Whisky Review: Kavalan Single Cask Vinho selected by The Whisky Exchange W120614028

Style: Red fruits and Oaky

Nose:
Sweet, round ruby grapes march in majestically with figs, strawberries, hawthorns, bay berries and plums lining neatly on the side. Light dedemara syrup and butterscotch rounding up the sweetness nicely. Varnish and freshly shaved timber sweep in, while a deeper umami tone lurking quietly in the shadow. Youthful chili spice takes the rhythm to a higher level, a round and bright aroma.

Palate:
Crystallized cherries floating along a red wine river. Assorted red berries leading the top notes, while dark fruits submerge into the core – figs, sultanas and quince thoroughly brushed with high power acetones. Round, young (not raw) and bright. White pepper sprinkling on pencil shavings, tropical fruits gradually surfaces after layers of wood dissipated. Paw paw and honeydew dipped into dark chocolate.

Finish:
Cherry pie, blackcurrants and tropical fruits parfait. Oak sitting deep and finish with a light peppermint hue.

Thoughts:
A bright and round Kavalan loaded with abundant, delicious red fruits. It starts strong at the front and there are also plenty substances to follow up which gives the expression a very good depth. On the other hand, the oak is rather forthright and I wonder if 6 years of maturation is testing the limit of the climate in Taiwan. I must admit, the dynamic of Taiwanese whiskies (and New World whiskies to a greater extent) is rather different to scotch, the oak can cut in quite deep while the spirit is still relatively young. Don’t get me wrong, it is not necessarily a bad thing, instead, it just feels… different. There is a unique charm to it when the balance is right, and this one is close enough. Solid dram.

☆ [Recommended]


[53.2% | Original Bottling | Single Cask | 2012 Distilled | 2018 Bottled | Cask Number: W120614028 | Cask Strength | 37 of 180 Bottles | Non Coloured | Non Chill Filtered | *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: The Whisky Cask Glengoyne Aged 37 Years

[51.8%・37 Years Old・Distilled in 1972・Bottled in 2010・The Whisky Cask Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Heartwarming aromas of lemon butter, beeswax and egg custard getting heated up an elegant white floral note brings about notes of toasted almond and newly sanded white oak.

Palate & Finish:

A generous oily honey sweetness makes for a warm delivery, the equivalent of a mad men era office manager with full lips and bosom.  Caramelised banana and apricot cubes turning the dram rather chewy as notes of lemon and sugar crepes prove to be tremendously pleasing.

Soft, syrupy tropical fruits carry on in the finish with just a slight hint of saltiness from the oak.

Thoughts:

A poised, dignified dram with a composed weight to things.

Reminds me of a Chinese phrase that roughly translates as the tender land in English if you understand what I mean..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Sestante Port Ellen 14 Years Old

[43.0%・14 Years Old・Distilled in 1974・Bottled in 1988・Sestante Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

A stroll along the rocky beaches of Islay on a cool morning.  Oyster shells and seaweed washing ashore with a mild layer of sooty ash that brings out a sugary note.

Palate & Finish:

Sweet flowing lemon butter drizzled with coarse sea salt, the taste of clean ocean water with a pinch of black pepper to season the fresh seaweed as some dark berries gradually emerge.

The saltiness of the seaweed melts into the custard like creaminess, slow cooked pear in caramel sauce with just a light hint of oak bitterness.

Thoughts:

I think over the years, young PE as a genre has increasingly become a favourite, pleasingly delicate, and crisp and clean in this alluringly youthful manner.

You are only ever young once and PEs are only ever this young and beautiful once upon a time..

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Clynelish Select Reserve Special Release 2015

Style: Citus-y and Complex

Nose:
Lemon peel, Sprite lightly mixed with peppermint schnapps to give a satisfying warmth. Mineralic and coastal peat echoing a gentle whisper. Orange confectionaries sprinkled with citrus salt. Barley scattered around carelessly while a thin layer of wax coated around the core. Light pencil shavings and floral fragrance sitting at the bottom. You can feel there are multiple elements at play here. A highly complex nose.

Palate:
Begins with more lemon citrus, cedar wood arrives earlier than expected. Orange, pineapple and grapefruit fully immersed in nectar, the sweetness is building carefully on top of barley and agar agar foundation. Tropical fruits, candlewax, rich caramel, coconut shreds with another touch of peppermint. Malt syrup crystallized beautifully towards the end.

Finish:
A rather barley-dominated finish, whereas the other elements – orange, vanilla, honey-lemon jelly gradually surface after a while.

Thoughts:
I remember this Clynelish has stirred controversy when it came out with a whopping $A950 price tag slapped on it. How a NAS (No Age Statement) can cost this much was beyond comprehension for many. To clarify things, I read the little booklet in the package box and it says, “Selecting some of our oldest reserve and using only whiskies at least fifteen years…” Hence, technically speaking, it is a 15 years old Clynelish packaged as NAS. While the concept of this product is an intriguing one, but I rather not delve too much into it as my review is long enough as it is. Back to the whisky, there is definitely a modern vibe to it, but at the same time it feels the older component does unlock the complexity of the spirit, an array of nuances displayed nicely without being overpowered by its core signatures. A highly technical dram, and whether it is worth the price tag probably depends on how much you want to pay for a delicious and beautifully executed whisky.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

[54.9% | No Age Statement | Original Bottling | Cask Strength | Bottle Number: 1691 | 2964 Bottles | Non Chill Filtered | Non Coloured | **-]

Dram Review: Clynelish 200th Anniversary Aged 20 Years

[57.3%・20 Years Old・Bottled in 2019・Official Bottling・Limited Release of 1,819 Bottles]

Nose:

The Sherry theme is noticeably heavy right from the get go with a whiff of spirit intensity coming across as rather strong.  Toffee crisp adding to the weight with some poached fruits adding to the mix in time.  Quite oily at first but develops some lighter tropical and floral notes in time.

Palate & Finish:

A buttery delivery of honey, peaches and tropical fruits with a distinct earthy burnt toast note coming through, with a very obvious dose of beeswax and waxy apple peels to follow along some background leather and tobacco notes.

French toast and maple syrup in the finish dressed with some dried pineapple cubes and caramelised banana slices.

Thoughts:

For an anniversary release this feels like a greatest hits album, the dram gives what one would more or less expect from a Clynelish Limited Release with Sherry casks involved and thus it is a perfectly fine batch in that regard.

Personally and perhaps rather snobbishly though, I think Clynelish excels in its subtleties and is magical when the nuances are left to be explored by the discerning men and women..

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas