First things first…I’m almost as big a fan of Taiwan’s Kavalan as I am of Amrut or Karuizawa. Let’s all face up to it together…there are some rather spectacular whiskies come out of the far corners of the world. Asia, in particular. I’ve shared notes on some of the big cask strength Kavalans from the Solist range, so how ’bout we look at one of the more wallet-friendly expressions now?
This is Kavalan Podium. The Kavalan site mentions American oak casks mixed with their own refill casks. Not sure what those refill casks had held previously, but there is certainly some sort of wine/sherry influence at work here. That guesswork is a bit of what is rubbing a couple mates of mine the wrong way. Kavalan play their cards closer to the chest than Doc Holliday at a Faro table. Finding out anything related to these whiskies is difficult, to say the least, and occasionally an exercise in futility. Interestingly enough…I’ve heard that even a trip to the distillery does not really do much more in the way of illumination. Oh well. We can be a little more forgiving here with our world whiskies, I suppose, as these drams aren’t being governed under the strict protocol of the SWA.
Irrespective of what we know or don’t know about these whiskies from Taiwan, if you simply let your senses be your guide you’ll find out the only truly important thing that need be discerned: is it good stuff? And for the most part…the answer is yes.
Nose: Lychee nuts. Some borderline tropical notes. Cadbury Fruit And Nut bar. Cinnamon and ginger snaps. Gummy candy. Some floral and soapy notes. Maybe a whiff of smoke. Orange rind. Maybe a hint of cherry. Slightly wine-y. Little bit of pepper. Finally…some almost barbecue notes.
Palate: Nice initial arrival. Some chocolate and wine again. Some ginger. Pepper. Not a lot of the tropical influence that is hinted at on the nose. Grapes and nuts. Best way I could describe this is ‘peppered green grape skins, sprinkled in pepper and drizzled in sherry’. Touch of leather. Kinda bitters out a bit, but not detrimentally so. Very drinkable, all told.
Thoughts: These lighter Kavalan releases can’t hold a candle to the ethereal beauty of the Solist editions. They’re nice drams, of course, but once you’ve had the big’uns, there’s just no going back.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt