Our whisky ladies evening from the far east continued with a Kavalan comparison… After setting the stage with Concertmaster, the real symphony crashed on our senses with the remarkable Solist Sherry Cask. To say it hit some amazing high notes is an understatement!
Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask No S1001200358, Bottle No 025/507 57.8%
- Colour – Unbelievable colour! Like ruby coffee or a very dark maple syrup
- Nose – Astounding. Coffee, prunes, rum soaked, very berry sherry, hazelnut, maple syrup, vanilla, raisins, almond and marzipan, sweet toffee, figs and other dried fruits
- Palate – “Wow!” A flood of warm buttery yum. Like a hot rum toddy or warm mulled wine. Cloves, black pepper, allspice. Dry and chewy.
- Finish – Absolutely gorgeous finish, rich, long and lingering… “The finish just doesn’t end!”
- Comments – “Giving me shivers up my spine!” “Quite heady and heavy” “Now THIS is a symphony unlike the Concertmaster!!”
Overall, we found this is the kind of whisky where a little goes a long way. It certainly isn’t one you would want to much of… Instead just one dram and you would be completely satisfied. Some compared it to a chewy chocolate candy like those ‘melody’ wrapped toffee coffee chocolate candies. It is a remarkable whisky – very different, big, rich, intense and one that requires you pay attention.
However, before moving on, we decided to experiment with adding water. Normally when we add water, it is just a few drops, however instinct prompted a different approach here… in part as it is cask strength and in part as its intensity begged a little taming…
- A couple drops – Punched it up to make it even more forceful. It was as though the volume, already quite high, was increased to a thundering crescendo! Cranked up the spices, the sweetness and pushed it into the territory of “I’m not sure I still like this anymore…”
- A good dollop – Yes it did dampen the forceful quality brought out by only a few drops, however nothing new was revealed. It simply mellowed into the hot rum toddy style with just a tinge less kick
- Ice cube – “Holy mother of… !?” Transforms. Normally we find ice ‘shocks’ the whisky – not in a good way. Here? Released a beautiful sweet perfume on the nose. The first hint of something more delicate beneath all the sherry strength. And the palate? Morphs into a smooth, gorgeous sipping whisky that perfectly cuts the sweet. With ice you could settle down, sip, savour and continue to enjoy this unique whisky… perhaps even greedily coming back for more.
Here is what the folks over at Kavalan have to say:
Matured in Spanish top quality oloroso sherry casks in special editions, Kavalan Solist Sherry is bottled by hand at the distillery, without any colouring, chill-filtration. It is a naturally smooth and rich whisky with a complex character. It is clean and complex with multi-layers of dried fruit, nuttiness and spices with some marzipan and vanilla touches to it as well.
- Colour – Dark and mouth-watering raisin
- Nose – Clean and complex with multi-layers of dried fruit, nuttiness and spices with some marzipan and vanilla touches to it as well
- Palate – Rich, oily and full with pleasant dried fruit and spices that linger on in the mouth plus a hint of fine coffee