Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky
The internets opinion: Youve probably never heard of Alexander Murray & Company, but according to , as of 2016, Costco sells 100,000+ cases of its scotch per year. Alexander Murray works with about 12 distilleries in Scotland like Caol Ila, Tomintoul, Dalmore, Mortlach, Glenrothes, and Tullibardine to fill up private-label bottles at Costco, Trader Joes, and Total Wine. Which juice ends up in the Kirkland bottle? The rumor is that its Tullibardine. But! As The Scotch Noob points out, Alexander Murray has definitely bottled Macallan before, and is reported to have contracts with both Diageo and Edrington. Diageo owns brands like Johnnie Walker. Edrington produces Cutty Sark . Take your pick.
The experts opinion: Be aware that the smell of this scotch isnot ideal. Theres something funky in there, he says. That smells very strange. Based on his knowledge of the scotch market, he says its likely sourced from Diageo or Bacardi. This is reminiscent of a Dewars White Label, but it has a bit more color on it, notes Jensen. He notes that it could also be a blend from one of Johnnie Walkers distilleries, but he leans towards Dewars. Overall, he didnt mind the taste, and said if you can cover the scotch in a cocktail like a Penicillin, itll be finethough his overall recommendation is to spend a little more money on another brand.
What Brands Of Scotch Does Costco Sell
Below are tasting notes on the core range of Costcos Kirkland Signature Scotch whiskies.
- Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky.
- Kirkland Signature, 12 YO Blended Scotch Whisky.
- Kirkland Signature, 20 YO, Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
- Kirkland Signature, 22 YO, Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
What Is Kirkland Scotch
Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky The rumor is that its Tullibardine. But! That smells very strange. Based on his knowledge of the scotch market, he says its likely sourced from Diageo or Bacardi. This is reminiscent of a Dewars White Label, but it has a bit more color on it, notes Jensen.
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Kirkland Spiced Rum $15 For 175 Liters
Comparable Brand name: Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, $14 for 375 milliliters at 67 Wine
Theres no better deal for your rum and cokes, poolside tiki drinks, and autumn punches than Kirklands Spiced Rum, which offers deep notes of vanilla. The spirits country of origin is St Croix, but its produced by Californias LeVecke Co., which bottles dozens of other brands and private-label hooch. At 92 proof, its quite a bit stronger than comparable brands like Captain Morgan , which means its an even better value and will stand up better in mixed drinks.
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Why Costco Has The Best Values In Whisky Today
two men clinking glasses of whiskey
Over the last decade Costco has emerged as North Americas biggest retailer of alcoholic beverages. It has been the largest retailer of wine in the United States since at least 2016. It is also one of the top retailers of beer and is very likely the largest retailer of whiskey in North America.
On average, Costco carries about 50 spirit expressions, roughly 20 of which carry the Kirkland Signature label. Kirkland Signature is Costcos proprietary brand. Its named for the city of Kirkland, Washington, the location of Costcos head office.
Costco also carries 150 different wines, 30 of which have the Kirkland Signature brand, and around 16 beer SKUs, one of which is proprietary. The wine and spirit selection at Costco tends to vary widely over the course of the year. Some Kirkland spirit brands are only offered in the fourth quarter.
Currently, Costco carries 10 whisky expressions under the Kirkland Signature brand: four Scotch whiskies, three bourbons and an Irish whiskey, a Canadian whisky and a Tennessee whiskey. In addition, Costco carries around two dozen leading whisky brands from third parties. These brands include, among others, The Macallan, Glenlivet, Woodford Reserve, Angels Envy, Makers Mark, Crown Royal and Buffalo Trace.
The average Costco store carries around 4,000 SKUs, of which about 220 are alcoholic beverages.
Below are some notes on Costcos Kirkland Brand whiskies.
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Hennessy Is The Top Seller Cognac At Costco
According to Costco, the majority of cognac sales come from Hennessy and Remy Martin. In addition, Costco offers its own bottle known as Kirkland XO Cognac, which is one of the best Kirkland liquors in general.
