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

Whisky Review: Kavalan Selection Sherry Cask for Maison Du Whisky Singapore 10th Anniversary

Style: Sherry and Spicy

Nose:
Waterfall of heavy molasses, red dates, fig jam, strawberries, brown sugar all pouring over crystallized orange candy. Icy, green peppermint overtone while copper notes slipping under. Dry black peppercorn with a lick of dry oak staves.

Palate:
A pretty sip of muscovado syrup on the palate. Java sugar, citrus orange beaming gently. Cherry liquor, purple grapes bubble gum, dark prunes with tobacco leaves and punchy peppermint. Cacao powder dusting on almond croissants, a slice of Christmas cake. Dark chocolate KitKat to finish.

Finish:
Sweet, dark cherry pie. A nice puff of cigar smoke. Finish with bitter tea leaves.

Thoughts:
Dark, dark, dark and deep Kavalan we have here. Manifold facets of sherry fruits putting in a charming performance. While youthful spirit manages to march through the sea of heavily-armed dark fruits, showing a decent degree of complexities with a powerful whack. A young, heavy sherry bomb without a doubt.

[Recommended]

[58.6% • Original Bottling • Single Cask • No Age Statement • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Cask Number: S81217015 • 495 of 510 Bottles]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Kavalan Distillery Reserve Peaty Cask R091211002A

Style: Fruity and Spicy

Nose:

Charming, cheerful fruits dipped into malt syrup. Green pears hitting the high notes, white pepper dusting down. Copper, a dash of apple vinegar, finish with dry spices.

Palate:

Spice arrow carries the juicy fruity core and shoots across the palate. Starting with clean orchard fruits, lightly stewed as we progress. Sherry signatures on a more prominent display which the nose revealed very little, peaty sherry cask maybe? Toasted barley sugar, copper tune piping in again, vanilla marshmallows. Soft tannins wandering and finishes with a faint hint of coal-fired peat.

Finish:

Subdued red fruits whispering, brittle barley shatters. Delicious finish with texture.

Thoughts:

Spicy, but a beautiful piece from Kavalan. I heard it is an ex-Islay cask, and it feels like a refill sherry cask to me. Very limited amount of peat can be felt here, but the delivery of fruits is exceptionally fragrant, refined and delicious. A young malt no doubt, but it is showing qualities beyond its age.

 ☆ [Recommended]

[52.4%・Original Bottling ・Single Cask・Cask Strength・Non Coloured・Non Chill Filtered・286 of 311 Bottles・No Age Statement・Cask Number: R081211002A]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Kavalan Sherry Cask Selected by and Bottled for The Nectar S100203018A

[57.8%・NAS・Bottled in 2016・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release of 518 Bottles]

Nose:

An overt sense of heavy and relentless darkness.  Chocolate mud cake and marzipan dusted with a generous brush of almond sugar.  Poached fruits absolutely drenched in toffee treacle that is slightly burnt, the syrupy nature engulfing hints of black tea, ginger, leather and black shoe polish.

Palate & Finish:

The palate is taken over by prunes and brown sugar syrup with a huge oomph of spices humming then exploding, blasting out a path for rich toffee and milk chocolate to come in.  The acidity from the poached fruits somewhat spikes after the initial spices.  Soaked orange slices with a proper cinnamon bite and raisins rushing in on the mid-palate.

The finishing is rather dry.  Dark chocolate and espresso.

Thoughts:

Pretty much a dram for those who want to be thrilled by a Sherry bomb blasting all their senses away.

It’s all very dramatic but somehow it does feel like the concentrated heaviness is a bit forced and manufactured.

Nicholas

Whisky Review: Kavalan Solist Bourbon Cask B100723021A

Style: Sweet and Spritely

Nose:

Delicate orange flower infused with a rich thread of mint candy. A rather tight and raw aroma which needs a bit of time to unlock. Once it opens up, malty, syrupy core, batter cupcake. A touch of acid pop, some coconut shreds. Sweet with an oily texture.

Palate:

On the palate, wow, you can immediately feel the youthfulness of the dram, but not very new make-y. Orange drop with spirit menthol on the first wave. Spice at searing intensity. A mix of white flower and creamy malt cake. Nice sweetness. Oak emerges overtime giving a visible bitterness. Slight saltiness lingers till the end.

Finish:

White oak with a jolt of dry barley husk. Malty notes extend for a short while. Subtle salted caramel popcorn and crystallized fruits to finish.

