Kavalan is whisky from the Taiwanese King Car Company. With high temperatures and high humidity, they are dealing with a fast forward maturation similar to that of Indian distilleries.
The Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique was matured in American oak casks, first charred, then air-dried for two years, seasoned with (Portuguese) red and white wine, then re-charred, and eventually filled with spirit. This concept was invented by Dr. Jim Swan together with Kavalan as STR casks. The whisky is around 4 years old.
Kavalan Solist ‘Vinho Barrique’
(59,2%, OB 2012, W080225015)
Nose: very aromatic and woody but in a nice way. Lots of cedar and sandalwood, generously polished. Coming close to some Japanese malts in that respect, and some Eastern spices complete this (cardamom, cinnamon). Cherry and plum liqueur, strawberries and Hero Cassis as they love in Holland. Hazelnuts with caramel sweetness.
Mouth: very punchy. There’s a nice fruitiness again (slightly darker now, with blackberries and black cherries), but they’re overpowered with spices and oak tannins. Really intense, but slightly harsh and alcoholic as well. Water is needed and makes is rounder while retaining its flavours. Leather and some toasted hints.
Finish: medium long, sweet and spicy. Drying on dark chocolate.
A very rewarding dram. If you like sherried Japanese malts (Karuizawa or Yamazaki), you will like this as well. Too bad for the slight harshness on the palate. Thanks for the sample, Angelo and Joeri.