Its not uncommon for Cognac bottles to resale for double the retail price. So, it is a good day when you score a tasty bottle of Cognac for $50-$60.
Kirkland XO Cognac is made from Ugni Blanc grapes inside oak barrels in France. Unfortunately, it is only sold seasonally, so be sure to get it while you can!
you know what they say.
dave gutierrez May 30, 2020
Who Actually Makes Kirkland Gin
Costco is incredibly popular for a reason, and the store brand products, Kirkland Signature, have something to do with it . Spend a few minutes browsing the booze aisles and you’ll quickly find there are tons of options and deals ranging from the name brands you know and love to tons of equally good Kirkland Signature takes on similar liquors like vodka, whiskey, and Irish cream liqueur. While the best and worst Kirkland liquors to buy appear pretty clear cut, there’s one bottle you might want to think twice about.
Kirkland Signature London Dry Gin is a bottle that has earned an 89 score from Tastings for its “crisp, dry light body” and “effortless” finish. At about $18 for a 1.75 liter bottle, it’s great to use with mixers like club soda, tonic, or in cocktails with juices or fruity ingredients . Some consumers on Reddit, however, noted that the Kirkland gin has heavy rose notes, and suggest choosing another bottle if you’re only planning to have one type of gin on your home bar cart.
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Kirkland Signature Silver Tequila: Worst
Unlike Costcos two other tequilas, Añejo and Reposado, doesnt get rave reviews. The Añejo is touted for its $30 price tag and people who can actually find the Resposado love it. The Silver is reported to have a strong alcohol tastes that overpower the agave and citrus that good tequila is supposed to have. Its definitely not the kind of tequila that you want to take shots with. You get away with using it for big batches of margaritas but it wont particularly impress.
Costco Debuting New Kirkland Bourbons Sourced From Barton 1792
Costco, in its role as a major warehouse retail chain, draws upon many different sources to provide goods for the various items under its Kirkland private label. In those states where liquor sales are allowed in such stores, this also includes products like American bourbon.
It was revealed some months back through a series of TTB federally approved bottle labels that a seemingly new supplier for Costcos Kirkland bourbons would be the Barton 1792 distillery in Kentucky thats owned by Sazerac. These include Kirkland Small Batch, Kirkland Bottled-in-Bond and Kirkland Single Barrel.
It has now been showcased by Costco that these whiskeys are working their way into rotation at Costco stores, being part of a new program launching in June that will initially see Small Batch appear in select locations and in limited quantities.
The new bourbons for Costcos Kirkland brand
As for whats known on each, heres what has appeared on the individual labels in question:
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Costco Kirkland Signature Blended Scotch Whisky
- Price: $22.99
- Proof: 40% alc./vol.
- Country of Origin: Scotland
- Importer: Misa Imports, Inc. Dallas, TX
- Maker: Alexander Murray & Co.
- Notes & Description: the aged malt and grain whiskies in this Kirkland Signature Scotch Whisky are carefully blended to evoke aromas of dried fruit, with a slightly sweet, malty taste, which gives way to a long, gently warming finish.
Theres A Groundswell Of Support Among Whiskey Geeks For Costcos Kirkland Signature Whiskies Just Two Questions: Where Do They Come From And Why Are They So Cheap
The geekiest factions of the online whiskey community can be particularly nasty, with insiders railing on taters and lambasting the limited-edition releases they pursue. That makes it all the more surprising that, over the past year, theres been a groundswell of support among geeks for the Kirkland Signature collection. These Costco house whiskies have likewise landed solid scores on Whisky Advocate and Wine Enthusiastof late they even nabbed a top prize at the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition. Theyre cheap, toowhether it be a 1.75 liter of Canadian whisky for $20 or an 18 Year Old Sherry Cask Finish Highlands Scotch for $38.
