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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 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" 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

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

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel "#18-439" (Rickhouse CN A, Floor 4) K&L Exclusive Kentucky Straight Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 11-07-2019
I think people might finally be catching on to these Russell's. We've struggled previously to get people excited about them, but for the first time our customers are getting out a head of these and picking them off with little to no suggestion on our part. The three barrels we selected this year are truly some of finest yet and represent probably some of the best bourbon we'll sell all year, including the old and rare offerings. This awesome cask spent a year aging at the Tyrone warehouses compared to it's sister 19-0345 which was distilled on the same day and aged on the same floor at Camp Nelson. The nose is a hedonists delight. Sweet muscovado sugar, rich dark cocoa, fine tobacco leaf, expensive spices. On the palate moving toward the baked apple by and tingly cinnamon heat without going full on red hots. This is the real stuff right here. The chewy rich texture is what gets me most with this one, borderline syrupy. An absolute bomb by any measure.
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 Unchill-filtered 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

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) "Heavily Peated" Batch No. 1 Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 08-08-2019
There are few more satisfying malts than the Kilkerran lineup, and the new Heavily Peated is no exception. This guy is peated up to the level of a Longrow, but trucked down the road to the new old stone distillery. Biggest difference here between Longrow and Kilkerran HP are the mash, fermentation times, still shape, and condensers. Despite the high peat level there's a restraint that isn't found in the Longrow products. Perhaps it's the slightly upturned lyne arms or the quicker fermentation, but the peat is hidden slightly behind a kind of salty earthiness. For the nose, expect subtle salted nuts, kippers, old leather armchair, lightly roasted coffee bean, camphor, and quince. The palate is decidedly more peaty, but this stuff doesn't start to really speak until you've doused it a bit. Now a bit more peat and more camphor, pithy lemon peel, purity, and tension. A feeling of being in a harbor with tugs and fish boats coming and going, the ocean roaring outside the break, the Mull of Kintyre in the distance. On the palate, unctuous and oily, but linear and focused. Big sooty smoke, salted fish, exotic herbs, wild fruit, menthol - analgesic, numbing, and delicious. A fabulous ancient style of whisky that has almost no correlate in the modern whisky world.
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

Fukano 10 Year Old K&L Exclusive Single Cask Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-11-2019
We've had several casks of Fukano in the past. Usually the style is very restrained and elegant with more subtlety than intensity. But most of those casks were bottled around 7 years old. It's incredible what 3 additional years in barrel due to this unusual spirit. Gone are the light floral and rice-y aromas, replaced by dense orchard fruit, a sweet concentrated perfume of tropical nectars, clean green aromas of mint, sorrel and anis. The whisky explodes onto the tongue with creamy citrus, cake frosting, brioche and subtle oak spice. Some of the haters denigrate these products for being rice distillates, but I contend that even the most jaded critic would be hard pressed to argue with the pure joy that is captured in the bottle. Yes it might not be whisky in Japan, but it's whisky here and tasted FANTASTIC. Don't be closed minded because this is easily one of the most delicious Japanese Whiskies on the shelf right now. One of only 216 bottles.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2007 Don Q "Limited Edition" Single Barrel Rum 750ml
Review Date: 06-24-2019
Here's a good old fashioned closeout that everyone should take advantage of. We don't do a whole lot of Spanish style rum here at K&L. That's not because we don't like the style, but we feel that the few we stock offer a good cross section of the relatively homogeneous style. A few distillers in the category stand out from the pack and Don Q has always been one of them. It's Puerto Rico's best selling rum and has a long history of exceptionalism. That said their entry level stuff isn't exactly jumping off the shelves in California. But when I tasted the single barrel I knew we had to have it. There's no reason this shouldn't be worth $40 and we did sell it at that price for some time. But at $20, it goes from a good rum at an ok price to one of the best deals in the store from any category. This is "Single Barrel" in the Caribbean sense, meaning one make and barrel type without blending. It's just under 10 years old and is one of those rums you can literally do anything with. Sip it straight, it will appeal to bourbon guys or dark rum drinkers alike. Throw it on the rocks or with a splash of coconut water on a hot day, you'll plow through a bottle in an afternoon. Use it as a base for countless rum classics. It doesn't matter, this stuff makes everything taste good without tons of sticky sugar or caramel coloring. The nose is pure barrel spice, exotic candy, wild honey and maple syrup. The tiniest hints of rum funk let us know that this isn't Kentucky bourbon, but I bet some would have trouble guessing the genre by smell alone. The palate is packed with rich dark flavors of candied tropical fruit, turbinado sugar, chocolate covered raisin and baking spices, but unlike so many of the other light dark -that is to say column distilled, barrel aged- rums it doesn't turn cloyingly sweet on the finish. Instead a big drying oak builds to a pleasurable warming spice on the finish. It seems that the distillery decided to let this little rum speak for itself and for that we thank them. Unquestionably the finest rum deal in the store right now.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

