K&L’s Thanksgiving “A Post-Prandial Tipple” — Our Top Picks to Make Your Holiday Complete – Whisky News

New Riff Bottled-In-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) $44.99 View

Whisky Advocate

Outer quote mark Fresh and delicate on the nose, with stone fruit—especially peaches—white pepper, orange Creamsicle, and spice. A generous oak backbone provides the foundation for plums, nectarines, black pepper, clove, chamomile tea, and piney cedar that sweeps into a dry oak, cocoa, iced-tea finish. Although a bit hot at times, the balance and array of flavors is an outstanding coup for this young distillery. (SSB winter 2018) Inner quote mark

K&L Notes

Jacob Grier from The Distiller writes: “New Riff has pulled off a rarity with their bourbon: a bottled-in-bond, four-year-old whiskey from a new distillery that’s reasonably priced and fully enjoyable. It deftly balances classic vanilla notes with an assertive dose of spice, hints of leather, and a mild medicinal note that lingers on the finish. It’s a welcome addition to Kentucky bourbon.”

Michel Couvreur “Peaty Overaged” K&L Exclusive Malt Whisky (750ml) $79.99 View

The chance to work with Michel Couvreur on a special K&L whisky project was something that David and I had been dreaming of for years. We had heard the stories. This crazy Belgian had moved to Burgundy in the ’60s, carved out a wine cellar inside a mountain, only to fill it with Scottish single malt whisky instead of Pinot Noir. He set up camp in Beaune, ordered new-make spirit to be delivered by tanker, and drove down to Jerez himself, selecting his own sherry butts to ensure the finest quality casks for his contracted spirit. Unfortunately, Michel Couvreur passed away in 2013 from pancreatic cancer, thus ending the career of one of the industry’s most courageous pioneers. Luckily for us, however, apprentice Jean-Arnaud has carried on after studying under Michel for more than a decade. When we visited the underground cave, we were all in total awe. The tunnels of dripping stone go on forever, and the amount of whisky stored in this secret lair is jawdropping. We put our trust completely in Jean-Arnaud and are happy we did. Our peated version of the incredible sherry expression is a seamless creation that drinks like the best version of Johnnie Black ever, mixed with the most supple and soft expressions of Macallan. It’s a lush, unfiltered, creamy, caramel-laden dream of a whisky composed only of malts 12 years and older. There’s a bit of peat on the finish, but the soft sherry is the star. (NOTE: do NOT cut the hard wax seal, use a wine opener to go through it)

Hombo Shuzo Mars Shinshu Komagatake “Limited Edition 2019” Single Malt Japanese Whisky (750ml) $149.99 View

91 points Whisky Advocate

Outer quote mark If whisky were a warm hug, this would be it. The sweet nose is rich with a lovely fruitiness of satsuma, Seville orange marmalade, yuzu, and vanilla. This carries a velvety texture rippled with an orange-flavored effervescence; apricot jam, sweet orange, sherbet, fine spices, ground ginger, and hot pepper. If this well-made example is an indication of the Mars Shinshu house style, they are getting a lot of things right. (JM, Fall 2020) Inner quote mark

K&L Notes

The history of the excellent Mars Distillery is long and complicated. The special stills that now sit at the high altitude distillery near Nagano were hand built to the specifications of the preeminent grandfather of Japanese Whisky, Masataka Taketsuru. In the 1950s, Taketsuru-san’s mentor Iwai Kiichiro, who had commissioned his famed voyage to Scotland, designed and built two pot stills for Hombo Shuzo in Yamanashi using Takesturu’s original specifications. The stills were moved to Kagoshima not long after production started and eventually moved again to Nagano in the early 80s. For another decade, Mars Whisky operated their old pot stills from their mountain home, but lackluster demand for whisky caused Hombo to cease operations completely at the plant in 1992. But renewed interest in the late ’00s for Japanese whisky compelled the owners to relaunch the brand and recommission the old pots at Mars Shinshi in Nagano. Now Mars Whisky consists of two distilleries, this one and another at the Mars headquarters on Kumamoto called Tsunuki. Production is tiny compared to their next largest competitors, Suntory and Nikka, but Mars’ single malts have become renowned for their extremely high quality. The Limited Editions are bottled at 48% and aged in primarily ex-bourbon barrels with various other cask types blended in without detail. An excellent example of what the future of craft Japanese whisky looks like and one of the more collectable and unique offerings on the market today.

Macallan 18 Year Old “Annual 2019 Release” Sherry Oak Cask Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml) $299.99 View

The Macallan’s benchmark excellence is nowhere more evident than in the 18 year old, which is matured for a minimum of 18 years in seasoned sherry casks. Classic Macallan, with aromas and flavors of dried apricots and figs, spice, chocolate and orange zest. Made exclusively in hand-picked sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain. As always, the Macallan is bottled with its natural color.  This is the new package but the same old Mac 18!

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