Kavalan has been expanding both in stature and in sheer offerings in the mere 11 years that have passed since their first distillation, in March 2006. There are currently close to 20 offerings from the distillery, from the Kavalan range, through the Solist and the Premium series – offered in a plethora of cask finishes.
The whisky is undeniably fabulously made and has been consistently featured on the award lists of the only serious, non commercial, blind tasted annual award – the Malt Maniacs Awards. You all know my opinion of proclamations, bibles and medals, but this one case different, as these guys both know their stuff and there are no commercial interests and no entry fees whatsoever involved, to the point that the judges pay for the postage of the samples to them (thus, the only thing a producer can do to influence the results is to send in a bottle to be judged, or choose not to).
With this recognition, came a sure footedness in the whisky world that is both endearing and troubling. Every Solist I’ve tasted was very good, and some were outstanding. And while most of the range is priced on the very high end of current market value (€115-£110 for the Bourbon Cask, Brandy Cask and Port Cask to about €130 for the Sherry Cask), there are two Solist expressions that are priced in the “raised eyebrow” category, and four sherry type casks priced squarely in the outrageous range (although they do have a lovely ribbon and embossed medal around their necks). That’s truly a shame.
Anyway, on to our tasting for today, a bottle of the Peaty Cask bottled for LMDW’s 60th anniversary, which we had at the May meeting of our Malt Mongers Israel club.
Kavalan Selection Peaty Cask – La Maison du Whisky 60th Anniversary, Batch R070423071, 600 Bottles (52.4%)
Appearance: Bronze, very sturdy thick necklace.
Nose: Very rich nose, smokey and burnt with burnt butter and perfume. Wood glue and wood shavings, with honey and vanilla – a true wood workshop scent. A lot of bourbon influence. Water brings out some perfume.
Palate: Rough oak, sweet ash, wood dryness spicy and a sweetness in the background. Water brings out some sourness. With time it becomes ashier.
Linger: Honey, a little on the sour side, peat and sweet fruit on the back of the tongue. Slight fizz on the back of the tongue.
Fascinating dram albeit somewhat weird. Quality is evident, but I prefer the fortified wine editions of the Kavalans.