1991 Chateau de Vacquié 27 Year Old Unfiltered Haut-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 05-29-2019
The excellent Chateau de Vacquié Armagnacs are setting a precedent which I'm not sure can be match elsewhere in the Haut-Armagnac. The region, which is not producing significant quantities of brandy, seems to have been nearly forgotten. Yet sitting on a plateau across from the medieval town of Lectoure one of the most spectacular domaines exists in a class unto its own. The proprietor, Bruno Compagnon, is a former fashion retail executive who has used the domaine as a summer home for decades. Over the last 25 years they've committed themselves to producing ultra-high-quality Armagnacs. Bruno has spared no expense in the production of the Armagnacs, enlisting high-end wine consultants and the region's finest distillers. Now decades later, his son Morgan who is an LA film industry insider, is interested in commercializing the stocks. We've selected two excellent vintages to be highlight the diverse offerings from this special domaine. The 1991 is much more fruit forward than the '98. Big notes of stewed peaches, dark tea, high-end cocoa powder and maple syrup. The palate is lifted, but bold with big baking spice and cinnamon. The oolong tea thing comes back on the back end but not enough to bring it into bitter territory. Ultra-decadent and pretty polished. A very approachable yet very complex offering from this new domaine.
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1998 Chateau de Vacquié 20 Year Old Unfiltered Haut-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 05-29-2019
I first heard about the incredible Chateau de Vacquie through a customer, Morgan Compagnon. His father was a wine and brandy producer at small domaine outside of Lectour. I was skeptical simply because the area is well known for not having much good brandy production, but it was just a little detour from my planned visit with L'Encantada that I couldn't resist exploring the area for our first producer from the region. I was expecting a small little farmhouse and when the GPS took me into Lectour I knew I'd made a wrong turn. I met Bruno at the local supermarket and followed him on tiny dirt roads through the hills across the gorge from Lectoure to find one of the most beautiful properties I'd ever seen. Vacquie was a traditional 17th century chateau surrounded by vineyards and pear trees. Not at all the farmhouse I was expecting. Bruno and his wife were inside having an espresso and we sat and talked about what they did and why I was there. Incredibly cosmopolitan and chic, the couple seemed to feed off each other and my excitement for their beautiful property. I spent the next several hours tasting every single vintage we could get our hands on. Bruno was like a kid in a candy store jumping from place to place insisting I try this or that barrel. We ultimately settled on two vintages that I thought represented the best of what the domaine had to offer. The nose on the '98 is packed full of dark dried fruit, bitter herbs, cacao, coffee, anise, gentian and fudge. It's so dark and intense you worry about the palate going bitter, but the opposite is true. Very rich and textured with the perfect amount of wood sugar to keep it balanced. Long spicy peppery and powerful. This is one that should appeal to nearly any drinker of dark spirit although it's likely too intense for the typical Cognac drinker. An absolutely unbelievable value and a welcome entry to our exquisite portfolio of exclusive Armagnac.
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1997 L'Encantada 20 Year Old "Bellair #36" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 05-29-2019
Bellair is a well-regarded estate that have sold brandies via the Darroze brand as well. Encantada, through some personal connections, was able to secure a few casks of various ages, but they're an extremely unique style. While the domaine would normally use very little new oak, they do regularly use extra-large puncheon style foudres and it seems that they purchase a new 600L barrel in the year or two before this special brandy was distilled. The larger size has a completely different effect on the brandy then we're used to showing much stronger oxidation and a more integrated addition of oak tannin. I fell in love with this cask because it offered something completely different from anything else on the shelf. The ultra rancio nuttiness implies and almost sherried quality that very few of the other Encantada offerings show. The heavy oxidation makes us worried that the palate will be out of balance or bitter, yet not of the classic pitfalls exist here. The nose waffles between subtle funk and roasted nuts to nearly Creme de Cassis level fruitiness. Is it bourbon, is it Scotch, is it Brandy? We're in the wilderness here. The deep savory quality takes over on the palate, but because of the larger barrels the oak is not totally overpowering. The frighteningly high proof is totally lost if not for a powerful tingly pepper on the finish. For sure this one is the odd man out among the offerings this year, but it also offers some incredible links that will appeal to many different types of drinkers. Another insane value from our dear friends at Encantada. Like all these brandies, this one loves to take it's time in the glass and really opens up after 30-45 minutes.
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2015 Guido Rivella "Fausoni" Barbaresco
Review Date: 04-27-2019
An absolutely stunning example from this master. While the wine is just a baby right now, it's already showing extreme depth and unparalleled distinction. The 2015 is a scary one for lovers of acidity and structure, due to the heat and ripeness, but Guido has managed to produce a wine of great balance and restraint without losing his signature intensity. An absolute benchmark by any measure and exactly the type of Nebbiolo I like to sink my teeth into.
Price: Hidden View Price
VN 92

