We’re seeing a lot of single cask Kavalan releases these days, bottled for different retailers around the world, mostly #S060821… casks. There’s cask #S060821049 that received a Gold medal in the recent Malt Maniacs Awards, sister cask #…047 bottled for LMdW among others and this #…045 for the Belgian whisky shop TastToe.
It’s quite surprising they are all said to be natural strength yet exactly 57,8%. Maybe Taiwan allows of higher deviations for alcohol measuring, and printing the same tube is cheaper? Or maybe the processes are meticulously executed, the Asian way.
While Kavalan’s bottles and tubes don’t mention ages or vintages directly, this information can be decoded from cask numbers and bottling codes. For instance #S060821045: S for Sherry, distilled 21st of August 2006, and the 45th barrel that day. The sticker at the back mentions the bottling date and hour, so you can deduct the age (just below 7 years in this case).
Kavalan Solist sherry 2006 (57,8%, OB for TastToe 2013, sherry cask #S060821045)
Nose: an intense sherry nose which starts exclusively on polished oak, with hints of turpentine / oil paint varnish and eucalyptus. Really elegant. After a while these notes disappear and it grows wider, with lots of raisins and cherry jam. Redcurrants, plum juice and mirabelles. Cassis. Very fruity although the polished oak remains present, and brings some cinnamon and walnut skins.
Mouth: again very intense. Balsamic notes alongside strawberries, black cherries and rum and raisins. Bananas flambéed. Prunes and blackberries. Big spices (cloves, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon bark) up to the point where it becomes velvety and rather tannic (although I’ve had worse from Kavalan in this respect). Dark chocolate, coffee and whiffs of menthol.
Finish: long, dry, oaky, with bitter chocolate and herbs.
A sherry powerhouse, very dense and highly influenced by the wood. Impressive for a 6 year-old, I guess most of the quality is achieved by selecting an excellent cask. The dry palate made me hesitate to go up to 90 points, but the nose is just too good. Around € 150.