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

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

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

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: Hidden View Price

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

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

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

Four Pillars "Faultline" K&L Exclusive 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: $99.99 Add To Cart

2001 Ben Nevis 18 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-04-2019
The wonderful Ben Nevis Distillery has become a staple in Whisky Season. Not only does it seem to be available, but almost every cask we taste has something to love. Last year it we bought two, a young bourbon barrel from Signatory and a fabulous sherry butt from Old Malt Cask. Now we've come back with this insanely delicious expression that falls right between those two in age and style. The wonderful Nevis malt tends to have this gorgeous fruity funkiness that can be somewhat divisive, but in this case I think it's restrained enough to appeal to even the most sensitive noses. Give it a little air in the glass before you get in there. The nose shows some wonderful petrol quality (is it Pfalz?), behind that bouquet of dried herbs, sultanas, salted nuts, lemon peel and earthy malt. The palate is spice and sweet at the same time, with a lemon custard, black pepper, crunchy stoniness and a bright lifted finish. Like ALL our cask strength offerings, the splash of water should be ubiquitous now. It almost never ruins things and, in this case, takes this malt to a whole new level, but instead of shifting the flavor profile it just heightens and rounds the edges perfectly - maybe it's a bit less petrol and much more lemon. The palate is just shimmering now. Still plenty of zesty zip, chalky mineral and pepper which I love, but now with a honeyed quality that was missing at full strength. A real Nevis-y one here that leaves you smell the empty glass longingly.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

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

2013 Bowmore 5 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-26-2019
Our little experiment with young Islay malts continues. I was a little concerned when we saw young Bowmore because we tend to think of the very heavy peaters as working better at these ages and Bowmore is a bit more restrained on the phenols than some others. My worries were totally unfounded and we've already got some real complexity in the spirit without the newmake-y feeling that a none peater has at five years. Instead expect and classic nose of tropical fruit, salted fish, diesel engine, salt meadows and grass. On the palate the peat really turns up offering powerful smoke, numbing bitter herbs, subtle citrus and tropical fruits and salt. With a big splash of water we're into a much more delicate range with the salty fish turning to salty fruit, more citrus and more peaches. On the palate the big rich oily peat still dominates with lemon preserves and bright mineral qualities sharing the stage. An absolutely incredible value considering how delicious this is. You'll probably end up cutting it significantly at 61% so it's like buying a bottle and a half of blue chip peated malt for $45! What an absolute shock.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

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

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

Glen Moray 23 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-22-2019
Glen Moray (pronounced Murray) is a great little distillery outside of Elgin that's got a small following who really love it's floral style. On paper this malt is the best deal of 2019, but in the glass is out performs the price point while staying true to the distillery style. As per usual this needs a splash to get going as it's very closed, nearly mute, straight out of the bottle. Once you've given it a push the nose is a gorgeous bouquet of white and yellow flowers, ripe apricots skins, zippy minerality and cracked walnut shells. On the palate is sugar cookies, pine, peppermint and persimmon (the good kind). Linear and very lively, this is the best a naked Moray has tasted in a long while in my book.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

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

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

2007 Dailuaine 12 Year Old "Old Particular" Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-22-2019
Dailuaine is another one of these great Diageo properties that's been left out of the conversation for so long. We've had some fun Dailuaine's in the past but never something in first fill sherry. This isn't one of those ultra dark ones, but there's no denying the exquisite influence this lovely sherry cask has had on the mild little single malt located just outside of Aberlour. The nose begins with a huge wild honey note, behind that hints of espresso bean and roasted nuts. The palate is very rich and oily, sweet dried fruits and spice. With water this becomes rather exotic - mango, ginger, harissa, clove, bay and savory hints of leather, antique wood and anis. Still big and oily on the palate with with this exotic bouquet expanding over the palate indefinitely. An undeniable sweetness, that doesn't make me think PX, but maybe some type of old Palo Cortado or fine Moscatel. For everyone that's disappointed it's not some ultra dark bomb, I challenge you to open a bottle and tell me this isn't THE BOMB. Absolutely unique, perfectly balanced and undeniably delicious by any measure.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

