I was sitting with my spirits buying partner David Othenin- Girard in the Bowmore guesthouse on Islay. We were in Scotland, tasting Scotch casks from independent bottlers, thinking to ourselves, “Why don’t we start our own independent spirits label?” After sleeping on the idea, we came up with the name ‘Faultline,’ seeing as all three K&L stores are located along the San Andreas ridge.
We began by wetting our feet with a single barrel Cognac and an old bourbon cask of Littlemill whisky, but soon we turned our attention to gin. I was hanging out with St. George distiller Dave Smith one day during the midst of their multifaceted gin launch. Their Terroir, Botanivore, and Dry Rye gins were about to hit the market, and Dave had been playing around with some other concoctions that hadn’t quite made the cut. One of these batches was like a blank white canvas: it had the standard juniper notes, but it could easily be manipulated into something quite expressive. We toyed around with
adding citrus, adding spice, adding floral aromas, and adding more juniper, but Dave’s idea about adding a savory, salty component really stuck with me. Before I knew it, Dave was digging through his laboratory, pulling out jugs of celery salt extract macerated with neutral spirits.
The result is a very special batch of gin created by St. George and specified by K&L — a partnership between two establishments that take drinking very
seriously. The new Faultline Gin has plenty of herbaceous character, but that celery salt lends itself to drinks like a Bloody Mary or Greyhound As for me, I like drinking it straight out of the bottle. The first batch ran about nine hundred bottles so supplies are fairly limited, but we plan on introducing
a new batch soon. We’re hoping that the Faultline label comes to signify excellence, and as long as we keep working with our friends at St. George, I plan on achieving that goal.
text by David Driscoll, K&L Wine Merchants