For a few years now, Kavalan from Taiwan has done rather well in the world whisky awards department – with good reason.
As the Malt Maniacs 2016 awards were released there was a lot of chatter in one Mumbai whisky WhatsApp group. Kavalan had clearly dominated – sweeping with the ‘Supreme Champion’ award, Ultra premium, Premium… with an insane 6 Gold awards, 13 Silver awards and 4 Bronze awards.
As Keith Wood shared the Malt Maniacs report, they “received 23 different cask entries of Kavalan; 2 bourbon, 3 port and 18 different sherry casks. At this point I must add that Kavalan themselves only entered the permitted 3 bottles, all others were from private cask owners.”
I thought of this development as I brushed off notes from a sampling of a 2015 Malt Maniac entry… here is what I found…
Kavalan Solist NAS Sherry Cask S081229026 55.6% 08 Bottle 421/527
- Nose – More saccharin than honey, sweet prunes, dry fruits, heaps of dark chocolate
- Palate – More mellow, sweet spices, cinnamon and oak bark, teasingly playful, peppers dipped in sugar
- Finish – Very sweet finish, exceedingly long and lovely
What makes this one interesting is that it is vibrant, not mature and bursting with character. It may not be the most sophisticated whisky you will find, but it has a certain something that draws you back.
That’s just what Kavalan has accomplished with its Solist series – each single cask has a distinctive character. It may be in a similar family yet distinctive – take 2010’s casks S1001200358 vs S1001290048. All Solist single casks have unique qualities and can clearly stand on their own too. That cannot be said of all single casks.
Other whiskies sampled that evening with Krishna included:
- Undeclared 22 year (8-1990/11-2012) 46% CS No 5162(7?) Sherry Butt, Chieftains Collection 693 Bottles (MM 87)
- Glenlivet 19 year (30 Oct 1995/9 Sep 2015) 58.1% CS No 166951, Sherry Butt, Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection 431526 (MM 86)
- Amrut 5 year (5-2010/6-2015) 56.5% CS No 3823 Olorosso Sherry for Taiwan Bottle 1/600 (MM 86)
- Kavalan Solist NAS Sherry Cask S081229026 55.6% 08 Bottle 421/527 (MM 89)
- Benriach 20 year (1994/2014) 54.7% S No 808 Olorosso Sherry Peated OB for Taiwan Bottle 84/678 (MM 84)
Other whiskies previously sampled with Krishna:
- Mumbai Malt Maniacs Rare Malts – Auchentoshan 40% (1980s), Port Ellen 26 year 1982 50%,Lagavulin 16 year 43% (1980s)
- Glendronach grand dames 39 – 42 year 1972/2011, 1971/2011/2012/2013
- Karuizawa 39 year 1973/2013 Cask No 1607 67.7%
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