Tamdhu 19 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-22-2019
More incredibly affordable mature whisky from Old Malt Cask here. Now we're onto one of Speysides hidden heros. The Tamdhu name is being brought back by Ian Macloed in a big way. There 12 year old is nearly the same price as this special whisky and they're insisting on only releasing sherried version of this lovely whisky. Of course, sometimes we actually want to see what something tastes like and in particular when we know they taste so good, like Tamdhu. This lovely expressive malt is somewhat closed and restrained at first. Butter and apples on the nose, some fresh nuts as well. Sweet malt and a medium bodied on the palate. Like so many of these great cask strength bottlings, a splash of water is truly a requirement for full enjoyment. Now we have this explosive nose of honeysuckle, ripe pineapple, sugar candies, fresh bay and agave syrup. ON the palate it rich and filled with sweetness and finesse. Creamy and round it can only be described as chuggable. Too round, too clean, too easy. Absolutely impeccable spirit. Do not forget that you want more than a drop of water here otherwise you'll be left with a very mild and restrained Tamdhu.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Glengoyne 21 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-22-2019
This is a cask that's already gotten a lot of attention thanks to the trendy name and hot price. I often thing of Glengoyne as rather delicate, but to be honest we don't see the malt a full force in this age without a lot of sherry around it so we were surprised by this powerful little cask. The maltiness of this whisky is undeniable. If someone wants to know the aromas of malt, grab this little guy and lock those taste memories in. On the nose it's pure roasted malt pointed with fresh walnuts, lemony tea, and bright red fruit. The palate is dark and grainy with hints of vanilla and a sharp cherry note. What seems a bit obtuse at first, changes completely with a hefty dollop of water. Now the nose has more nuts, more cherries, more lemon - a near complete turn around. On the palate the dark roasty malt is still present and it remains relatively dry, but the added fruit makes it all seem very breakfast-y. And absolutely top notch spirit in a enigmatic and exciting form.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

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

1991 Cameronbridge 27 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-21-2019
This delectable little single grain is easily one of the most exciting we've bottled to date and I argue compares favorable to the very old stuff for 3-4 times the price. The problem with grain whisky is that generally it goes into casks that don't have much to say, since it's a much less complex spirit than single malt, the result is something that doesn't have much to say until it's very old. But here we have a little more than your typical 4th fill hoggie. Of course, we're not talking a big bold sherry bomb, but the influence of the cask is undeniable and unusual for grains of this age. Instead of the simple creamy easy nose, we've got added depth, a savory complexity that's almost never present in single grain. With water, there's gorgeous wild flowers, bright plummy fruit, lemon grass, hyssop, very fresh and very herbal. On the palate the texture is medium. The creamy coconut qualities of grains is evident, but also some rummy notes and a feeling of old brandy. No doubt that this is an usual and exciting expression and we hope to see more grain whisky in sherry. This one loves a good dollop of water to soften up and bring fruity grain out.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2003 Benrinnes 15 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-21-2019
We've been on a bit of a Benrinnes bender these last few years. It's just really hard to argue with the quality of this spirit and the value these incredible casks are able to offer. Last years 10 year sold well at $50, but that was distilled after the distillery flipped to it's new double distillation system. It's hard to tell whether it's the added age or the old way of distilling that sets this one significantly apart from last years, but we've definitely graduated to the next level here. This cask is an absolute gem, especially if you love fruity spirit driven malts, rather than the cask driven. The nose is a lovely mixture of cake frosting, ripe Mirabelle, touches of underbrush and sugar cookies. On the palate sweet malt, slight grassy notes frame the lovely freshness and pure fruit perfect. With water the intensity of the crystalline fruit is heightened, rich juice and textured. This is one of the cleanest easiest drinking malts in the shop right now. Too easy to drink and perfect for anyone, whether expect or a novice looking to have their first cask strength dram.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

