The Next Level of Craft Whisky: K&L Exclusive Casks from LAWS and Balcones – American Whiskey News

A Pair of Titanic K&L Exclusive New Cask Releases
Thrilling discoveries From LAWS and Balcones that will take your collection to new heights

Our spirits buyers are on a never-ending marathon of tasting and sampling, all done to bring you the absolute best and most unique offerings on the market. So, when they single out certain new arrivals for special attention, you know there’s a good reason (many good reasons, actually). The two impeccable whiskies on offer today stand out in our inventory for their highly distinctive, cask-strength profiles as well as their unconventional, single-grain mashbills. Colorado’s LAWS Whisky House has given us a number of thrilling new discoveries recently, and at the top of the list is the San Luis Valley Rye, which David Othenin-Girard calls “one of the very best craft ryes we’ve tried so far.” Meanwhile, we all know that everything is bigger in Texas, so it’s no surprise that the Lone Star state’s pioneering distillery has brought us one of our biggest, boldest barrels ever. Balcones’ Texas Single Malt Cask Strength Barrel is a massive entry that, according to Andrew Whiteley, is “unlike any Balcones I’ve ever tasted…superlative in every way.” By going in on either or both of these selections, you are adding an unparalleled and singular craft whisky to your collection that’s unlike any other on the market.

LAWS Whisky House is quickly becoming one of the country’s most prominent new craft distillers. Not only have they been able to create an exciting array of excellent whiskies, but they’ve done so following an uncommon motto in our industry: “There are no shortcuts.” We respect that kind of commitment to quality, and the proof is in the pudding. While their entire line of whiskies offers something special, it is the San Luis Valley Rye that offers the most distinctive and distinguished experience. The powerful flavors of the high-protein heirloom varietal paired with the dry maturation regimen that their Denver warehouses offer creates a unique and truly delicious flavor profile unparalleled by any other craft or legacy distiller. So, when we were offered this OLDER cask strength version of one of our favorite craft ryes, we absolutely had to have it. This awesome barrel was distilled on December 28th, 2015 and bottled just under 5.5 years old on April 30th, 2021. Bottled at cask strength of 58.9% ABV without chill filtration.

LAWS Whisky House “Barrel Select” K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel #508 San Luis Valley Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml) ($74.99)

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 29, 2021

This delicious single barrel of San Luis Valley Rye is one of the very best craft ryes we’ve tried so far. There’s a huge influx of craft distillers offering rye of various quality and character, but LAWS has found a formula that’s as delicious as it is unique. Using the heirloom varietal of rye grown by farmers in south-central Colorado, their Straight Rye is derived from an equal blend of malted and unmalted rye. This semi-wild varietal now being cultivated exclusively to produce this particular whisky offers character unlike the industrial ryes grown in Canada and Germany for the rest of the industry. Expect a stupendous, complex mixture of rich salted caramel, mints, and licorice bark on the nose. On the palate, a vibrant mixture of sweet earthy oak, bold cacao, tangy green herbs, and burnt Seville orange peel. It’s truly incredible what these guys have managed to achieve in such a short time, and we couldn’t be prouder to be partnered with them.

Balcones K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel #16584 Texas Single Malt Whisky (750ml) ($79.99)

Clocking in at a monstrous 130.8 proof, this K&L Exclusive barrel from Balcones is also among their oldest bottlings. Aged for 4 long Texas years in new European oak, it packs an extraordinary amount of flavor. The huge and rapid temperature swings common to Waco, TX have penetrated that new oak in a way that feels a lot like Kentucky bourbon, but it is the 100% Scottish Golden Promise single malt barley distilled on Balcones’ Scottish Forsyth stills that make this barrel a truly unique specimen.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 29, 2021

There was no doubt in my mind when selecting this barrel. It was unlike any Balcones I’d ever tastedjust as good as the best releases I’ve had, but superlative in every way. It’s over the top in flavor and proof. Coming in at just over 65% ABV, it’s massive. The aroma practically carries across the room when you pour a glass. It’s bursting with figs, peaches, vanilla, caramel, raisins, almonds/marzipan, walnuts, and brown sugar. Each nosing finds something new. Particularly interesting is the wild herbal sauvage thing going on as it opens that complements the robust fruit, just as it would in a perfectly balanced bottle from the Rhône. The palate is equally huge. Tame it with water and it’s exceptionally easy to enjoy. The peaches move from fresh slices to peach rings, candied and sweet. The herbal piece moves into heirloom celery, the kind you can only grow in your own garden, not the watery stringy stalks you find in the grocery store. The spice of the new European oak stands tall in the lengthy and unrelenting finish. I’ve always liked what Balcones has done, but I’ve found a completely new appreciation for them in this singular cask.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 29, 2021

This is a big and powerful whiskey. The nose is very pronounced with sweet top notes and caramel aromas. In the mouth, it is full-bodied and juicy, with wonderfully sweet spice flavors that do not hide behind other aspects of this whiskey. A little water opens it up, but both the nose and mouth are still big and concentrated, still with seductive spice notes. Direct and delicious, this is is not a shy wallflower.

Andrew Tobin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 29, 2021

For those of you who remember our last bottling of Balcones, you’ll be just as excited as I am! Our friends in Texas have delivered another powerhouse bottle to us, and don’t let the four-year age statement fool you—that much time in Texas heat gave this whisky about as much barrel influence as you could want! The first thing that jumps out to me is the honey-glazed peanut note, baking spice, and fresh leather. The nose is huge, and every whiff brings in a whole new world. The palate is this wild umami flavor mixed with dark caramel, popcorn, peach ring, cranberry, and gobs of baking spices! They’ve done it again, to absolutely no one’s surprise. This should be on every whiskey fan’s radar!