I was recently offered a sample of a ‘new’ Kavalan bottling released in the US, filled in 2006 and bottled in 2014.
This was a forgotten bottling, it was imported to the US but the owner changed his mind, it was sent back to Taiwan and so on. To cut things short, it was offered to Whisky Sifu and the San Francisco Whiskey Bourbon & Scotch Society who recently distributed it with a Golden Gate Sunset back label.
As a side note, earlier this week it was announced that master blender Ian Chang will be leaving Kavalan soon. I’m curious whether this would change the future of the distillery.
Kavalan 2006 ‘Golden Gate Sunset’ (58,6%, OB for Whisky SiFu & SFwbss 2014, 479 btl.)
Nose: total sherry immersion, in a very aromatic way. Truckloads of juicy plums and figs, with Portuguese Ginja as well as some eucalyptus scents and old roses. Hints of sherry brandy, even cognac. Chocolate coated raisins. Precious exotic wood. The sherry cask took over the spirit but you cannot deny they picked excellent casks to do just that.
Mouth: a similar hyper-active profile. Raisins, figs, and more towards blackcurrants and cocoa powder now. Cedar wood. Drunken prunes. Dried herbs and black tea.
Finish: very long, slightly tannic, with lots of dark chocolate, hints of tobacco and dark forest fruits.
You might say Kavalan makes engineered whisky, often closer to sherry than to the spirit, but this has an intense profile and an impeccable juiciness. Way too good to be forgotten in any case! I believe bottles are sold out but you may still find it at bars and retailers in the area. Thanks, Roland!