Its this downright impossible price that has the online geeks playing a guessing game as to not only where, exactly, these whiskies are coming from, but how Costco gets the pricesspecifically on age-statement whiskiesso low.
Its called undercutting their own undercutting, the vice president of sales for a major spirits company told me . What he means is, if Costcos bottles of Jim Beam and Jack Daniels are already at cut-rate prices, the wholesale giants comparable house brands are intentionally sold for even cheaper than that.
Meanwhile, a typical Speyside 25-year-old from, say, Glenfarclas, hits shelves around $200. Laphroaigs 27-year-old was just released at $750. And Highland Parks 40-year-old comes out in minimal quantities each year for around $3,500.
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Best: Kirkland Signature Irish Cream Liqueur
A lot of the “best” Costco liquors are considered so because they are indistinguishable from their name-brand counterparts while costing significantly less. What helps the Kirkland Signature Irish Cream Liqueur stand out from the pack is not only for its wallet-friendliness , but experts also find that flavor-wise it is better than the name-brand counterpart as it is “smoother, less harsh, and more balanced.”
At first whiff of Kirkland’s Irish Cream, you’ll pick up aromas of cocoa, cream, and of course Irish whiskey. As far as flavor goes, it’s incredibly smooth and very sweet. You’ll likely taste notes reminiscent of candy: chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut in particular. Given its inherent sweetness, most people enjoy Irish cream either chilled and served straight or over ice, but it’s also delicious poured into a cup coffee or in the middle of a a homemade Mudslide.
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Technically, Costco is a membership club and requires customers to be enrolled to shop in their stores. In 14 states however, including Texas, California and New York, it is illegal to require a membership to purchase alcoholic beverages. In those states, you can purchase alcoholic beverages in a Costco without being a member.
Costco has usually not disclosed the producers of the Kirkland branded spirits a practice that has given rise to incessant speculation among consumers on the origins of the Kirkland spirit expressions.
Bear in mind that proprietary spirit brands will often purposely try to mimic the aroma and taste profile of market leaders. If Kirkland blended Scotch whisky tastes a lot like Dewars that doesnt mean that it is Dewars in Kirkland Signature packaging , it might simply mean that the producer sought to mimic the taste of Dewars the best selling blended Scotch whisky in the US.
Likewise, if Kirkland Signatures Canadian whisky tastes very similar to Crown Royal it may be because the whisky is actually produced at the Gimli distillery in Manitoba, which produces Crown Royal. Or it may simply reflect the fact that Crown Royal is far and away the best-selling Canadian whisky in the US. In 2019, Crown Royal sold over 6.8 million, 9-liter cases in the US. Thats more sales than all of the other brands of Canadian whisky combined.
Kirkland Signature Canadian Whisky
Kirkland Signature, Blended Canadian Whisky, 6 YO, NAS, 40% ABV, 1.75 liters
Best: Kirkland Signature Small Batch Bourbon By Barton 1792 Master Distillers
This recent addition to the Costco shelves is not to be confused with Kirkland’s longstanding and underwhelming 7-year small batch bourbon. While the bottle lacks an age statement, it’s one of the rare Kirkland liquor offerings that doesn’t require a scavenger hunt to figure out who actually makes the stuff. Printed right there on the label is the name of the producer, Barton 1792 Master Distillers, which happens to be one of the most revered distilleries in the bourbon biz.
Since we reported on the release in May, the reviews have begun to pour in and the consensus is buy, buy, buy this easy-drinking Kentucky nectar which clocks in at 45% alcohol by volume. According to Forbes, the whisky has a smooth taste “… with notes of cinnamon and clove, accompanied by caramel and vanilla notes.” For 20 bucks a liter, this is an absolute steal, especially if you’re looking to stock your bar with a solid, everyday sipper. “This is a great value bourbon,” notes a Reddit user. “Its amazing finish and even better price give it a dedicated place on my shelf.”
