This is a sample I got from my friend Michael (who writes Malt & Oak) in exchange for something or other. All he told me was that this is apparently one of the most highly regarded sherry casks from Kavalan’s Solist single cask range.
I’ve tried several other Solist sherry cask bottlings, and my opinion has been quite mixed. See while the quality of the whisky is always beyond reproach, these are massive sherry bombs, and sometimes I find them a bit too rich. I think it entirely depends on my mood, as my relationship with sherry bomb whiskies is an odd one. Sometimes I want nothing to do with it and sometimes I can’t have enough sherry influence.
For such a well regarded bottling I decided to put this aside until my craving for sherry was strong. So I popped it open for dessert after lunch on a cold winter weekend.
Aged 7 years. 58.6%. Matured in a sherry cask. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask S081219007.
Nose: Dark berry cordial. Prunes. Chocolate pudding. Black forest cake. Some underlying dry woody notes. Some sour fruity notes too, like sour peach. Some light spice too, nutmeg and paprika.
Palate: For the first few seconds after my first sip I thought that this was a little reserved for such a high ABV, but then Boom! a huge wave of flavour hit. Starts off with jammy fruits, plum jam specifically. Then sweet red wine (concord), raisins and bitter cacao. There’s a hint of fruity coffee in this, reminds me of a coffee pinotage. And finally some dry wood and fruit tannins on the swallow.
Finish: Long. Dry fruits. Slightly salty. Candied citrus. Chocolate. Coffee with cream. Slight mint creme linger. Like an After-Eight.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
VFM: N/A (More missing details)
Good thing I waited until I was in a sherryish mood because this was a real doozy. Massively rich and astoundingly complex, but so full of sherry all the way along. Rich, chocolate and coffee notes were particularly abundant and the finish was particularly so, were I not in the right mood I’d even say sickeningly so. Beautiful stuff.