Quarter Cask Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-01-2020
The Arran is an excellent distillery and each release seems to get better and better. This 3rd batch of the Bothy is the best we've had and so we snagged a bit of the old stock before the new importer took over. Here we've got the use of new American oak quarter casks, which if not done with restraint could be a problem in my view. Luckily Arran is extremely careful and knows that each batch must be just right in order to keep building their reputation. The color is deep gold. The nose is full of fresh oak, but in a lively and not obtrusive way. It's got some citrus peel, tangerines and Seville, plus plenty of vanilla and a bit of coconut. On the palate the wood takes a back seat, thankfully, and let the malt come through offering up some nice caramel candy, toasted cereal and hints of mocha. With water we really start to open up bringing some fresh spices and sweet herbs on the nose. These play nicely with the continued orange peel notes and a bit more sweetness now. On the palate it's more viscous now and loses some of the roasted quality in favor of more fruit and spice. A totally delicious example of how to properly use new oak in single malt production.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

The Tweeddale 28 Year Old "The Evolution" Blended Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-28-2020
For a very long time single malt has reigned supreme over all other spirits. The most collectible, expensive and coveted spirits in the world are all single malt Scotch. But the industry has changed drastically over the last forty years and I wouldn't be the first to say that golden age of single malt production may be behind us. Now that is not to say that there are and will be many more exceptional and collectible malts to be released in the coming years, but what it is to say is that we will achieve the great heights we once did less frequently and when we do see those greats the prices will reflect that. But it's not simply demand that is responsible for diminished potential of single malts, but the actual production itself. Distillers across Scotland have exchanged potential greatness for efficiency and consistency. It is of course, the economical and rational choice to make, but with it comes a homogenization of production—in style, flavor, cost and process. While as a whole the Scotch industry is producing better spirits overall, the quality and flavor of those spirits have converged into certain styles that are deemed desirable. The result is a future where great whisky will look more like the past than many care to admit. It will be in fact the blended products that offer us the diversity of flavor that was once the exclusive territory of the single malt. It will take a look back at the origins of Scotch whisky and its subsequent domination of the spirits world to truly offer something unique going forward. The Tweeddale Evolution is exactly that type of product. It is a modern re-imagining of an old recipe. Yes the ingredients are different but the soul is the same and in that capacity it is one of the most interesting Scotches on the shelf today. Let's have a taste! The color is yellow gold. We've got a nose packed with orchard fruit (yellow plums and green apples), butter biscuits, coconut candy and bits of mineral-pulverized limestone. It's not a challenging profile by any means, yet it's certainly outside the norm of any popular blend. On the palate, vibrant and tangy, with some cooked apple and more vanilla. It does have a feeling of a nicely aged Speysider marked with something unique—whether it's some older Highlander or the grain element poking through isn’t clear. It doesn't have the opulence of some other old blends we've sold, but it does a uniqueness and openness that can be appreciated by almost anyone. Not to say it's completely tame or safe at this high proof, but it's not going to scare anyone away. It's especially fun to sip this and imagine what this same blend might have been like 200 years ago when the Tweeddale was original created. I would love this with the tiniest dash of water which brings out a bit more coconut husk and vanilla, but don't put too much or she'll go a bit quiet.
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

Raasay "While We Wait" Isle of Raasay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-23-2020
It seems as though the Raasay Distillery have found a lot of interesting things to do while their own stocks age and this, the first bottling under the Raasay name, is no exception. This is a lightly peated malt from the highlands of Scotland from an undisclosed source. There are only a few distilleries offering this style in the region and even fewer that are likely to be available to an up and coming distillery, but it's none the less difficult to parse out exactly where this might be sourced. Maybe from Ardmore, maybe Loch Lomond, maybe elsewhere. Many we see tend to be relatively full on. Whatever it is, it's subsequently finished in French oak which previously held Tuscan red wine. It is indeed an unusual combination, but I think it works pretty well and it certainly represents a unique flavor profile we're not often experiencing. The color is pale gold. The nose is a striking mix of smoldering chimney smoke (not very peaty thought), red cherry and dried herbs. On the palate we get more of the peat, subtle salty dried fruit, dark smoked herbs and hints of ashy coal smoke. The French oak and the wine serve to gently coax the lightly smoked spirit, but don't over power with acrid or astringent flavors. It's a well rounded and appealing option for anyone looking for something "lightly peated," a category that's surprisingly difficult to find in Scotland these days.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Tweeddale "Grain of Truth" Peated Edition Highland Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-23-2020
This is surely a strange offering. A single grain composed of 50% peat dried malted barley and 50% wheat. We're heading in a whole new direction with this one. And on the nose, it's very unique indeed. We don't have a ton of details about the source or the maturation, but the experience was to unusual to pass up and in the end this is really fun whisky to drink despite it not fitting into any of the usual boxes. The color is white wine. An odd flinty kind of smoke, oyster shell, fresh paint and a feeling of brine that's for some reason not quiet ocean-y. On the palate, more of the fresh earthy peat, very distinct and with a light to medium body. With a drop of water, things start to open up a bit the nose adds some herbal qualities, a bit of wormwood and gentian. More campfire smoke now and a bit of that chemically camphor aroma. On the palate, the water has added sweetness behind the fresh smoldering peat. While not nearly as pretty and straight forward as the regular grain of truth, this is definitely a fun whisky to drink particularly for people who want to challenge themselves a bit and don't mind a bit of that old peat smacking you around a bit.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Tweeddale "Grain of Truth" Highland Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-23-2020
I'm totally in love with this great little grain whisky from the Tweeddale brand. A blend of 50% wheat and 50% barley aged in ex-bourbon for an undisclosed amount of time before being finished in Oloroso? It seems a bit too good to be true, but they pull it off incredibly well. This is easily one of the most single malty grains I've ever come across and is without a doubt my new summer whisky! The color is yellow gold. The nose is very pretty and very fruity, with the gorgeous tropical and orchard fruit - apricots, kiwis, litchi. Behind that hints of sherry spice and wisps of roasted nuts. On the palate we start to feel more of that Oloroso influence take over. Caramelized orange, roasted almonds, medium roast coffee beans and some exotic spices toward the finish. This really punches above it's weight and style class. Super happy to be selling this non-chill filtered single grain whisky for $45! A welcome oddity in a complex category.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

1995 Glen Grant 22 Year Old "Munros" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Unchillfiltered Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-23-2020
Another absolutely stupid value from the Munros line. This brand, you may remember from the previous offering from Ledaig, was originally brought into the states by a now defunct importer in New York. The stocks sat in the New York warehouse for 3 years before being discovered by one of our suppliers. We were luckily in a position to take a significant portion of the stocks, but not before small parcels were sold off at standard retail to a few limited markets. Those markets would easily sell this exact same bottle for $200 or more. But now we've got a beautiful expression from one of Speyside's finest distillers for just over $100. An incredible value by even our own astronomical standards. This exceptionally balanced and approachable whisky is by no means without complexity. Let's have a taste. I love a good mature Speyside in refill bourbon. We're always looking for first and second fill when we select casks because it narrows down the likelihood that we'll find something great and a great Speyside malt in second fill bourbon is sometimes the perfect recipe. You have the oak influence still, but it does not act to hinder or obscure the incredible detail and finesse that these wonderful malts exhibit. Nose: The nose is very forward and open baked full of dried apples, hints of citrus peel, graham cracker, honeysuckle and the tiniest touches of green tea. Palate: very creamy and rich, with the apple now feeling baked and the tiniest sprinkle of clove and cinnamon. Some tropical fruit as well with toasted vanilla component and a long warming finish. Add water we're in the same range, but with the addition of some slight peppery note and a tangy ginger flavor, also more citrus. I find this whisky to be perfect right out of the bottle and aside from the experience of seeing it change, which I believe to be a crucial part of understand any malt, I give the RARE recommendation NOT to add water. But try it both ways as well as always to see how your palate reacts and which side of this malt you prefer. Needless to say this and the entire Munros line-up, are going to be some of the year's best values. I can't imagine any lover of this classic Speyside style will not be clamoring for another bottle once this once is tasted. Enjoy!
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2008 Highland Park 10 Year Old K&L Exclusive Cask #7774 Refill Sherry Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-09-2020
It's extremely infrequent that we find a cask at this age that shows so much complexity. While the 12 year old cask that we also bottled this year had the density and power unlike any we've seen previously, this cask has a depth and nuance that isn't at all available in the 12 year. The casks is much more inline with the way I remember Highland Park once was rather than the more bold and forward offerings we regularly see today. With that in mind, this is by no means a subtle whisky. It's got character to burn and it's DEFINITELY on the smokey side of HP. let's taste! Color: Tawny. Nose: The nose isn't at all peaty per say, but it's definitely smoke-y. A perfect example of the distinction of those to flavors. Leather, mesquite, bacon, hints of diesel engine, old cigar box and roasted cloves. Behind a touches of black fruit and pepper. Palate: Here is that AWESOME Orkney peat! Right up front and travelling straight through the palate. It's not the iodine peat but the flaming heather and earthy peat, framed perfectly with nutty sherry, dark fruit and woodsy spice. With water the nose transforms and offers a big burnt orange peel and candied citrus. Subtle mossy notes allude to the smoke coming on the palate. Now we're talking! It's very sweet and smokey now. Softening on the spice and bringing more dried fruits. This one is awesome right out of the bottle, but comes together perfectly with a splash of water. WOW, I'm so in love with this styel.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart

Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Single Barrel K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-05-2020
There are few American whiskies that transcend the category's gruff persona. Sure, there are expensive whiskies being made at craft and industrial distilleries alike, but only a tiny handful capture that nuanced space that could be considered "luxury." The Hillrock Estate achieves that feeling without even trying. They've put so much time, money, energy and thoughtfulness into these products -- the inherent quality seeps from the glass with almost perfect restraint. Dave Pickerell (RIP) had a field day making Hillrock. I'd never seen him more proud or excited about one of his products than when he talked about Hillrock. But nothing about the story explicitly implies that it's a luxury product. After all the "Estate" is actually a farm, but the quality derives directly from a commitment to produce the absolute best regardless of cost. That is true luxury. Almost no craft producers have achieved such an innovative and well-polished product, so when we had the chance to buy this little cask we knew we wanted to pick a good one.
Price: $139.99 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

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

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

Château 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

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: Hidden View Price

Icarus American Brandy (750ml)
Review Date: 12-10-2019
The totally wild small batch expression from Kurt Charron is one of the last single varietal brandies we'll ever see from the old Germain Robin distillery. His Chareau distillery in Oxnard is producing brandies and the excellent Aloe Liqueur of the same name. But, Kurt has a thing for brandy. He went up to visit our old friends in Ukiah in 2013. There he distilled high-quality Pinot Noir from the legendary Roederer Estate in Anderson Valley and placed it into traditional French oak casks. The nose is restrained but packed full of classic brandy flavors. It smells just like some of the old Single Varietal GR's that sold for $150. The palate is soft and round with tons of stone fruit and plenty of texture and depth. Hints of spice and vanilla on the finish. At this price, we're looking at one of the best values for American craft brandy on the market and a direct resonance from the wonderful lineage created by Ansley Coale and the original Germain Robin crew.
Price: $39.99 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: Hidden View Price

Four Pillars "Faultline" K&L Exclusive Australian Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 12-10-2019
The exceptional Faultline Gin is part of a long series of excellent gins we've created with our favorite distillers. This one was created by David Driscoll with the help of the boys down at Four Pillars. Our first batch was so fabulous we had to re-create it. I might notice the unique Australian botanicals even more in this batch with powerful lemon myrtle and fresh kumquat coming straight to the front. While it's citrus driven and fresh, it doesn't forget it's roots as a classic dry gin and the complex host of botanicals works perfectly on the palate to create something utterly unique yet hauntingly familiar. While I used to say this was better suited for G&Ts than Martinis and think you could sneak this little baby into just about any drink to give it some complexity without adulterating the result negatively.
Price: $34.99 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.
Price: Hidden View Price

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

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

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

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

New Riff Bottled-In-Bond Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 09-26-2019
While everyone is talking about the New Riff bourbons, I think it's the rye that's secretly their most exciting product. New Riff bourbons are high rye already, but they follow sort of the standard Kentucky process. With the rye, New Riff is actually riffing a bit on the classic Larry Ebersold Seagram's mashbill that's made the rye from the distillery down river so famous. This is 100% rye with 5% of that being malted rye. The resulting whisky is earthy and complex. It doesn't have the obvious mint qualities of some other 100% ryes, instead replacing those with a dark underbrush aroma that's really appealing. Still, an evergreen quality and some sweet oak give this an obvious forest essence that I think will become a hallmark of New Riff's wonderful ryes. The palate is very forgiving without relinquishing the savoriness, but offering tons of flambeed citrus, roasting herbs, Manuka honey and a round creamy texture. This one loves a bit of water.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

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