2015 Tenuta Roveglia "Vigne di Catullo" Lugana Riserva
Review Date: 04-25-2019
Another absolutely stunning effort from this benchmark Lugana producer. We've worked with Roveglia for years, but every time we pop a bottle it's like I'm trying it for the first time, revelation. These wines love a little bit of age and tend to get huge scores when they're reviewed so get a head of the crowd and stock your cellar full. The nose is explosive aromas of tangerine, creamy sherbet, tropical spice and attractive mineral undertones. The palate is weighty, textured, but lifted. Pungent Amalfi lemon peel, tense just ripened stone fruit and a balancing spice note. The texture is there for anyone who likes to chew their whites a bit, but it never feels overwrought. Just an incredibly satisfying and complex wine that will continue to improve in the cellar for years to come.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom's Foolery Bottled in Bond Single Barrel #150 Ohio Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-07-2019
I used try to look for something from Tom that approximated what you'd expect to get out of Kentucky, but after tasting the 100% ryes that Tom was making I changed my tune. This is is a blend of 70% winter rye and 30% malted rye. The result is one of the headiest and most out there flavor profiles for any whiskey we've ever sold. Out of control aromatics right out of the bottle of fresh mint, pine forest, wet pavement and something slightly barnyardy. The palate is big dry spicy monster with a powerful earthiness and the mint taking over on the finish. This one is not for the faint of heart, but for anyone who knows they love powerful rye or wants to experience what pre-prohibition might have tasted like, this is the a great move. The quality of the whiskey is undeniable even if it might be too much for some to handle.
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Tom's Foolery Cask Strength Single Barrel #121 Ohio Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-07-2019
Another stupendous little bourbon from Tom Herbruck in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The special little distillery outside of Cleveland is part of our portfolio thanks to a fateful visit to my in-laws who live in the area. After tasting grand Plucinsky's homemade "Bailey's" I was feeling a bit saucy and recommended we go check out this craft distillery I'd read had purchased these old still from Michter's. Turns out the "distillery" was just a shed behind Tom's house, but the whiskey was every bit as delicious as I'd heard. This is our third barrel of bourbon from the Herbruck's and represents the smoothest and most "typical" bourbon profile we've yet to release. The intensity of the pot stills comes through while the whiskey is young, but around 5 years old these bourbons seem to real change. The rugged grainy pot still softens into sweet soft aromas of baked apple, barrel spice, burnt orange peel and fresh corn bread. The palate is full sweetness and spice, the thick texture of the bourbon a hallmark of those old potstills. Sweet candy corn, dark chocolate and pointed baking spice (clove and cinnamon especially) are the main show. While we're still not in the same flavor profile as Kentucky, we are moving closer to a traditional bourbon with this one. More reasons why Tom is one of our very favorite American distillers of any kind
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

