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Kavalan ex-Bourbon Oak

Oops! I dropped a macaroon on a varnished floor

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@cricklewoodReview by @cricklewood

26th Sep 2017


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

More of the Kavalan tastings session I attended.

So if you're looking for clarity in the haze of releases from this distillery, here's what I gather. There are the Solist releases that are the "cherry picked" single barrels at cask strength (the two most available are ex-bourbon and ex-sherry). Then there are large vattings of the casks that we're not good enough for the Solist that get bottled at high proof. Lastly there is the rest of the crap bottled at 46%...ok maybe that's not quite how it goes.

Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Oak: NAS 46% abv. The name says it all.

Nose: It is kind of mute at first, coconut, a fair amount of varnish. jujubes, carnuba wax. I have to stick my nose in it to get something, creamy, rising pastries...not much else.

Palate: Bitter sweet, all on oaky vanilla, coconut & toffee. Sharp on the attack, it has a bit of charred wood, it's got that pleasant bourbon barrel thing, sweet and woody, liquid toffee.

The finish is light, more jujubes, wine gums a bit of creamy butter and coconut oils.

Grade C+ (these are quick reviews so I'm going with letter grade)

The nose was practically non existant and rather uninspiring, the palate had a sharpness that was off-putting and then it was like an 80's movie lots of T&A with not much content.

The boring opinions bit:

In a quick browse of reviews of the lower strength offerings of Kavalan, they generally get pretty lukewarm reviews, the bourbon vatting is extremely disappointing. I would be tempted to say it shows the limitations of the hot climate/young whisky scheme but I am really smitten with the basic Amrut single malt which functions on similar principals but is in every way superior to this.

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