1995 Clynelish 23 Year Old "Signatory Vintage Black Label" K&L Exclusive Single 2nd Fill Sherry Butt #11239 Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-21-2019
There's little dispute that Clynelish is one of Scotland's best distillers. There's something ethereal and otherworldly about this spirit, even in their most pedestrian offerings. But unless you're a real hunter, searching for the great independently bottled casks that dot the shelves of world's finest bars and retail shops, you've likely had limited experience with this amazing malt. We've only been offered Clynelish a few times in our history and we've never passed up an opportunity to bottle it. It's hard to remember a cask coming anywhere close to the superlative quality of this second fill sherry butt. Even the magical 21 year old Sovereign wax top, which perhaps highlights the quality of the spirit more obviously, doesn't achieve the incredible intensity and depth of this unprecedented butt. Clynelish is a powerful malt. It can sometimes feel overwhelming or too loud. Especially when paired with something as overt as a sherry butt. But when we found this barrel, one of the final available in the Signatory warehouses, we were prepared to pay whatever it took to get these bottles here. What's most incredible about this special whisky is that the distinct distillery character still shines through behind the obvious sherry influence. The butt in question was objectively one of the most impressive we've ever seen. Deep dark mahogany, very thick and obviously very very old. And the whisky is significantly dark in bottle than I'd expected it to be. One tiny whiff and you're transported directly to the banks of the North Sea, cold salty air whipping across your exposed face. Deep and profound like the ocean itself, this whisky exists as a relic of a previous era. Immediately, we've entered the dark damp warehouse, moss, the finest fresh tobacco leaves, old leather, beeswax, wild honey, whiffs of almond butter, sweet crunch caramel tuiles, cinnamon poached pear, roasted herbs, black tea. On the palate rich, almost chewy in texture. Bold savory saltiness coming through and the ripest orchard fruit. More leather, machined metal, pure dark chocolate, exotic mahogany, big spices. Something like stepping into a 1937 Rolls Royce Phantom and eating the thing piece by piece from the inside out. With a bit of water, the big rich stone fruit comes out in front of the savory notes. Still on the palate the saltiness is absolutely unquestionable. Bold spice, rich in weight and completely overwhelming textually. Only the tiniest bit of water if any is really needed. This one loves air. The total package here. I don't expect to see many more whiskies of this caliber in our future. Without a doubt the Single Malt of the year for me.
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart

2007 Glenlivet 12 Year Old "Signatory Unchillfiltered Collection" 1st Fill Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-21-2019
Another absolutely spot on cask of Glenlivet aged for 12 perfect years in 1st fill sherry. Here we have a relatively different style than the last cask which had much more coffee, toffee and astringent oak. The nose on this pristine barrel is pure buttery oloroso, vanilla extract, nutty dried plums and apricots. Again on the palate it's big but sweeter and rounder than the last cask. It still absolutely loves water. With water now we're approaching the absolute limits of finesse. Aromas of exotic teas, candied sultanas, expensive spices, cigar box, roasted dark malt and a bold spice that perks up in the back end. While this one loves water like its sibling, here we only need a tiny splash and ten minutes with air to achieve full potential. An absolutely dreamy cask of 'Livet that's acts as a lovely counterpoint to the previous barrel.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

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

Laphroaig 20 Year Old "Sovereign Wax Top" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-20-2019
Sometimes we forget about how special old Islay whisky can be simply because it seems to barely exist. When we do see something more than 18 years old, it tends to be astronomically expensive. We loved the Ardbeg Twenty Somethings, but dang those prices are high. Laphroaig doesn't really do much in this age range, having discontinued the 18 year and proofed down the older offerings. So we're stuck with the independently bottled stocks. Funny thing, just like Ardbeg, Laphroaig has decided that they're not going to sell a single drop of whisky to anyone else without declassifying it (teaspooned or otherwise). That means that our suppliers have no way to replenish their stocks of Islay's most distinctive malt. Prices are now absolutely bonkers. The same, albeit delicious, '98 Laphroaig's from Signatory that we sold for $160 at 15 years of age are now 21-years-old and selling for $700+. But somehow we acquired this old stock bottled 2 years ago and the prices simply didn't change. The result is a perfect old Laphroaig at a retro price point. Yes it's still VERY expensive, but there's absolutely nothing available anywhere close to this quality on the market today. This is no modern Laphroaig by the way. Expect the linear medicinal peat to be a bit tamed due to the age, but still tons of complex smoky flavors and more. Camphor, tar, diesel engine, lime, dried salted meat, fresh pirellis. On the palate the peat is still front and center, sweet herbs, salted herring, capers, kombu, lemon sauce, spices. With water we're opening the nose quite a lot. Big lemon component taking hold here. Green olives, salt spray, meringue, tropical plants. On the palate there's still plenty of peat, but it's relinquished it's strong hold, now salted fruits, salted nuts, salted fish. It's salty! Billowing ashy smoke in the background somehow it still feels clean. White pepper, ginger powder, sweet roots, lemon tea on the long sublime finish. Just a massive classic old Laphroaig. One that might turn the most jaded peat hater into a believer or convince the staunchest proponent of young punchy peaters that old Islay is still king. Only 96 bottles available.
Price: $299.99 Add To Cart