1995 The Rare Armagnac Collection "Venus" (Domaine de Pouchegu) 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Vintage Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 01-03-2019
One of the most striking things about Pierre Laporte's eau-de-vie is the incredible diversity in flavors the various vintages offer. This special brandy, bottled at an astonishing 56.2% abv, is in a completely different range than it's older sibling. It's a few shades lighter and the aromatics follow suit. Much fresher than the '80, with gorgeous ripe apricot, tropical spices, lacquer box, Seville orange peel, grated ginger. On the palate, the heat, big spice and strong vanilla are in full force. The bold citrus adds and almost acidic tone, which I don't mind, but gave me an idea. I almost never recommend adding water to brandy. It doesn't have the same opening affect that you'd experience on a single malt, but I highly recommend the tiniest dab of water here. If you want to be precise, maybe 6 drops to an oz. The effect is a spirit so much more complex and balanced than the full strength offering and the oily rich texture remains without "breaking" as they sometimes do. Careful as we're really trying not to dilute, as soon as you see the oils reacting stop. After water, the sweet fruit explodes from the glass tempered by a savory almost gamey spice. On the palate the acidity has developed into structure and actually much more spice comes through. If the '80 was an ultra sherried speyside monster, this '95 would be an a sublimely elegant yet totally out there Islander - a totally different story but no less exciting!
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Wathen’s Barrel Proof "Barrel #40 Los Angeles" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 12-29-2018
This absolutely stupendous cask strength bourbon offers so much complexity in such a small package. There's something inherently old school about the Wathen's products and these barrel proof offerings allude to an old style of whisky that might have existed 30 years ago. The nose is a powerful mixture of big sweet toasty oak, ultra ripe nectarines, Tahitian vanilla and old polished wood. The palate has this wonderful gravelly dark forest quality that balances the sweet caramel and ripe fruit in the perfect way. Medium bodied, but a long spicy nutty quality on the finish. These whiskies are so delicious and yet completely idiosyncratic. Not for lovers of super sweet sappy whiskies, but also not completely austere by any means. Overall a feeling of old schoolness that is almost non-existent in cask strength single barrels from any other producer. Easily one of the most exciting and interesting bourbons of 2018...and just in time.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill "Tom Cat" Barrel Aged Old Tom Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 12-28-2018
Caledonia Spirits had me hooked the moment I opened a sample of the outrageous honey they use to make their gin. This veritable nectar of the gods could literally make anything delicious. Now take an ultra high quality gin, age it in good quality oak, and add just enough honey to feel it, but not enough make it particularly sweet and you've got one of the most dangerous concoctions on the market. Aromatically unique, encompassing a huge variety of complex flavors, Barr Hill has created one of the most successful barrel aged gin I've yet come across. Sip it straight or in the place of whiskey in certain spirit driven cocktails.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2006 Isle of Jura 12 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 12-18-2018
Isle of Jura is a bit controversial these days. Several customers have already surprised me with their preconception of this odd little distillery. How did such a gorgeous distillery get a reputation across so many disparate drinkers? There is as well the odd customer saying, "Oh, I LOVE Jura," but the general consensus is that this cask will be eyed with skepticism from some, thanks to some preconceived notion of this malt. Luckily for me, this is the type of casks that can change people’s entire outlook on life. The incredibly oily rich malt of Jura is perfectly suited for a nice refill sherry butt and without the chill-filtration and low proof of the distillery bottlings, we've entered a whole different territory for this wild malt. There's just so much going on here it's hard to even begin to describe it. First nose is all candied apple, sea spray, roasted malt and hints of speedway. Like having a coffee near an F1 race. The malt is big and the sherry character is not obvious. But with air the complexity really explodes. This one demands a touch of water and some time to breath because behind those odd flavors is a plethora of complex flavors. Salted fruit, ozone, fennel, oyster shell and camphor. The palate is surprisingly sweet with some nutty sherry starting to sneak in. With more water ocean spray, but not quite briny. Big black pepper, almond butter, Ruger wafers on the palate. With more air, hazelnut spread on rye. A weird wonderful combo, but strangely delicious. This is one of the most unusual and exciting casks we've ever bottled, but not at all difficult to love just in need of some coaxing. And at this price, I'd hope every serious drinker would consider giving the odd little malt a chance and some time to tell its story.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

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