Tasting French Spirits

A big thank you to all of you who attended our Cognac/Armagnac/Brandy seminar last night.  Christine Cooney was a wonderful presenter and her products were delicious, as was the cheese and terrine plate from our lovely host Martin's West.  I learned a great deal from Christine, who understands French spirits well and is fantastic at breaking them down in an easy-to-follow manner.  I hope those of you who attended had as wonderful a time as I did and we hope to see you again in the future.  We were at full capacity so that made it very special.

Here is what we sampled for those of you who were not able to attend:

-David Driscoll


Podcast Tomorrow Will Be...

Since we're doing the Cognac/Armagnac/Calvados seminar at Martin's West tonight, I thought it would be appropriate to continue the brandy education by sitting down with my favorite Frenchman Nicolas Palazzi and discussing the ins and outs of the spirits francoises.  For those of you who cannot make it to the event tonight, I am going to have Nic breakdown the fundamentals of Cognac, the differences between it and Armagnac, and the practices that go into producing both of them.  After four straight weeks of whisk(e)y talk, I figured it was high time for some diversity.  Join us tonight at Martin's West, or tomorrow via podcast (available via iTunes or here on the blog).

-David Driscoll


Future Gordon & MacPhail Selections

I have been quite impressed with the quality, price, and selection of the Gordon & MacPhail bottlings as of late and I am now even happier with their list of upcoming arrivals.  I was given a special pre-order sheet to secure quantities of these selections and, even without having tasted them, there are obviously some fantastic deals to be had with interesting names and vintages.  Here is a sample of a few i immediately picked up on:

1976 Banff 28 Year - should retail for around $155

1984 Glenesk 20 Year - same as above

1991 Ardmore 16 Year - should come in at $99

1969 Linkwood 36 Year - should be $225-ish

1998 Isle of Arran 8 Year - around $35

Good deals at various ages and price points.  Good job G&M.

-David Driscoll


K&L's First Octave Cask In Today

I wanted to let everyone know that we purchased a small octave cask of 1998 11 Year Old Imperial Speyside Whisky and it is exquisite stuff.  Chewy, dense, concentrated sweet malted grains all come at the palate in a flurry of flavor.  Vanilla and cereal notes on the finish.  Imperial is a 114 year old distillery in the Spey that is owned by Pernod Ricard and usually goes into the Chivas blends.  Getting the chance to try it as a single malt was a nice educational opportunity, I thought, and after tasting a bottle today, I'm very happy.  Of course, I chose the barrel based on a tasting sample, but for some reason this bottle tastes so much better than I remember.  Only 70 bottles were produced and I've already sold about 20 of them so they won't be around long.  This is definitely not a MUST buy whisky, but it is very affordable (especially for club members) and there are not many single malts with such pure, clean, malty flavors.  I think every RWC staff member is planning to snag one for themselves today, so it seems to be a favorite amongst my co-workers. A true winner from Duncan Taylor and an ever better deal for our customers.  Enjoy it while it lasts!

-David Driscoll


New Kuchan Brandy Arrives!

No hating on Davorin's label this time because I helped him design it (therefore you'll be crushing my graphic artist dreams with your criticism!).  I'm so excited that we can finally offer the Kuchan Alambic Brandy because it fills another cocktail mixing gap - the brandy with a kick that can cut through the sweetness of a liqueur or the tartness of citrus.  While this 6 year old batch can definitely be sipped, it isn't for Cognac or Armagnac lovers.  This is not wood-sweetened juice.  It's not supple, vanilla-rich syrup.  This is wine barrel aged spirit that makes the best punchbowl you've ever tasted.  It makes a Sidecar taste brighter and more expressive.  It makes hot cider taste like a hot toddy.  It basically makes every recipe that calls for brandy just a bit better.

-David Driscoll