K&L California Whisk(e)y News – September 2016 – Whisky News


We’re moving deep into whisky season now that September is here! I hope you’re all in the mood for whisky drinkin’ because we’re going to have plenty of whisky coming your way over the next few months. Take a look at what just came in:


It’s been a while since we bottled a cask of single malt whisky under our exclusive Faultline label, but in conjunction with our friends at Seven Grand in LA, we decided to co-purchase a barrel of Caol Ila and do a little co-branding. Keeping true with our tradition, we brought in another local artist to do the label. Linh Do, who posts her incredible whisky-related artwork on Instagram as “whiskyanorach,” created this maritime-inspired image for our Islay delight. Rum barrel-aged Caol Ila definitely reminds one of the sea! The nose is an explosion of both freshly-cut and burnt peat, mixed with a little sea breeze. The rum influence comes later on the palate as a subtle sweet highlight to a classically Caol Ila profile of creamy fruit and bright smoke. The finish flutters with a flurry of fresh baking spices before morphing back into a phenolic frenzy. Nothing about this whisky feels overtly powerful or brash despite the 58% ABV. Everything about this Faultline Caol Ila moves as gently as the wind and waves upon a mellow, rum-soaked sea. Only 261 bottles were tapped from this barrel and a large portion of those went to Seven Grand’s back bar. Available for a limited time only!


2009 Caol Ila 6 Year Old “Faultline/Seven Grand” Single Rum Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky $69.99



The great Japanese whisky awakening has left the country’s most prominent distillers scrambling to find the supply to satisfy today’s demand. Nikka’s first two single malt offerings in the U.S., a 15 year old Yoichi and a 12 year Miyagikyo, were discontinued last year after the company realized its stocks were not sufficient enough to satiate the public’s thirst. Rather than move away from single malts entirely, Nikka went back to the drawing board and crafted two generic single malt offerings, simply called Yoichi and Miyagikyo, allowing for more flexibility seeing there would be no minimum age requirement to struggle against. While skeptics may see the move as a step backward in terms of quality, I can promise you that true Japanese whisky fans will be thrilled by both of these whiskies. They’re fantastic in that: 1) they’re both delicious, and 2) textbook Japanese in every way. The grace and beauty of these new distillery editions showcases not only Nikka’s tremendous blending skills, but also the inherent character of these whiskies. They have an elegance that we just don’t see from Scotland. I bought one of each immediately after tasting. My notes are as follows:

Nikka “Yoichi” Japanese Single Malt Whisky $79.99

Nikka’s latest release from Yoichi distillery no longer carries an age statement, but it does bring a classically Japanese whisky profile back to the market. All the delicacy, grace, and subtle complexity is alive and well in this release, buried deeply into a whisper of malt for those who take the time to let it be heard. The first sip is almost ghostly, but it’s the second and third return that yield the slightest hint of peat smoke, the creamiest of malts, and the lovely roundness of sweet stonefruit. This is textbook Japanese whisky: a flavor reserved so as not to overwhelm potential food pairings like sushi or other delicate offerings, yet a wonderful depth of flavor done with the slightest of hands. Yoichi is located on Japan’s Hokkaido island where such food pairings are prevalent. It’s definitely a single malt with a sense of place.The gentle smell and flavor of the sea linger long on the finish.

Nikka “Miyagikyo” Japanese Single Malt Whisky $79.99

Nikka’s Miyagikyo distillery is back on the market with a fantastic new offering that doesn’t disclose the age, but has no problem disclosing serious flavor. The sherry integration of the whisky is utterly marvelous. It’s clearly marked by classic notes of fudge, fruitcake, and toffee, but all three profiles are so harmonious and fluid that it’s difficult to hold on to them for more than a second. Nikka’s whiskies are always delicate and feminine in style, and this malt is no different. The beauty is what stuns you, rather than the power or the concentration. The finish is a wonderful symphony of toasted almonds, cherry, and Oloroso richness. The new Miyagikyo should captivate an entirely new following for Nikka’s second distillery.



As the amaro renaissance continues to heat up, we’re now seeing some local California players enter the market with fantastic results. Amaro Bilaro is made in Sebastopol from a locally-distilled grape base and thirteen different herbs and botanicals by a husband and wife team based in Sonoma. Some of those herbs are grown right in their own backyard, while others like gentian are sourced. The result is a strikingly savory amaro that definitely brings more of the bitter than the sweet side of the spirit. Myrrh, bitter orange, cinnamon, and as well as mint and rosemary combine into a fantastic harmony that’s all California, while remaining Italian at heart. For those looking for a drier, more cocktail friendly amaro, this one’s for you! Amaro Bilaro $44.99



Now that’s it almost Fall, we’re getting our Fall allocations of the rare American whiskies you love to love! Our favorite San Francisco rye whiskey is back in ample supply, so take advantage of our full shelves while they’re still full!

Old Potrero Single Malt 18th Century Style Whiskey $69.99

Francisco’s Potrero Hill, from a mash of 100% rye malt. Rye was the grain of choice for America’s first distillers, and using a mash of 100% rye malt produces a uniquely American whiskey. Aging in handmade oak barrels–lightly toasted in the traditional manner–imparts a wonderfully subtle flavor to this 18th-century-style American whiskey. (In the 18th century, barrels were made by heating the staves over a fire of oak chips, allowing them to be bent and formed into a barrel shape. During this process, the inside of the barrel would become toasted–but not charred.) For aging, Anchor chose several uncharred oak barrels–both new and used–to achieve the balanced complexity that complements this whiskey’s unique heritage.

Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey $69.99

The new release of Anchor’s highly sought-after straight rye. Bottled at slightly higher proof this year, but, as usual, this whiskey was aged for 3.5 years in new charred oak barrels. Very limited.

That’s it for today! Stay tuned, however, as we’ve got plenty more coming! David Driscoll K&L Spirits Buyer daviddriscoll@klwines.com 650.556.2736 http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com


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