K&L California Whisky News – Scotch Whisky News


While the recent spate of insanely hot weather might suggest otherwise, Fall is, in fact, just around the corner. And for those of us in the booze business that means it’s time to shift things into high gear. To that end, we’ve been bringing tons of new items and setting up tasting events we’re sure you’ll be thrilled about. Without further ado, let’s see what’s new to the K&L shelves this week…


Old Particular continues to be one of the most exciting brands at K&L. But then, how could it not be? With everything the seasoned whisky lover looks for (quality, price, rarity) they count among the best finds in the spirits world today. Queued up here are a pair of very attractively priced 25 and 20 year old gems from North British and Tamdhu. As you’ve come to expect, they deliver on every level with wonderful rich tones that are aptly counterbalanced by surprising freshness and vivacity. These are glorious bottlings that should go double for what we have them.


1996 Tamdhu 20 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml) ($79.99)

Tamdhu is a classic Speyside distillery that has seen its stock rise over the last few years as its recent owners have rebranded the whisky and focused on the heritage of the facility. Originally founded in 1896, the Highland whisky has long be renowned for its classic Scotch whisky profile and that reputation is on full display in this single cask 20 year old expression from our Old Particular label. Light, fresh, clean, and sweetly aromatic with distinct cereal and honey notes, the finish is fully of toffee with cinnamon and clove spices that dance gingerly at cask strength. Those in search of value need look no further.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 01, 2017

This is one of the chunkier single malts I’ve had in some time in terms of sheer barley and grain flavor with potent oak maturation. It’s so concentrated and rich that the profile comes across as almost herbaceous, but after about five seconds that sensation fades the whisky gives way to total decadence with huge toffee and vanilla flavors, baking spices, and more sweet stone fruit on the finish. The cask strength proof is really an asset in this case, adding potency and power to what is a massively expressive malt.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 05, 2017

What a refreshing whisky. Classic, understated but hugely flavorful. It has a fresh and bright feel; it’s sweetly honeyed with a spritz of citrus on the nose. Touch of spice on the palate up front with gobs of caramelized sugar on the back end. The finish is clean and pure vanilla and cinnamon sugar. Rocking good on its own or for a highball. And like nearly all of our cask selections, this clocks in at a full proof of 54.1% giving you tons of flexibility to drink as you please.

Chantel Fleming | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 02, 2017

I found this Scotch to absolutely delicious. The nose gave me a pleasant malt aroma with a little bit of honey. The took me a few moments to wrap my head around what I was tasting. At first I tasted an herbal note, but then this amazing burst of lush fruit came forward! It reminded me of Juicy Fruit Gum, with vanilla, a hint of lychee and caramel. It finished really pleasant and clean, and what a fantastic value for a 20 year Scotch!

Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 02, 2017

On the nose, there are aromas of freshly squeezed apples with cracked wheat, wild honey, and floral notes. On the palate there is sweet honeyed cereal, barley, vanilla toffee and baking spices like clove and cinnamon. This is very intensely flavored and complex with a wonderful round texture that will have your palate begging for another sip.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 01, 2017

I saw the price of this whisky and had to do a double take…$79.99…and 20 years old! This is so pure; it has so much freshness and primary character but with the supple texture and complexity that only time can endow. A classic highland malt with everything you want from a whisky in this genre but at a price that is just simply unheard of in this day and age. Isn’t it nice to be able to drink 20 year old, single cask scotch every night of the week…


1991 North British 25 Year Old “Old Particular” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Grain Whisky (750ml) ($69.99)

Just outside of Edinburgh sits the North British grain distillery, a facility that uses unmalted grains like corn and wheat and distills them on a column still to produce grain whisky–one of the more misunderstood personalities of the whisky universe. Most of you have had grain whisky before, you’ve just had it in conjunction with single malt whisky in expressions like Johnnie Walker or Chivas. Grain whisky is what’s ultimately combined with single malt whisky to create “blended” whisky (hence the name). What hasn’t been clear to most drinkers until rather recently, however, is how wonderful grain whisky can be on its own, especially when aged twenty years or more.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 01, 2017

Well this is just everything you could ask for in a Scotch whisky, right here. It’s potently rich and full of vanilla, brimming with sweet oak, and punchy on the finish. It’s like the buttery icing on a chocolate cake and then the oak takes over and the finish turns woody in the best possible way. This almost tastes like something in between Scotch and Bourbon. Oh….and it’s 25 years old, full proof, from a single barrel, and less than $75. Swoop in quickly before the masses seal the fate of this hot deal.

Chantel Fleming | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 03, 2017

Seriously, where has this whisky been all my life, or at least my life beyond the age of 21? It was no surprise that this Scotch is as fantastic as our previous releases of North British that flew off the shelves almost as quickly as they arrived. I tasted toasted cereal, honey and sweet cream; it finishes with juicy nectarine, marzipan, and a touch of vanilla and soft salt. A beautiful and delicious 25 year expression!

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 03, 2017

I thought I had missed the boat completely on the North British for the year. Turns out Driscoll was hiding another great cask of single grain. The nose is pretty and sweet, full of honey, sweet cream butter, and maple coated pancakes. The palate really pours it on and shows wonderful cereal notes to boot. Breakfast in a bottle. The finish is clean and smooth, like French Vanilla ice cream. A little water will open up this bottle in a big way.

Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: September 01, 2017

Every time these bottlings come through our inventory I wonder when the main stream masses will catch up to the insane value of single grain whisky…The fact that we can still offer bottles like this in the era of Yamazaki 12 year being all but impossible to get and Macallan 18 year costing $250 is just insane. This is packed full of rich, creamy, golden fruit, toasted grains, butterscotch, sweet spice and burnt brown sugar. Such an unctuous and satisfying drink…and man the price just can’t be beat.


The A. Smith Bowman Distillery was founded on the Bowman family’s Sunset Hills Farm in Fairfax County on the day after prohibition’s repeal. The farm and the 4000 acres around it, had been operated as a dairy and granary by Bowman during prohibition, but excess grains could be stored indefinitely as Virginia Bourbon Whiskey. The first whiskey was warehoused in 1937. Abram Smith Bowman and his sons, Abram Jr. and Delong operated the only legal distillery in Virginia at the time and built the famous local brand Virginia Gentleman. The Bowman’s eventually acquired the entire 6000+ acres of forest and farm land around the distillery, making it one of the largest privately held properties in the DC Metro area. Eventually, Abram sold the land to a real estate developer, but 60 acres including the distillery were ultimately transferred to his sons ownership where they produced bourbon until 1988 when the facility was moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia. The Sazerac Company bought the facility, now in a former cellophane factory in 2003 and created an experimental micro distillery program there.

The whiskey is actually distilled from a blend of the two Buffalo Trace bourbon mashbills twice distilled in Frankfort Kentucky before being trucked to Fredericksburg for a third distillation. The final distillation occurs in an unusual hand built pot still with a refractor ball and a coiled lyne arm the juts straight out of the still. The resulting whiskey is bold an flavorful yet soft and ultra smooth thanks to the third distillation. The A. Smith Bowman distillery has been winning awards for years, but their tiny capacity has prevented it from becoming a well known national brand. We’re excited to have a little bit to share with all of you.

Bowman Bros Small Batch Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) (Elsewhere $40) – $29.99 John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon (750ml) – $49.99



For all you NorCal drinkers, Hiram Walker’s master distiller Don Livermore will be in town next week and since he’s an incredible wealth of whiskey information, as well as a real character, I thought it might be nice for about twenty of you to get into a room with him and pick his brain while drinking Lot 40 and perhaps even a rare bottle of the new 12 year old cask strength he might be smuggling in his suitcase. I’ve set up a nice dinner menu over at Donato in Redwood City and this coming Tuesday night at 7 PM you can dine with Don and drink Canadian rye for a mere $40. Book yourself an intimate evening with one of the industry’s serious distillation brains! We’ll be in the private front room by the main entrance for this one.

A Special Lot 40 Whiskey Dinner w/Distiller Don Livermore @ Donato, Redwood City, Sept. 12th, 7 PM

And don’t forget that we’re tasting the new cask strength limited edition Machir Bay tomorrow in Redwood City starting at 5 PM with the gang from Kilchoman, free of charge!

That covers it for this week, but make sure to check the Spirits Journal for more updates you won’t want to miss.

David Driscoll & David Othenin-Girard

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