Highland Park 21 Year Old "Sovereign Wax Top" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-20-2019
I have to be honest here, there are tons of Highland Parks on the market right now, but I guarantee none of them actually include the words on the label. That's because at some point in the last few years, the distillery dumped a huge quantity of stock (barrels from single production days vatted together to keep birthdays similar) and sold it off as unnamed Orkney stocks. Some of these stocks are very good and lots of them are just ok. Some of those stocks are also very affordable, while others are absolutely outrageously expensive, almost comically so. But, NO one is trying to sell us named Highland Park anymore. We've been lucky to have the Laings in our corner and last year's Old Particular 20 year was an extremely well liked and successful cask. The same whisky from Douglas Laing this year just one year older is costing 40% more per bottle. We'll probably have to pass. Yet somehow we've been able to get Hunter Laing to bottle an HP one year older than last year's OP at the exact same shelf price. Like many of the Hunter Laing Old & Rare, these casks are extremely small, split up between markets to stretch the goodwill they garner. While these stocks (and all the Sovereign Wax Top) were once intended for the well regarded Hunter Laing Old & Rare line, we've agreed to use this packaging so a national importer might have the option to use the other. We don't care about the bottle so much in the end as long as the juice inside is out of this world. Needless to say this whisky lives up to the expectations. The nose is crystalline and perfectly apportioned. Bold mineral, tangy citrus, chalk, saline, bright pure malt, slight mossy undertone. With water (only a drop please) even more chalk, sweet stewed pear, benedictine, tropical fruit and fresh rain on rocks. An HP for the Burgundy lover in all of us.
Price: $299.99 Add To Cart

Clynelish 21 Year Old "Sovereign Wax Top" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-20-2019
To say that I'm partial to this distillery would be an understatement. Clynelish is right up there with me with all of Scotland's finest. Let's be honest, not all malt is equal. Some distilleries just simply make better whisky more consistently. That's not a linear equation but is the function of a number of factors that happen to favor certain makes. Of course, we find legends among the lesser distillates and we also have far less access to many of the great malts in terms of bottling single cask. But my partiality toward Clynelish doesn't make me more likely to purchase a cask from the distillery. In fact, it has made me much more skeptical. Over the last few years, what was once relatively available older "affordable" Clyenlish has all but disappeared. While the occasional sample came around were either not up to snuff or completely outrageous in terms of cost. But when we tasted this special hogshead of Brora's finest, we couldn't let it out of our grasp. Of course, the whisky is more expensive than casks we might have sold 4 or 5 years ago of a similar age but also, it's simply more delicious. This Clynelish reminds me of a magnificent geode. Other worldly, yet a product of nature. Chiseled and shimmering, yet somehow wild and unruly. It's smooth facets and complex structure and of course it's unprecedented beauty. The nose offers classic Clynelish, but not too the point of being all candles. The wax is there, but framed by stunning Fuji apple, fresh herbs, forest floor, old leather and salted apricots. With some water, we're getting pretty waxy! Carnauba and leather, sweet baked apples and fresh tobacco leaf. On the palate, this stuff is softer than even the nose had alluded. But it doesn't lag at all on flavor. Fresh mint, dusty auto parts, sweet tea, anise, camphor, crayons, butterscotch, shiso, marmalade etc. With or without water you're going to do great here. While this isn't one of those whiskies that's so cheap people won't be able to stop themselves, it does represent one of the finest examples of top tier Highland single malt we've had in a long time. There's absolutely nothing else in this price point or style on the market today and those who pass on this one will regret it deeply going forward.
Price: $299.99 Add To Cart