Thoughts:

I remember Ian talks about how the quality of Kavalan Bourbon casks peaked at 2.5 years and will slowly fall off after that. Personally it feels there is an asymmetry of the (im)maturity of the spirit and the amount of oakiness injected into the whisky. Maybe a few months more it will be overoaked while the spirit remains at a relatively young phase… On the other hand, you can see the multiple facets of sweetness displayed here in the spirit – Floral, fruity, confectioneries, sweet and creamy. Close to a tick.

[57.1% • 2010 Distilled • Original Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength Non Coloured Non Chill Filtered • 2 of 199 Bottles • No Age Statement • x+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique W121213065A (Bottled exclusively for Australia & New Zealand)

You’re Invited: An evening of Kavalans

We are very pleased to officially announce that on 18 May 2017, we will be cracking six rather special offerings from Kavalan distillery in Taiwan.

The line up of the evening is as follows (The pours are ~20ml):

Kavalan Cask S090306002

This is a bottling selected by “Brother Tiger”, a famed figure active at the Hong Kong and Taiwan whisky scenes.  The bottling is nicknamed “Extremely Dark” and to say that is a fair representation is perhaps an understatement.

Kavalan Cask AM100618001A

A Kavalan Amontillado cask.  Its sister casks have been well received by the international whisky community of late and they are certainly some of the highlights of Kavalan’s current corp of offerings.

Kavalan Cask S100203018A

This bottling is specifically bottled for the Nectar, the Belgium based whisky importer/independent bottler, to celebrate their 10th year anniversary.

Kavalan Cask S081217015

This bottling is specifically bottled for La Maison Du Whisky to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of their Singaporean operation.  This was a big hit at Whisky Live Singapore 2016.

Kavalan Cask S100125026A

A recent Whisky Exchange bottling.

Mystery Kavalan Bottling

???

All will be revealed in due course.
Thank you to World of Whisky Double Bay for providing the venue.  We will kick things off at 6:30 pm.

Please send us an email at whisknick@gmail.com for cost info and to reserve you place.

We hope to see you there, until then…

Dram well & be thankful.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Kavalan Solist Manzanilla

[57.8%・NAS・Bottled Circa. 2015-2016・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Melted vanilla ice cream on the nose with the rich, concentrated fruitiness from dried Filipino mango slices. The White oak note forms a bridge for the fruitiness to transition to a salty note. A direct and bold approach without unnecessary detours.

Palate & Finish:

A big and sturdy delivery on the palate with the sherry characters oozing out. Poached ripe figs and plums with a wee hint of saltiness on the tip of the tongue. A hazelnut cream note follows with heartwarming cinnamon spices.

A gentle vanilla cream note sips out from the robust oaky element in the finish.

Thoughts:

I recently read a piece by Chip Tsao critically comparing sweet and sour pork to his experience of dining at Noma Sydney. I didn’t have the fortune to secure a booking at Noma but I can’t help but wonder if this may just be the deep fried ice cream of whiskies, a loud and rich dram with no intention of being sophisticated.

However, I’ve come to conclude that this is a conscious decision on Kavalan’s part to produce a whisky that is unapologetically indulgent, they are simply giving the people what they want!

It may not be an once-in-a-lifetime enlightenment for your senses like an evening at Noma but I suppose there is something inherently satisfying about getting something exactly as expected, even for a thinking man.

☆ [Recommended]

Nicholas

Dram Review: Kavalan Solist Moscatel

[55.6%・NAS・Bottled Circa. 2015-2016・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

The Kavalan Solist Moscatel is one of the four new Solist releases Australia is getting this year. Along with the fino, it’s a series dedicated to the horizontal juxtaposition of various sherry strains. The last time I have come across a project similar to this was the Tomatin cuatro series but those were only cask finishes.

Kavalan benefits from being in the warmer climate, resulting in escalated maturation for their whiskies. Time is not one of their main considerations when investing in a project like this, a direction old world distilleries would have been hesitant to pursue in the past.

Nose:

The nose opens with an elegant dried ginger note. There is a hint of menthol but the main emphasis is on the charred wood note. It’s spicy, and it exhibits some dried fruit sweetness and acidity.

Palate & Finish:

Sweet fruits drenched in brown sugar in the palate. The fruits gravitate towards the acidic side with a salty and oily mouthfeel. The spices follow through with a menthol burn.

The fruitiness grows more youthful and appealing in the finish. It’s a dram that awards patience.

☆ [Recommended]

Nicholas