The Perfect Pairing: K&L Thanksgiving Whisky Selections – Whisky News

2014 Bunnahabhain Staoisha Heavily Peated 6 Year Old “Signatory K&L Exclusive” Dechar/Rechar Cask Strength Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View

Bunnahabhain sits on the Northern shores of Islay and has made a famously unpeated Islay malt in that remote location since 1881. Beginning in the 1990s Bunna began to experiment with varying levels of peat and has sold peated Scotch under a number of different names since then. In the last 5 years or so we’ve seen several casks on the independent market trading under the Staoisha name for Bunnahabhain’s heavily peated offering. These extraordinary casks taste absolutely fabulous when they are very young and they are just getting better and better with more age. Now 6.5 years of age this cask was distilled on 10/20/2014. Bottled 5/24/2021. Matured in a dechar/rechar hogshead. This unique process involves scraping a cask to expose new oak and then recharring the wood to seal it and caramelize the sugars. They drink a bit like first-fill bourbon casks due to the fresh char, but with the most robust tannins removed from the casks first use. The result is a best of both worlds scenario and it marries with heavy peat just perfectly. Cask No 10568. 59.4% ABV.

2010 Linkwood 11 Year Old “Signatory K&L Exclusive” Charred Wine Hogshead Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $89.99 View

Linkwood has been the blender’s greatest secret for decades. A little bit of Linkwood used correctly takes a fine blended Scotch and amps it up to a very good or great blended Scotch. It’s like salt to a chef for the whisky blender and it’s this unique characteristic that makes it so rare as a single malt – it’s too valuable for the blend. Fortunately for fans of great Single Malt, the independent bottling market has stepped in to fill this void. We’ve seen more and more casks come to market in the last 5-10 years, but most of those single casks don’t come in super active wood. This isn’t necessarily bad – you get a great look at the naked malt, which is incredible, but the barrels don’t always pop as much as they could if treated to great wood. Not so with this young Linkwood from Signatory. Aged 11 Years, this extraordinary Linkwood is a beautiful dark amber due to the charred wine hogshead it was aged in. Quite a strange vessel for malt aging, but it turns out, with this barrel of Linkwood at least, it WORKS. Distilled on 5/18/2010. Bottled 5/24/2021. 59.2%ABV.

2007 Glen Elgin 14 Year Old “Signatory K&L Exclusive” Hogshead Cask Strength Collection Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $89.99 View

While many distillery owners prefer shell-and-tube condensers because they are cheaper and easier to maintain, it is no secret that, for many great malts, a worm tub is critical to the final character. Glen Elgin is a classic worm tub distillery. Juicy fruit and palate weight are the major hallmarks of Glen Elgin, situated in Speyside’s small hamlet of Fogwatt. The distillery has very long fermentation times (ranging from 80 to 120 hours) and an unusually clear wort. Combine that with very slow distillations and you have a vibrant fruity malt. Condense that fruity malt in a slow, meandering worm tub, and you’ve got robust body. This somewhat paradoxical profile has lead Glen Elgin to be prized by blenders and have a cult following among single malt enthusiasts. Fortunately for K&L customers, Signatory has secured a choice cask for us. Aged 14 years, matured in hogshead. Distilled on 5/1/2007. Bottled 5/21/2021 53.2%ABV. Cask No 800253. It’s big and rich with bushels of stone fruit and chewy malt

Westward K&L Exclusive Single Barrel #277 Cask Strength Single Barrel American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml) $99.99 View

Westward has long been producing some of the finest American single malts available due to a few very intentional choices and Scottish-like climate. We’ve selected one of their oldest available casks and it’s a classic. Westward only uses Pacific Northwest grown barley and it’s all malted just 10 miles from the distillery at Great Western Maltings. This two-row barley is malted to spec—high color pale malt—which would be something akin to a medium or medium + coffee roast. This brings out an array of beautiful toasted flavors ranging from filberts, almonds, and coffee to chocolate nibs and cereals. Perhaps the biggest flavor differentiator is in the yeast choice. The vast majority of distillers use an highly efficient distiller’s yeast, not so here. Westward employs the Chico Strain ale yeast—the very same yeast that accounts for Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale’s famous flavor. Combine that with a low and slow 5-day ferment and the tropical fruit esters in the whiskey are off the charts. Sweet mash leads to a little extra variation from barrel to barrel making the selection that much more special. Our barrel was aged in brand new #2 char 100% American oak for over 5 years in Clackamas, OR. The predominantly cool and wet climate with a short hot summer isn’t all that different from Scotland allowing for that ester development combined with barrel extraction that makes great single malt so special. Distilled 4-21-16. Bottled 6-10-21.

1998 Inchgower 22 Year Old “Sovereign” K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $109.99 View

A Diageo blending workhorse, Inchgower is a principal component (along with Blair Athol) of the Bell’s blend which we sadly don’t see here in the United States. Due to a cloudy wort and a slightly unusual middle cut that runs from 70% all the way down to 55% in the spirits run, Inchgower tends towards the fuller spicier side of things and away from the high-toned fruits found early in the spirits run. Couple that with 22 years in a refill sherry butt and we’ve got a decadent spicy whisky on our hands with the mellowness of long aging. A wonderful combination and a screaming deal at just over a hundred bucks.

1994 Tomatin 25 Year Old “Hunter Laing Old & Rare” Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml) $249.99 View

Tomatin is a fascinating distillery with a unique history and many incarnations, from starting as a bulk blender and supplier and eventually shifting to a steadfast focus on quality single malt production. From the early 1900s through the mid ’70s, Tomatin grew continuously. They added stills multiple times as demand for their product increased exponentially. By 1975, they were the largest single malt production facility in Scotland. Sadly due to market forces they never operated at their full capacity, and by the mid ’80s the massive bust in the market for Scotch was impossible to ignore. Tomatin was liquidated and became the first of many Scottish distilleries to be purchased by Japanese companies. Today owned by the company known as Takara Shuzo, Tomatin has many bottlings on the market, but it is the choicest single casks that command the most attention. Here we have an incredible single cask of sherry-finished Tomatin 25 Year Old at a natural strength of 49.3% ABV. Expect a great value single malt with tropical and stone fruits in abundance, melded with sherry spice and orange peel dipped in chocolate.

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