Springbank 22 Year Old "Sovereign Wax Top" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-20-2019
I was absolutely obsessed with the magical 22 year old Springbank we sold last year. That special cask only turned out 78 bottles and I was under the impression that the rest had gone to Europe. Now I'm not so sure. When Hunter Laing said they had another 108 bottles of 22 year old Springbank, they couldn't confirm that it wasn't the exact same. Upon tasting it there's almost no doubt that this is either the same cask or a sister cask of very similar quality. It's a pretty weird thing to have happen, especially when Scotland is being tight lipped about it, but I'm not complaining or questioning it for one second. I think I called last years whisky, "a living legend in our midst." It's sounds like hyperbole, but this is truly one of the finest modern Springbank I've ever tasted. Very much in the old style although it begins rather restrained it's packed with layer upon layer of complex flavor. Light peat, camphor, new Jordans, expensive non-scented candles. On the palate surprising big Campbeltown peat. Big smoke, tons of tension. But with just a little tiny smidge of water, the nose explodes from the glass. Soot, cigars, lemons, leather, creosote, fresh tennis balls, quince jam, chamomile, coriander, thujone, more and more keeps coming out. On the palate it's now pure highland peat smoked lemons, menthol, citrus oil, green tea, hints of candied stone fruits, grains of paradise and almost numbing feeling that brings me back to absinthe. The finish is long and lingering, the menthol note keeps coming back with every breath in. This one is emotional. Satisfying to the soul. Exhausting. I'm winded. We keep pointing back at Springbank, there's just nothing like it. The difference between modern whisky and real whisky, the answer is right here.
Price: $399.99 Add To Cart

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel "#19-345" (Rickhouse CN F, Floor 6) K&L Exclusive Kentucky Straight Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2019
This gorgeous barrel, aged for slightly longer than the other two, is what I like to call the dark meat. This is that earthy herbal Turkey, that lacks the overt spicy heat of its siblings, but makes up for it in complexity and aromatic depth. The nose of roasted coffee, candied citrus, birch and old leather. On the palate a black tea, more roasting herbs, sweet wild honey and dried plums. Weirdly the easiest of the three to consumer despite the slightly more restrained flavor profile. Really damn good hooch here.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel "#19-1108" (Rickhouse CN A, Floor 4) K&L Exclusive Kentucky Straight Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2019
It's always interesting to taste two casks that were distilled on the same day and lived in the same warehouse, but some how taste wildly different. Where as the 18-439 seems to have moved into what might be described as a bit of an outlier profile, this is right where I imagine a great barrel of WT at Camp Nelson for 10 years would be. The nose is that great contrast between the sweet cola, singing citrus peel and the dark earthy spice that we know and love from turkey. The palate is rich and textured with less cinnamon than its sister and more roasted spices, sweet bark and earthy pepper. The palate is driven and long with the dark green herbs and menthol taking over. A really serious bottle best for an expert palate.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

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

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

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

1997 Ledaig 21 Year Old "Chieftain's" K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Unchill-filtered 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 Espadin "Batch ESALB01-19" K&L Exclusive (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) [Cannot ship, in store pick up only]
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

