Welcome to KWM Whisky Advent Day 23 – Kavalan Sherry Oak 54%
Kavalan has been a rising star globally as well as in our store for 3-4 years now. Even though the distillery and its whiskies are fairly new, they have the feel of an established brand in our shop! We touched on Kavalan on Whisky Advent Day 5 with the Kavalan Bourbon Oak 54%. Like tonight’s whisky, the Kavalan Sherry Oak 54%, these 50mls are bottled to be an approximation of what people can expect when they buy one of Kavalan’s Solist whiskies. Because the Solists are single cask there will always be a little variation from cask to cask. It is also kind of a nuisance to bottle 50mls (I have a little experience in this field), let alone single cask 50mls, so Kavalan does a batch bottling of each of the Solists. There isn’t as much to say about Kavalan as some older Scottish distilleries, because it is a relatively new producer. So I hope you’ll excuse me going off on a tangent tonight, because there is another story that just won’t die and I’m really enjoying my wee bottle of Kavalan…
By now I’m sure you are aware of the hoopla surrounding the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye’s selection as World Whisky of the Year by a single whisky writer who’s name need not be mentioned. I will admit that I do think it is a fine expression of Crown Royal (not the best CR I’ve had) and certainly worthy of trying, especially for $42. It is also nice to see Crown Royal bottling Canadian whiskies with more than just a dash of rye in them. Spoiler alert! Most Canadian whiskies are made mostly from corn, and under Canadian law you need not have any rye grain in the whisky at all and you can still call it a Rye Whisky. Long story short, if you missed my comments the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, while I think it is good, I don’t feel it is anywhere near World Whisky of the Year.
Why have I dredged all of this back up again? I’m glad you asked, because there was another World Whisky of the Year proclaimed in 2015, this one by a panel of industry experts, rather than one man. It was the Kavalan Solist Vinho (SOLD OUT), a sister bottling to tonight’s whisky, Whisky Magazine’s World Whisky of the Year 2015. It too caught many by surprise, but perhaps did not generate anywhere near as much soundbite worthy buzz for the Press to recycle as the contentious selection of Crown Royal. This is largely because selection of the Kavalan Solist Vinho, while an exceptional incident, was a more well reasoned selection and one accepted by World’s whisky diaspora. Even before the Vinho’s award, I tried to get some for my Advent Calendar, but to no avail… fingers crossed for next year. In the meantime I hope you’ll enjoy the Kavalan Sherry Oak 54%, an approximation of the Kavalan Solist Sherry, and that it warms you up on this cold winter’s night!
Kavalan Sherry Oak 54% - 54% – No Age Statement – Oloroso Sherry – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: a classic big Oloroso sherry matured whisky; very nutty, cracked walnuts and candied pecans, expensive new leather gloves and raisins drizzled in honey; Palate: huge sherry notes, a big friendly monster brimming with excitement; more raisins in honey, but also some grilled bacon wrapped figs filled with blue cheese and more soft leather; layers of spice, tobacco and dark chocolate; espresso beans and more nutty tones; Finish: long, rich and layered; the finish flows out slowly in waves; Comment: shame they don’t bottle this in 750mls, but the Solist Sherry never disappoints; similar notes to this one, but with subtle to moderate differences from cask to cask. – $161.99