This year the biggest winner in MMA is still Kavalan, their Solist Sherry Cask won 4 category awards, including Supreme Champion. Aiming for the luxury market, Kavalan's marketing strategy has always been controversial, they put price tags on their 3yo Solists above most 18yo scotch single malts, but the price doesn't stop people from buying their whiskies. Kavalan's sales volume has boosted 390% in the USA this year, while the total sales in EU is more than twice of the sales in the USA. It seems the top-tier customers are crazy about Kavalan.
The reviewed bottle is a 196ml sample of Sherry Oak cask strength which I recently bought in Kavalan's anniversary sale. After the bottling of single casks the remains were mixed and bottled as samples, so there's just Sherry Oak on the label, but it's about the same as Solist on ABV. Kavalan has diluted their Solists samples from 57% to 54% for a while, so this is probably an older batch. The bottle has been opened for two weeks.
Nose: Big, ripe and fruity. Raisin, syrup, sherry, plum, orange and cherry brandy.
Palate: Woody, the texture is oily and thick. Mango, cinnamon, sour cherry, white pepper, basil and burnt wood. The crisp red fruits hits first, followed by dried herbs, cola and oaky bitterness, making a nice twist in the middle.
Finish: Dark chocolate, barely, nutmeg, roasted peanuts and coconuts. Medium length with clean cut.
Balance: Huge flavors but restrained by the bitterness, all those sweet sherry, sour fruits, spicy herbs and bitter tannin jamming together, just wonderful.
Thoughts: This whisky needs some time to soften, the fruits will come out nicely, better enjoy without adding water. