Introduced in 2016, Taiwanese Single Malt Kavalan Sherry Oak uses the same casks that are normally reserved for the cask-strength Solist releases, but diluted to 46% using Kavalan spring water. Sweet and oily with notes of dried fruit, dark chocolate and pepper.
Kavalan’s unique sub-tropical environment allows the whisky to soak up heavy amounts of that richness in a short amount of time, making the whisky incredibly decadent.
Even before nosing this whisky, you know it’s something special, by the way it pours. It’s thicker, oozier and more viscous, even noticeable on its travels between the bottle and glass.
Appearance: Invitingly dark and a rich autumnal orange/red. Coats the entire glass as it’s swirled and hangs on for it’s life, before slowly letting go and melting down the sides.
Nose: Unsurprisingly sherry and oak waft out of the glass. Such warming aromas that is hard not to just drive in and skip the time this whisky deserves on the nose. I have to consiously tell myself to continue to nose and savour the experience.
Once acclimatised to the sherry and oak you can easily pick up butterscotch, forest fruits, bananas, citrus and feint Christmas spices and more bananas! So much going on, you could (with the willpower) sit for an age nosing this.
Palate: That sherry copper is the first flavour to hit, but very quickly washed over by a umptious butter, chocolate and cake batter, you want to stick your finger in to scoop some up! The sherry stays, but almost gets upstaged by the delectability of the mouth feel and various homemade sweet baking tastes that appear. There’s a slight spiciness lingering through all of this, but, for me, it’s not prominent, but simply compliments all the other flavours.
Finish: The sherry retakes centre stage for the finish. It’s a very smooth conclusion, thanks to the butter, chocolate and cakey influences.
Overall: in case you hadn’t noticed from my gushing above, I think this stuff is outstanding. It’s such a great dram that, even at about £100, I think it’s underpriced. I can’t recommend it highly enough!