Old Potrero "K&L Exclusive Barrel #12" 63.33% Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 10-09-2019
We used to sell out of these single barrel Old Potreros the moment they arrived, but now people have so many options that these tend to get overlooked. Finally, though, the distillery has put together a barrel program that really works. Cask strength, single barrel, and one of the most pleasurable craft spirits anywhere! Sometimes different is actually better, and nowhere is that more clear than what they're doing with the wonderful Old Potrero whiskey. This cask is VERY different from the other. It's even a slight shade lighter in color, and the nose is dominated by big oak spice and earthy malt. The palate brings tons of evergreen, mint, angelica, anise, ginger, and sage. With a bit of water, some more wild honey, but it's bold, prickly spice on display here. We're in total esoterica here. A real treat for those who want a full-throat experience and love earthy spice.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Old Potrero "K&L Exclusive Barrel #13" 63.21% Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 10-09-2019
The famous old craft distiller in Potrero Hill is no longer referred to by its original name, but that doesn't make the juice they're bottling any less arresting. The single malt rye filled into new charred American oak is their most sought-after expression, and it's always been my favorite way to experience the entrancing nuance of the 100% malted rye. The nose explodes with bold Christmas spice and dark red cherry compote. The dense fruit wafts toward sweet lacquer and old, expensive hardwood aromas. On the palate the high proof is somewhat masked by an oiliness that is somewhat the hallmark of Potrero. Big, bold cherries and freshly shaved cassia bark envelope the palate. The texture holds strong, but wood and spice dominate now. With and without water the finish is pure candied cherries. This one is a bit of a cherry bomb, but also a spice bomb and a wood bomb. One large, highly controlled detonation.
Price: $99.99 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

New Riff Bottled-In-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 09-26-2019
Easily one of the most exciting new distillers in KY, and we're proud to be the partner for these incredible products. This isn't your run-of-the-mill craft distillery, this is a proper, modern Kentucky style distillery. It's not a tiny capacity, working on experiments and trying to reinvent the wheel. They're just cranking out great whisky and we're along for the ride. The flagship BIB bourbon is extremely well balanced and proof positive that craft whiskey doesn't need to be old to be delicious. I'm not sure if they're heat-cycling these warehouses, but they are rubbing all the edges of this little gem. A soft nose of sweet tea, deep oak, caramelized orange peel, and hints of earthy maltiness. On the palate it's somewhat tropical, with a strawberry candy front palate building into a strong spice toward the back. It's not a slouch and definitely has a spice backbone that's going to suit lovers of Four Roses or Wild Turkey just fine. Despite the name, New Riff isn't new school at all. Just great classic bourbon from an independent distillery that we're unbelievably lucky to be a part of.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

