Type: Taiwan Single Malt Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon. ex-Sherry, ex-Wine
Added coloring: Yes
Owner: King Car Group
Average price: € 65.00
Official website: www.kavalanwhisky.com
Before China takes it back (or at least tries to), let’s return to Taiwan and its best-known distillery with one of the staples of its portfolio, which started out in 2008 as Kavalan Single Malt before taking its current name.
A shower of awards started piling up a couple of years after its debut, especially after beating three scotches in a blind tasting, bringing the label into the empyrean of the best-known (and most expensive) whiskies outside the classic western triangle.
Accelerated maturation due to the climate, a multitude of casks for the maturation (the ex-wine casks come from different countries including Spain and California), with the distillery itself suggesting its consumption diluted in water in a 1 to 5 ratio.
I hope they won’t be offended if I try it pure….
The first impression to emerge from the glass is gum, just the kind used for erasing, which soon melts into an effluvia of molasses and brown sugar punctuated by ripe plums, baked apple, candied tropical fruit, cashews, chestnut honey. Slight caress of wood in the background, with spicy outcrops (nutmeg, aniseed). A very dense and vigorous, multifaceted nose, more reminiscent of certain ryes than a single malt, creating considerable expectations.
Expectations partly disappointed by a rather light body, in which all the impetuosity of the nose is shattered by the minimal alcohol content. Spices dominate, red fruits and sultanas take centre stage, with the vinous aspects embodied in a substantial acidity and some tannic lashings, with the roughness of wood and leather in the background. Along the length, a slight balsamic vein appears and cane sugar and molasses resurface.
The finish is quite short and tannic, of nuts, red fruits and spices.
A very distinctive nose doesn’t find complicity on the palate, where certainly the minimal alcohol content doesn’t help but I have the impression that it’s precisely the multitude of casks that unbalances the flavours. But as an entry level (albeit not exactly cheap) it may fit.