I’ll be totally blunt: My list of samples is right screwed at the moment. Half of it’s ready to go, and the other half exists in a state of disarray, clinging to an old Google sheet that has a big, blocky cutoff. When I’m working on review series, I sometimes grab things from this nebulous part of my shelves, just to revisit them.
Thus I grabbed a new sample, and it turned out to be Kavalan 2010 Sherry Cask The Whisky Exchange, and went “wait, I still have Kavalan samples still around?” I had done a long series awhile ago, and I’m pretty sure there’s more in there.
I’ve had, at the time of writing this review, four other Kavalan sherry whiskies that were aged in sherry casks. Of them, three were picked by the distillery, and one was picked by a fan whisky group. To be completely blunt I found them drenched in their respective sherry casks, and wished they had let some of the whisky itself shine more.
There’s my bias. This will be the second exclusive Kavalan picked, and it was picked by The Whisky Exchange. If you’ve never been to their site, I’ll wait. Back? Yeah, that’s a lot of whisky. So what, right? Could be good at sales, bad at picking.
So I checked my archive, which is less hectic, and lo and behold we’ve got three picks from The Whisky Exchange that I’ve loved.
Ah, that’s why I ended up with this sample: I adore The Whisky Exchange’s picks, and I’m less of a fan of Kavalan. A positive plus a negative equals zero, right? Depends on the positive and the negative.
So let’s see if The Whisky Exchange is going four for four, shall we?
Price: CHF 199
Cask Number: S100125026A
Cask type: Oloroso Sherry Butt
Distilled: January 25, 2010
Number of bottles: 526
Bottled for: The Whisky Exchange
Colour: 7.5R 1/6
Nose: Dates, mineral, cloves, orange, grape, roast pork
Yeah, it’s a sherried Kavalan. Lots of sherry notes.. But wait? What’s that? No, it can’t be… actually wisps of whisky? Around the edges? No, no, this is Kavalan, that doesn’t happen.
But it’s there. And I’m interested. Also mocking aside, it’s quite rich and interesting. Think when someone makes a pork dish with a lot of non-pineapple fruit.
Taste: Toffee, ginger, caramel, peanut, peach
Still very rich. Actually a ton of rich notes, and thank goodness the ginger is there to cut through it. Still very sherry driven, though the caramel/toffee aspects give me pause. That’s what we’re reaching for now, some little elements that are normal in Scotch, but here are special because other Kavalans were drenched by casks so wet that they are being sued by Megan Thee Stallion and Lake Superior for copyright infringement.
Finish: Ginger, plum, tobacco (sweet, vague spice), chocolate, honeycomb
More spice, more sherry, but there’s some interesting honeycomb notes. I know I was mocking this whisky for having whisky notes and not just being drenched to the tits, but this is interesting. Yes, I’m not a tobacco fan, but that honeycomb note is really interesting.
Conclusion: Very sherry dominant (like most Kavalan) however it’s a decent pick, as it’s not just those sherry notes, compared to other releases. I know, I’ve said that enough times.
So would I have bought a bottle, if this wasn’t released 6 years ago? Maybe. Frankly I think Kavalan is trying to be Macallan and Edradour at the same time, which isn’t totally a bad idea and totally a great idea. I want to enjoy it, because one of the first ones I had I loved. Granted the same thing happened with the other two, so maybe, just maybe it’s not totally the whisky’s fault and maybe I’m just not their target market.
This is a rich, fruity, spice filled and sherry dominant whisky. Would I turn down another dram of this? No. Would I go hunting unless I was a hardcore Kavalan fan? Also No.
World Whisky review #438, Taiwan review #16, Whisky Network review #2283