New Riff "Single Barrel" Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 09-26-2019
While the bottled in bond stuff has proved to be superlative at this new distillery in Northern Kentucky, it will surely be the wonderful single barrels that seal the deal with so many whisky fanatics. These barrels deliver so much depth and complexity, I'm always shocked that we're able to sell them for so little. So few of Kentucky's great distillers are offering us cask strength single barrel and going forward we'll be scouring New Riffs warehouses for the very best cherries. This barrel shows a very different character than the standard BIB right now. The nose explodes out of the glass with exotic aromas: sandalwood and white flowers, grilled stone fruits, and surprisingly low spice on the nose. On the palate here comes the oak spice and vanilla! Long, warming cinnamon, and slight hints of roasted corn. A pretty tidy package filled with tons of flavor and wrapped in a silk ribbon.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2014 Bunnahabhain Staoisha Heavily Peated 4 Year Old "Signatory Unchillfiltered Collection" Dechar/Rechar Cask Strength Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-26-2019
Only four years old and absolutely cranking! The heavy peated Stoaisha is always good, but here we're in a different league than the others we've sold. The addition of the very active oak turns this from a linear malt with just peat and salt into something much more complex. The nose is bold smoke, but with complex wood smoke, sweet vanilla syrup, tiny whiffs of iodine, orange sherbet melting on a diesel engine. The palate, while I was worried that it would be dominated by oak, is the purest peat smoke, sweet roasted almonds, herbs of all kinds, saffron, salted lemon peel, and a slight lanolin quality. With water it's a bit more ozone; lemon peel comes forward and tons of herbs. More nuts and vanilla on the palate, but very fresh. It might be "modern," but it doesn't seem composed or adulterated like so many young malts from the big boys.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Gin (375ml)
Review Date: 08-26-2019
The first time I saw it we were in Scotland. I full on freaked out at a small spirits shop in Edinburgh when I noticed this quirky bottle of gin sitting on the shelf. For years, the Monkey 47 had been unobtanium, a regrettable situation for the knowledgeable and gin soaked. None of us had experienced this legendary gin yet, but thanks to the UK's lax wine shop regulations -the old "taste whatever you like" rule was in full effect. We were soon dunking our noses in a few splashes of its magnificence. I think tasting this after several other gins really put into perspective how special it really is. Created through the confluence of British aesthetics, Indian flavors, and the distinctly Teutonic natural treasure that is the Schwarzwald, The Monkey packs an enormous amount of complexity into that little bottle. It's the sort of gin that will save that cocktail you're about to ruin. You could have just as well served it straight because it sips beautifully even at room temperature. It’s quite a departure from your standard recipe gin, although some familiar elements are layered throughout. There is a strong yet soothing evergreen presence. A keynote if you will, but by no means the only focus. On the nose a dried floral aroma is accented by a twinge of spicy ginger. At the front, what seems like a citrus or chamomile quickly morphs into tea tree and sweet herbs, lemon verbena -now cucumber peel and pepper, it just keeps on going. No point in continuing to describe its flavor, its not working. It has a glorious tendency to be completely different with each sip, a true roller-coaster of flavors. Every single one of its 47 botanicals is tuned to the same perfect frequency. It's wild and utterly fabulous, but not in an awkward way. Instead, it seems to be all very deliberate, even stoic. I gladly forked over the £s the shop was asking, as did my colleagues. We nearly cried when we heard it would finally be arriving stateside.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Gin (1L)
Review Date: 08-26-2019
The first time I saw it we were in Scotland. I full on freaked out at a small spirits shop in Edinburgh when I noticed this quirky bottle of gin sitting on the shelf. For years, the Monkey 47 had been unobtanium, a regrettable situation for the knowledgeable and gin soaked. None of us had experienced this legendary gin yet, but thanks to the UK's lax wine shop regulations -the old "taste whatever you like" rule was in full effect. We were soon dunking our noses in a few splashes of its magnificence. I think tasting this after several other gins really put into perspective how special it really is. Created through the confluence of British aesthetics, Indian flavors, and the distinctly Teutonic natural treasure that is the Schwarzwald, The Monkey packs an enormous amount of complexity into that little bottle. It's the sort of gin that will save that cocktail you're about to ruin. You could have just as well served it straight because it sips beautifully even at room temperature. It’s quite a departure from your standard recipe gin, although some familiar elements are layered throughout. There is a strong yet soothing evergreen presence. A keynote if you will, but by no means the only focus. On the nose a dried floral aroma is accented by a twinge of spicy ginger. At the front, what seems like a citrus or chamomile quickly morphs into tea tree and sweet herbs, lemon verbena -now cucumber peel and pepper, it just keeps on going. No point in continuing to describe its flavor, its not working. It has a glorious tendency to be completely different with each sip, a true roller-coaster of flavors. Every single one of its 47 botanicals is tuned to the same perfect frequency. It's wild and utterly fabulous, but not in an awkward way. Instead, it seems to be all very deliberate, even stoic. I gladly forked over the £s the shop was asking, as did my colleagues. We nearly cried when we heard it would finally be arriving stateside.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Kilkerran (Glengyle) 12 Year Old Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-08-2019
There are few more interesting and important whiskies on the shelf than the wonderful Glengyle Distillery malts. The Kilkerran brand has such an interesting story, basically Springbank's big middle finger to the SWA for trying to screw them out of a regional designation, but what's even more interesting than the origin story are the incredible malts themselves. Many of our customers know and love the idiosyncratic malts distilled just down the road at Springbank. The 12 year old Kilkerran is the perfect example of how slight difference in the process can significantly affect the flavor, texture and character of a whisky. This is essentially a slightly less peated version of the same malt that goes into the classic Springbank. It sees a more modern mashing process and a similar, if slightly cleaner, fermentation in traditional Larch vats. The wash is then distilled on the old Ben Wyvis stills, modified slightly to fit in the stone walls of Glengyle and produce the character of whisky that Mitchell was looking for. Tilted slightly up the spirit produced here has some oiliness but also a purity that is that isn't as obvious at Springbank. This is in many ways my perfect malt whisky. The nose billows out of the glass with sweet citrus, mineral/petrol, powerful herbs and deep clean smokiness. On the palate, it's obviously peated, but not acrid and so wonderfully old school. Chewy texture lemon balm, lanolin, chalk mineral, salted stone fruit and ocean spray. Tangy, structured, long, salty and satisfying as it finishes- there's almost nothing out the quiet like this today.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

