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Staff Favorites - Aaron Hughes

Aaron Hughes


Stellum Cask Strength Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 05-13-2021
The first thing that I noticed when opening this Stellum Cask Strength Bourbon is that there was a strong hit of apple skin when nosing the bottle itself. Poured and tasted a few days later, the apple skin has faded to a secondary note surrounded by muscovado sugar, vanilla and baking spices with hints of an ethereal florality. A first sip brings a huge pop from the proof melding into the peppery rye spice and then the oaky barrel notes while dried red apple softens the palate and brings this bourbon full circle.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Stellum Cask Strength Blend of Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 05-02-2021
This dandy little cask strength rye from Stellum Spirits was a real surprise. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised since the people being Barrell are behind this and they've shown time and again they know their way around a good blend. The nose opens with a dark, torched caramel that plays with the vanilla and barrel spice. There are oak notes shining through now and then and hints of white flowers and candied orange peel. The palate impresses with a bright pop of rye spice at the forefront coupled with black pepper and cedar and just a touch of the caramel coming through on the palate after the spice has mellowed on the finish. A couple minutes after my last taste, while putting this tasting note together, I noticed an incredibly pleasant dried apricot finish lingering on. While a lot of people, including myself, are oft focused on single barrel products, this helped remind me that the art of the blend is something to be appreciated and sometimes even sought after.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

LAWS Whisky House Bottled in Bond San Luis Valley Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 03-06-2020
This intriguing rye from A.D. Laws Whiskey House in Colorado is 95% heirloom rye (50% raw, 50% malted) and 5% heirloom barley. All of this makes a smooth and interesting rye. The nose is intense and complex, consisting of (but not limited to) dusty leather, cracked wheat, black olive, pomace, dried apricot and a perfumed herbal florality with backnotes of orange zest and Demerara sugar. Like I said, complex. There's a bright flash of sweetness on the palate that quickly gives way to a briny salinity and dark dried fruit with a grassy cereal spicy finish. This is different and something I'm going to keep coming back to until I feel like I understand it, hope we have enough bottles in stock.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Corner Creek 10 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 03-02-2020
A soft and prettily floral nose begins the trip with this incredibly friendly Bourbon. There's an approachability and enticement just on the bouquet itself, with hints of oak and spice but the florality and the fruit come together to also give me notes of muscat and wild herbs. The palate is classic Bourbon with good amounts of vanilla and spice and Muscovado sugar with sandalwood and on the long and lingering finish. Delicious and a really reasonable price for a 10 year age-statement Bourbon, especially one this hard to find in California.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Ragnaud-Sabourin "Fontevieille #35" K&L Exclusive Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-02-2020
Wow. That's almost all this review said, just "wow" because this absolutely impressed me from first sight. A really beautiful color in the bottle and in the glass, showing its 35 years. The nose is full and rich, with very little alcohol on the nose encouraging long and wistful inhales as this is savored. Just gobs of fresh-cut apple and peach are accompanied with an orange-blossom florality and then quickly overshadowed by a rich vanilla. The palate is absolutely phenomenal with that fruit and vanilla accompanied by toasted herbal spices and rich barrel spices. I thought that the #20 was smooth but this puts that to shame. This might just be a benchmark spirit, setting the bar for all Cognacs to follow. I'll let you know.
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart

Ragnaud Sabourin K&L Exclusive Reserve Speciale #20 Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-02-2020
Opening on a pretty fruit-filled nose, with ripe apples, white peach and hints of warm spices. The palate is smooth with an enjoyable weight and caramely vanillins on the finish mingling with hints of citrus zest and a lightly spicy liveliness. Delicious and worthy of a place on your shelf.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart

Reisetbauer Carrot "Karotten" Eau de Vie (375ml)
Review Date: 02-16-2020
When Andrew our spirits buyer showed me that we had a carrot eau de vie, I didn't know what to think. How weird I thought to myself while smiling and nodding politely. I was a fool and this is absolutely amazing. It's everything that a carrot should and could be, but it's an eau de vie. It is the very essence of carrot, a study of carrot, a thesis on carrots written by a Professor of Carrotology. It's absolutely bizarre and yet at the same time makes complete and absolute sense. It is carrot, and my life will never be the same. Serve neat, chilled if you prefer and get ready to go for a wild experiential ride.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2012 Bollinger "La Grande Année" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
Wow, this was one heck of a treat. This was absolutely gorgeous out of the gate with a floral and citrus-y nose that enticed me in from the start. The palate was full of ripe and crisp apples and that delightful brioche-y quality with a finish that had just the softest hint of grapefruit zest and pith. I'm excited to see how this Champagne ages, and is an easy recommendation on a great Champagne to stock up on to lay down.

2014 Louise Brison Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
While Champagnes are in different styles and appeal to different palates, I've found this Louise Brison Brut to be something that everyone can enjoy so far. The nose is rich and slightly lees-y, with generous fruit and the palate is clean and crisp with a delicious driving acidity and minerality that make this an absolutely incredible value. I'm astounded again and again at the quality of wines that we have here at K&L and the affordability of them. Do yourself a favor and grab a bottle of this.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
The second Baron-Fuente "Esprit" that I recently tasted - This Champagne, as opposed to its leaner cousin, does receive a dosage. With seven years on the lees, this is an amazing value for the price. Just think about the time that has been invested into this wine before it even gets to you, and yet it's under $40. With an easy-drinking mouthfeel and still brisk acidity, this Champagne invites sip after sip, and at under $40 a bottle. It's an astronomical deal, especially when you think about the work and effort that went into producing this wine. The nose is rich and inviting with baked apples and lemon candy, the palate is clean and ends with just enough acid to make you yearn for your next sip.

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Nature Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
The Brut Nature from Baron-Fuente is a racy and delicious little acid-bomb of a Champagne that manages to not come across too austere or overly acidified. The extra time that the Champagne has spent on the lees has softened and complexified the palate into something special. The lack of dosage does mean that this is exceptionally crisp and cleansing on the palate, but there's a delicious and creamy core of toast and rich tropical notes to be found. This is the kind of Champagne that is easy to pair with and a joy in the glass.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
As the lowest cost Champagne that we have, this can safely be called a budget entry into that wide and effervescent world. A double whammy of being easy on your wallet while satisfying your palate makes this a no-brainer buy for people looking for a little bit of bubbly. Clean and toasty with a classic nose. Apple and pear on the palate with a finish that has lemon zest and hints of stone fruit. This is an incredible value for a Champagne of this caliber.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

More Favorites

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2019 Tatomer "Hinter de Mauer" Central Coast White Blend ($14.99)