In my trip to Munich in November 2017, I happened upon a speciality spirit shop. As usual, a lively conversation about different whisky distilleries ensued. However I had a very specific quest – to try and find something I could not buy anywhere else.
DeCavo fit the bill perfectly. Now the challenge is that the very thing that makes an unusual whisky so interesting… also means further details can be elusive.
What I could find out is that DeCavo is from the Brandenburg specialty distillery based in Hagen with the name inspired by their practice of storing barrels in a cave (Dechenhöhle) for maturation… hence it is called “German cave whisky”…
That being said, it isn’t clear whether the bottle I acquired is a malt spirit or old enough to be called whisky. What can be misleading is you can have a “single malt” that is still a spirit i.e. under 3 years and hence not yet what those in Scotland and Europe would call “whisky.”
Above all… what matters most to us is what did we think?
DeCavo Handcrafted Single Malt Batch 10, Cask 92 46%
- Nose – Yum! Banana – to be more precise cooked and caramelized banana crepe, bubblegum, berries, banofee pie, cinnamon candy… after some time unmistakable coconut like Malibu rum! Or that Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion… Kept shifting into a bit of bay leaf, worm wood, vanilla… and even rum with Christmas pudding notes. Delicious nose!
- Palate – Striped candy, toffee, wood, there was some substance here not just frothy sweet, almost like a quality liqueur, creamier on the palate with a lightly toasted element
- Finish – Tight, hints of licorice
- Water – Brings out the spice, reveals a musty slightly bitter finish
There was absolutely no doubt this was the surprise of the evening! And an absolute delight. I don’t think anyone imagined how much we would enjoy this German dram. It was truly exceedingly tasty and what an interesting inviting nose!
So I dug around to find out more and found out the following:
Jim Murray not only helped us fill the first barrel, but also tested our DeCavo Hand Crafted Single Malt and added it to the whiskey Bible. We are looking forward to an outstanding 91 out of 100 points. Together with an indication of the impressive quality of the distillate, which has already been ripened for several months, and the explanation that he can hardly wait to be able to rate it as whiskey in two years. He describes the taste of the DeCavo Hand Crafted Single Malt as a citrus-toning, attractive, oily, juicy, malty and “smacking delicious”. In addition, he points out that bottlings with such a high score fall into his personal category “brilliant”.
- Color: light copper
- Nose: milk chocolate, vanilla and caramel as with crème brûlée, nutty, dried fruit, some marzipan
- Taste: Vanilla, caramel, nutty, dried apple, fresh pastries
This bottle was purchased at Wien Laden in Munich in November 2017.
My European Explorations with the Bombay Malt & Cigar gents included:
- France – Domaine Des Hautes Glace Organic Single Malt 42%
- Belgium – Gouden Carolus 3 years 46% – Bonus from our host!
- Italy – Puni Nova Bourbon Cask, Batch #2 (2015) 43%
- Switzerland – Forty Three Swiss Highland Single Malt Whisky 43%
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