If you are a Scotch fan in California, or anywhere within shipping distance, you need to check out K&L's exclusive barrel program.
K&L is a California retailer with shops in Redwood City, San Francisco and Hollywood. They've only been open in LA since 2007, but really took off in 2010 under the leadership of their new spirits buyers, David Driscoll and David Girard. Increasingly, they are my go-to spot for whiskey. Earlier this year, the Dynamic Duo of Davids took a trip to Scotland (all nicely chronicled on their blog) where they visited distilleries and independent bottlers in search of a few good barrels.
The Davids, who are extremely knowledgeable even from the whisky-geek perspective, hand picked twelve rare casks from the the distilleries and bottlers they visited. The great thing is that they didn't just go for the big name "eye candy" type Scotch but instead ventured into the more obscure distilleries (including a number of closed distilleries) such as Blair Athol, Ladyburn, Dailuaine, Auchroisk, Banff and Littlemill. Exciting, old and all of it bottled at cask strength.
Over the last few months, they have been revealing the barrels slowly for pre-orders (at a lower rate). The list of those still available for pre-order is posted on the right hand column of their blog. So far, all but one are still available.
The price is right too. There are a few big ticket items in the mix, but for the most part, the prices are really decent, and all of the prices are very good for what they are. How will they taste? Well, you won't know until they come in, but I've talked to the Daves enough to be confident that they know their stuff and they don't over-sell. If I had the wherewithal, I'd buy one of each.
Check it out!