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Staff Favorites - David Othenin-Girard

David Othenin-Girard
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Reviews

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Arran Machrie Moor Cask Strength Peated Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-01-2020
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 the 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 apples skin, crushed oyster shell, bits of citrus and . 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

Arran "The Bothy" Quarter Cask, Cask Strength Single Malt 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

2013 Fuenteseca Huerta Singular "El Maguey" Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 07-29-2020
Agave is the magical near mythical thing. No other product (save for the ultra expensive European Eau-de-Vie) can be superlatively good without any intervention or additions from the distiller. What other white spirit with no flavorings or additives is as delicious or complex? A challenge you to find my anything comparable. And within that frame work no product exhibits more purity and expressiveness of terroir than this incredible single field tequila. Rested for several years before bottling, the result is an absolutely unparalleled experience, which extorts the senses and boggles the mind. I'm not going to bother trying to describe how this tastes, but if you love spirits and don't own a bottle you will eventually regret it!
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

1990 Invergordon 29 Year Old "Barrel to Bottle" Single 1st Refill Tennessee Whiskey Barrel #45090 Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-23-2020
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 the really nicely 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, baked apple. Both on the palate far surpass the relatively restrained noses. #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 #45981 Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-23-2020
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 the really nicely 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, baked apple. Both on the palate far surpass the relatively restrained noses. #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

1998 Port Dundas 21 Year Old "Barrel to Bottle" Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-23-2020
I'm absolutely in love with this selection from the team behind Barrel to Bottle. I'm also a bit jealous that they get access to these special stocks directly from one of the big boys in Scotland, but honored they thought of K&L as the right store to partner with on these special product. This Port Dundas is the best I've had from the distillery since the incredible sherried Port Dundas 36 year bottled by Sovereign years ago. We so rarely see sherry on grain that the last time we saw a dark sherry single grain was a Single Cask Nation Cameronbridge 26 year. That one sold for over $200. I thought they were joking, but they were dead serious. And that whisky sold, but this one is twice as good for half the price. Let's have a look. The color is deep copper. The nose starts with a red fruit, dark old wood, roasted vanilla bean, dried plum and toasted clove. On the palate, it's got a full rancio character with plenty of nuttiness, powerful vanilla extract, baked apple and banana. Medium to full bodied and pretty oily for a grain, i thought this one went a little dumb with a drop of water adding astringency that's not there at full strength. But if you keep adding 10 or 20 more drops, it returns to equilibrium and offers more obvious sherry on the nose, a beautiful creamy texture and tons of spice on the back end. An altogether exciting addition to the grain category.
Price: $99.99 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

2006 Balblair 13 Year Old K&L Exclusive Cask No. 76 Single Spanish Oak Oloroso Seasoned Butt Cask Strength Single Cask Highland Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 07-09-2020
The wonderful Balblair Distillery remains more or less unsung except for a few lucky drinkers who go out of their way to find releases from this special distillery. Gordon & Macphail has also bottled a number of extremely high quality casks, as well as include the line in it's wonderful "Distillery Label" series. Our first cask of Bablair came last year with the opening up from most of the Inver House Distilleries to this new wave of OB Single Cask bottlings we're currently seeing. So we thought it appropriate to see the distillery and traveled to the very north of Scotland to meet Distillery Manager John Macdonald. He's good fun and a wealth of knowledge, but the real star of the day was this awesome casks from 2006. There were some older whiskies on offer that day, but this bad boy checked all the boxes and amazingly the distillery honored the pre-tariff pricing that was agreed upon when we ordered back in Spring of 2019. Let's see how it tastes. Color: Auburn. Nose: It starts a bit subtle, which is a surprise considering the color. With some air we start to take off! Graham crackers, christmas cake, sandalwood, coffee caramel candy, burnt seville orange peel and english breakfast. Palate: Full bodied. Weight round oily. Up front dried golden raisins, roasted almonds, building clove and touches of pepper. Long, lingering, warming spice builds on the finish. A tiny drop of water opens the nose, but retains the a similar profile. Adding red fruits, cherries and currents, one the palate we've totally opened up. The spice is turned down a bit with the caramel and dark cherry coming through up front. As it travels tons of sweet orchard fruits -apricots, plums and poached pears- come through. Extremely open and drinkable after a drop of water, but never dropping the bold complexity and unbelievable texture. This is probably a sleeper considering how few people understand the potential of this great distillery, but few sherried malts will offer so much and cost so little this year. IF the Glendronach 11 year wasn't bold enough for you, than this gorgeous cask will probably suit you perfectly.
Price: $109.99 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1995 L'Encantada 24 Year Old "Lous Pibous #146" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-13-2019
The massive interest in this incredible brand and its flagship property has meant that what once seemed like an endless abundance of casks is already dwindling to a trickle. Where we might have once had the opportunity to walk through the magical warehouse at Couzard-Lasselle and select nearly any barrel, now we are offered a few samples to choose from. But I'm so grateful that we're included in the tiny fraction of the world's population that's able to acquire this unprecedented elixir. There have been few booze finds that have ever compared to the uncovering of this estate and so experiencing a new cask for the first time is always exhilarating. This cask is an absolute monster. Clocking in at 112.8 proof, the nose is so power and rich it's almost scary. On the palate this juice absolutely SCREAMS! It's loud and wild, filled with dense, dark wood tannin and tingly spice, and a rich, unctuous texture. The intensity is on a different level even compared to many of the other casks we've selected, but this underlying sweetness holds it all together. For the first time with one of these insane casks I find that the tiniest drop of good spring water improves the total package, but for those that love George T Stagg or other old ultra high proof spirits, you might not need to turn this one down at all. Neat the nose barrels out of the glass with deep dark aromas of coffee, leather, sandalwood, gentian root, licorice bark, stewed plums, chocolate covered raisins, cedar, hemlock, demerara syrup and sarsaparilla. The first taste is arresting powerful and edge-y, but as it draws through the palate a gorgeous sweetness appears. Powerful spice, sweet fresh tobacco leaf, dates, dark chocolate, old wooden furniture, dark red fruits preserved (lingonberry?), bitter herbs. Profound, powerful, and exhaustingly long. With a tiny splash of water, all the hard edges go away, it looses the oomph but gains an almost whimsical ease. Be careful—this stuff is still 110 proof and it goes down like sweet tea. Hopefully there are more barrels like this one left in that gorgeous chai.
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1976 L'Encantada 42 Year Old "Domaine Le Sablé #19" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 12-12-2019
These old Sables have a very different character than the other two domaines we have in stock right now. Sable only produced a few barrels of brandy in its tenure, but the quality was excellent thanks to the excellent distillery that helped L'Encantada find these stocks. Here instead of new barrels and dry cellars, which tend to extract more tannin and keep alcohol levels high, this brandy spent four decades in an old barrel in a very humid cellar. The result is a totally different style and maybe much closer what many are used to, but still about as unique as anything coming out of the region. The nose is a complex bouquet of flambéed citrus peel, sweet spices, exotic herbs, fresh yellow plums, quince compote, and sugar candies. We worry about bitterness taking over at this age, or wateriness at the lower proof, but neither pitfall exists. Instead, the palate is absolutely filled with an almost clean rancio fruit, hints of old leather and spice, and an unusual freshness despite the age. The whole thing is really lifted and inviting, not stodgy or esoteric. Probably the easiest of the three casks to love and the right choice for an Armagnac beginner, but with enough texture and depth the hold even the most grizzled lover of Gascogne's greatest at attention.
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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

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 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.
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