And for those of you who prefer a bourbon that is a tier or two higher on the shelf, keep your eyes peeled for two additional Kirkland collaborations with Barton that are sure to be a hit: a single barrel bottle and a bottled-in-bond version.
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Patron Tequila Costco Prices Are Considerably Lower
Patron Silver Tequila retails for nearly $105, but Costco sells the same bottle for $80. Patron Tequila Costco Prices are cheaper than any other liquor store, so if you live near a Costco, it is by far the best place to shop for tequila.
Its hard to beat Patron in a tequila review, especially for a tequila that isnt very good when someone drinks it straight.
However, Kirkland Tequila Silver is the option to go with if you dont want to spend almost $100 on a bottle of tequila!
So Which Bottles Can You Safely Pick Up For Cheap While Not Sacrificing Quality
Heres a list of Costcos signature Kirkland-brand boozes to help you decide which ones are worth the gamble.
The French vodka available at Costco has been rumored to be the same stuff as Grey Goose, misinformation that persists despite Grey Gooses firm denials that they produce Costcos vodka. But the rumor exists for a good reason: This stuff is pretty darn good, especially for $20 a handle. Its a bit sweeter than Grey Goose but has none of the rubbing alcohol nose or mouthfeel that you risk with something like Rubinoff. If youre thinking gimlets or sours, or mixing with soda water or tonic , Kirkland works just fine.
London Dry Gin: $18.59
Gin is essentially vodka infused with various botanicals, like cardamom, juniper, and citrus peel. With that in mind, its safe to say that Costco gin is going to drink like gin. The biggest thing to consider in terms of quality here is the source of those botanicals: While this bottle is sure to be free of coloring agents, you might not want to dwell too long on where, exactly, that gin flavor is coming from . Like Kirklands vodka, I guarantee you this works well with soda water or tonic as well as fruit-juice-forward cocktails like a gimlet or Collins.
Blended Scotch Whiskey: $17.99
The reason for this? There is no way to control for consistency with single barrel spirits theyre all going to look, smell, and taste differently.
Small Batch Bourbon:$29.99
Of the Kirkland blend, Eric Goldfarb at Punch writes:
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Costco’s Kirkland Signature French Comte
One of the best cheeses Costco ever had on their shelves was Kirkland Signature French Comte. This cheese was made in France and was unlike anything else you can find in America without sacrificing an arm and a leg. Aged for at least eight months, it had a strong flavor but it wasn’t overwhelming. If you like savory food, you would have loved this cheese.
Kirkland Signature French Comte could be used in dishes or melted to make a fondue but it was best to eat it by itself as a snack. All you had to do was cut it into cubes, pour yourself some of Costco’s affordable champagne, and you had a millionaire’s snack on a blue collar budget.
While Costco still has a lot of quality cheeses on their shelves that are available for a fair price, nothing they offer these days is as luxurious as the French comte they used to sell.
Best: Kirkland Signature Xo Cognac
What in the heckin’ heck does the “XO” in XO cognac even stand for? Well, as it turns out it means “extra old,” which kind of makes sense considering that Kirkland Signature XO Cognac is one of the pricier Costco liquors to make it to the list at a healthy average price of $50 for 750 mL, though that price may vary by location. However, compare that price tag to the minimum $130 for 750 mL you’ll pay for another bottle of XO. To be considered “XO,” the youngest cognac in the blend must be aged at least 10 years with the average age of all the individual liquors running 20 years or older. The result is a sweet and slightly spicy liquor that pairs well with cigars and is best served straight or, at most, with a couple of ice cubes.
It’s flavor is “very light, very floral” with just a hint of spice on the end and enough notes to tell you that you’re drinking a rich, complex cognac for the money. Kirkland Signature XO Cognac received a “Highly Recommended” rating from Tastings with an 89 point rating that is just shy of “Exceptional” status. If you want to make this bargain bottle feel fancier when you sip it, store it in a nice liquor decanter and no one will know the difference. Grab it when you see it though this one is often only available during the holidays.
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