Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique (Official Bottling)
57.7% ABV, ~£100 for 70cl available from [Master of Malt]
What they say [http://www.kavalanwhisky.com/en/examine/10.asp]:
Vinho is fully matured in used American oak wine barrels that have been toasted and recharred in a way that brings out fruity vanilla notes from the whisky and wood overlaid on a delicate background of complex fruitiness. The oak casks are made from American oak that has been seasoned in the open air for at least 24 months. The oak is slow grown that results in a greater release of flavours into the whisky. This reduces the astringent effect of tannins and releases more vanilla spiciness and hints of herbs such as dill and lemon grass. The result is softness and added complexity.
The casks have (deliberately) been used to mature both red and white wines which eventually will contribute the background complex fruitiness to Kavalan Solist Vinhos. After their use for wine maturation the casks are carefully shaved inside then gently toasted over an oak chip fire for a strictly controlled period of time and temperature. This converts wine residues into a complex mixture of fruit flavours including lime, berry fruits and peaches. Then the casks are charred for a short period of time to release lashings of flavours such as vanilla, ice cream and caramelised sugars.
The result is a more complex whisky than is possible than with whisky casks alone!
Colour: Deep autumn gold
Nose: A rich fusion of vanilla and caramelized sugars with dark chocolate on top. Ripe melon and mango together with kiwi and a delicate blend of citrus fruits burst. Pepper is also present in the background waiting to be noticed. This bouquet is simply a sensational feast to your olfactory organ…
Palate: The taste ends with clean and complex flavours embodying all that is best in the finest malt whiskies and a long aftertaste.
What I say:
We have been desperately trying to get hold of some Kavalan or King Car Distillery whisky for awhile. They have been winning awards hand over fist recently so we suspected they must be doing something right with their whisky. Always fond of interesting finishes we plumped for the Solist Vinho Barrique expression and were not disappointed!
Blood red ruby
Perfumed/fragrant herbal rosemary, toffee, orange, peach, acetone, port and red wine, strawberry, blackcurrant and cherry like Ribena or Vimto concentrate
Warming and mellow, juicy fruits, strawberry, peach, plum, blackcurrant, watermelon, brown sugar, woody oak hint of cayenne pepper
Fruity and sour, slightly drying with a spicy bitterness
Would I buy it again:
Absolutely this is a simply stunning expression from the Taiwanese King Car Distillery and has left us looking forward to trying many, many more! The cask maturation bestows the whisky with a breath-taking array of fruit flavours and complexity.