Douglas Laing's "The Gauldrons" Batch #1 Limited Edition Campbeltown Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-07-2019
The Remarkable Regional Malts series from Douglas Laing remains one of Scotland's best kept secrets. Ultra high quality single malt blended expertly from some of the country's finest stocks. The result are some of the most seamless and affordable malt whiskies on the market today, but no one stateside seems to have noticed. We continue to get amazing pricing on some of their limited releases and this is one that is exclusive to K&L in California. The nose has a purity of malt that is rare these days. Salty, zesty barley, bright stone fruit, cookie dough, tiny hints of smoldering oak, and barrel spice. Bright, linear, refreshing, and ultra clean on the palate, this is somehow quintessentially Campbeltown in a way that none of the actual single malts of the region capture quite as well. There's none of the Scotia funk or the Springbank peat - instead, just this wonderful tension of fruit, malt, and oak. Bold and linear without a drop of water and after that dangerously quaffable. Be sure to grab it while you can, as there's no telling if we'll ever get more, and certainly never again at this price.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Westward "Single Barrel #B-236-11" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-06-2019
We I visited Portland back in the summer of 2018, I totally blown away by the scale with which House Spirits has committed to their Westward Single Malt. These guys are distilling lots of great whiskey and while other brands constantly release special editions, new expressions and one offs, Westward has devoted itself to one singular product. The results are in the bottle, but I finally convinced them that the world wanted more! After a year of waiting, we finally have it. This insane cask of 6 year old Single Malt bottled at full strength is one of the most interesting things we've ever put into the bottle. I've always been worried about how older American Single Malt would handle the oak, but this cask proves there's no limit to the amount of age, when you start with a robust flavor spirit. On first nosing, you're overwhelmed by deep dark chocolate maltiness. Powerful aromas of roasted hazelnuts, grilled peach, red fruit compote, exotic honey, woodsy underbrush and zesty citrus peel. On the palate it's pure malt framed by dark tea, sweet caramel and powerful spice. But add a few splashes of water and you've got something much more supple and quaffable. Now we move into the gorgeous orchard fruit, honeysuckle, nougat, cracked pepper and subtle herbal under tons. The palate continues with the bright malt, stones fruits and some pepper, but finishes long and warming like a glass of sweet barley tea. I've rarely come across craft single malt this complex and put together. The style is the perfect balance between the bold malt flavors and the heady woodsy aromatics that an American whiskey drinker might love. I don't know if I'd call this a crossover whiskey because it just feels like it should inherently appeal to anyone, but it's certainly one of the most exciting products we have in the store right now.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

Hillrock Estate Solera Aged Single Barrel "#143-A" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-19-2019
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. After many rounds of samples, we found one that captured the incredible intrigue of their standard release, yet turned up volume to a different level. The wine cask influence, something I'm generally averse to in bourbon, is so well integrated and built around such a high quality product that you almost can't pick out their specific complexities. The nose is a powerful bouquet of hardwood, spice box, roasted nut brittle, caramelized stone fruit, hints of graphite, dried leaves, and white pepper. On the palate, sweet black cherries, fresh tobacco leaf, roasting baking spice, wild honey, and burnt orange peel. Big, bold spice coming out on the finish, which is powerful but not at all hot. The is whiskey is like an Hermès tie. It's not flashy or loud, but exudes elegance, class, and above all, good taste. Few American whiskies can match the quality that is being produced at the little farm upstate, but we're extremely excited to see the incredible things they've got planned and proud to partner on this special cask.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart

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