Ultra-Mature K&L Exclusive Islay Single Malts: Bunnahabhain & Caol Ila -Scotch Malt Whisky

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We’ve been waiting for just the right day to release the last two whiskies from our most recent container of Scotch whisky. The drizzle is finally coming down outside, the Fall weather is beginning to encroach, and the time is right for ultra-mature, warming and robust Islay whisky. The island of Islay is the spiritual home of whisky. It’s Scotland’s Mecca for single malt pilgrims who travel around the world to visit the legendary whisky locale. But no one wants to think about sipping an old, complex, and smoky glass of 35 year old Caol Ila when it’s 92 degrees outside and the sun is shining. You drink old Caol Ila when the skies are grey, the air is crisp, and you need that bit of Islay warmth to lift your spirits after a day of winter weather. Islay itself is a region weathered by the elements. It’s windy, and rugged, and heavily shaped by the surrounding sea. Over time, that environment has shaped both its residents and its whiskies as well. After spending decades in oak barrels, these two Islay whiskies are finally ready to show you their splendor. Those looking to get an early start on the holiday shopping season will want to act quickly. Ultra-mature Islay whiskies are enough of a rarity these days as is, let alone at reasonable prices like these. The weakened British Pound definitely helped us work down the costs. When you deal with merchants like us who buy direct, you get the benefit of the currency exchange (so long as they pass it on to you like we do). In this case, you can enjoy true single malt luxury for prices that are much more reasonable than what the general market is currently offering. Quantities are extremely limited, however; especially in older casks like these where the volume has evaporated over time. If you or a loved one is a fan of Islay whisky, you won’t want to miss these.

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1987 Bunnahabhain 28 Year Old “Hunter Laing Old & Rare” Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml) $199.99 While peated whisky fans will fawn over the 35 year old Caol Ila we’re releasing in tandem here, the Bunnahabhain 28 year is the whisky for those who love nuance and restraint. There’s no heavy smoke to be inhaled in this jewel of a single malt. There’s little smoke, whatsoever, actually. This ancient Islay whisky has everything we love about the standard Bunnahabhain 18, just with an additional ten years in wood and a drinkable cask strength proof of 49.1%. There’s that earthy, resinous stonefruit on the palate that we love so much; a creamy and supple texture that haunts your senses. The salted caramel comes in later, washing over the back of the mouth like a wave off the coast of the sea nearby the distillery. Considering the standard edition Bunnahabhain 25 was released earlier this year for a whopping $900 per bottle, our direct import program comes out looking great with this release. For $700 less you get three additional years and an unfiltered, undiluted purity. Fans of Islay whisky will be thrilled with the complexity and the value. Fans of whisky in general should consider grabbing more than one of these. Unfortunately, however, the older the cask, the more the evaporation. There’s less than 200 total bottles of this beauty. We recommend grabbing one quickly.

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1980 Caol Ila 35 Year Old “Hunter Laing Old & Rare” Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky (750ml) $349.99 We’ve bought a number of amazing Caol Ila casks over the years, some at just five years of age and others at more than thirty, but there are two things we can say about this particular cask of Caol Ila: we’ve never had one this old and we’ve never had one this well-priced considering the market. Experienced whisky drinkers compare old Caol Ila to old Port Ellen, that elusive and rare Islay distillery now selling for thousands of dollars per bottle. While Diageo just released the 11th edition this past year, a 35 year old cask strength expression of pure peated splendor, it will run you at least three grand. With this cask strength Caol Ila, we’re offering you a whisky that’s just as delicious (if not as rare) for about ten percent of that price. If you’re looking for decadent Islay goodness, you’ve got it all here. It’s oily, resinous, round on the palate, thick with brandied fruit, but oh so ashy, smoky, salty, and peaty. It’s sweet and then it’s savory. It’s bright, but then it’s heavy. It’s easy to drink, yet utterly complex. It’s the entire package and it comes just in time for the holidays when gifts like this are greatly appreciated by savvy drinkers. We’ve waited until the end of our most recent container to release this beauty to the world. There are less than 130 bottles available at 56.3% cask strength. Don’t let our reasonable price fool you: if you or someone you know likes smoky whisky, this is about as high end as it gets.

David Driscoll

K&L Spirits Buyer daviddriscoll@klwines.com 650-556-2736

http://spiritsjournal.klwines.com

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