Wednesday 17 April 2013

Tasted #14: Kavalan Soloist (Sherry cask) cask strength

A few months ago a colleague and I were chatting about whisky, and he mentioned he'd just gotten a bottle of Taiwanese whisky from a colleague who bought it duty-free. Not having tried a Taiwanese whisky before, we agreed to swap drams - he'd bring a sample of the Kavalan to work, and I'd bring a sample of whatever he chose (which turned out to be the Starward Australian single malt).

A few weeks later I was reading "Whisky Advocate" and found a great article on the Kavalan distillery - I had no idea it was such a highly regarded distilery (nor did I know Jim Murray had given two of their sherried drams 95 and 97 respectively!) Needless to say, at that point I was even more eager to try the dram..

(Sadly I got the dram during a self-imposed week-long alcohol ban due to Tough Mudder, so as soon as that was over, with the physical pain still lingering slightly, it was time to crack open the Kavalan....)

Kavalan Soloist (Sherry) cask strength (58.6% ABV, non-chill filtered, bottle 116/587 from cask S060626022)

Colour: Rich, thick, syruppy, and dark, dark brown. Probably the darkest whisky I've seen in a long time (natural colour too).

Nose: Medicinal sweetness. Reminds me of those sickly sweet cough syrups I used to be fed as a kid when I was sick. Almost rum-like. Certainly pleasant, just very different to any whisky I've tried before.

Palate: Initially dry, but the sherry sweetness quickly comes through, followed by the full mouthfeel of the (58.6%) cask strength. This is an extremely sweet whisky - the sherry influence is almost overpowering. Very smooth though - the ABV had me worried it might be a harsh dram, but that's not the case at all.

Finish: Warming, residual sweetness on the back of the tongue, smooth to the end. 

Certainly an enjoyable dram, but not for the faint of heart.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100

 - Martin.

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