Type: Taiwan Single Malt Whisky
Ageing barrels: American Oak
Added coloring: No
Owner: King Car Group
Average price: € 55.00
Official website: www.kavalanwhisky.com
Before the emergence of NAS, whiskies with no declared age, the time spent by the spirit in the cask was a fact which, when stated on the label, gave the bottle a sense of prestige directly proportional to the number of years indicated.
Hence the massive use, even today, of caramel colouring to make whiskies darker in appearance, precisely to give the idea of ageing that in the collective imagination is associated with warm, amber colours.
If in Scotch (and other whiskies) the time spent in casks can give an initial idea of what to expect in the glass, with tropical whiskies things change quite a bit.
For example, the Taiwanese distillery Kavalan (named after the people who used to live in the production area, Yilan County) only produces NAS because, due to the climate on the island of Taiwan, whisky is affected by barrels and climate much more quickly than in northern Europe, to the extent that a distillate that is a couple of years old is (formally) equivalent to almost a Scottish 10-year, and declaring age could be misleading.
This is why, despite only being in business since 2005, Kavalan already has a well-stocked portfolio of bottlings, some of which have received high-level recognition in just a few years.
The bottle we are discussing today caused me a bit of a headache in finding information: it can be found both as Distiller’s Select and Distillery Select (even on their website!), apparently without any distinction, although there are photos of bottles with both labels.
I’m sticking with the bottle from which I took the sample, which had the name in the title on the label.
The colour is dark caramel (all natural).
The nose is sweet yet pungent, with caramel, aniseed, plums, pineapple and a hint of pepper. In the background, there’s a hint of rubber which gradually fades but remains present.
On the palate, the fruity flavours are reinforced, remaining enveloped by caramel, with the addition of milk chocolate and a marked saline note. The flavours are a bit fleeting, flashes appearing and disappearing in the mouth, without much substance, quickly allowing the alcohol and the rubber perceived on the nose to emerge.
The finish is quite short, fruity and salty with a touch of spice.
It has to be said that, in both its appellations, this bottle is indicated for blending, hence the not-so-strong and complex personality, which barely touches sufficiency.