One of the nicest souvenirs one can bring from a distillery visit is without a doubt a bottle that you can only buy there. So I brought one for my buddy Manny and myself a Distillery Reserve from Kavalan. They come in 300ml bottles from different cask types. When I was there in January, they had a rum cask and a peaty cask. The rum cask Kavalan went to Holland, the other one stayed in Belgium and is now open on my desk. Funny detail: I have bottle 002 of 301. Bottle 001 was not available as it went into the distillery archive. Lovely, aromatic nose on all kinds of white fruit: coconut, gooseberry, quince and apples. Some vanilla and candy floss. Underneath is a lovely hint of smoke, but not dominant. As if this was a vatting of bourbon casks with just one peaty cask in the mix. Who knows? But it’s lovely, that’s for sure. And truth be told, reminds me more of a Talisker than Kavalan. I’m cool with that. It could have used a little more body, but the taste is just fine. First some white fruit like on the nose, then quickly followed by lemon juice and orange peel, a bouquet of wild flowers and honey and then the peat explodes. Yes, good. The development of smoke is pleasant and grand. Becomes a bit spicy midplate. White pepper, ginger. A touch of tannins for a drying note, but it remains juicy enough so you don’t have to pull a face. Those tannins continue in the finish and the fruit becomes the dried variety. At the death, a green and herbal note from the fading peat manifest itself. This is a three-stage-rocket that keeps getting better. Good nose, great taste and fantastic finish. Lovely souvenir!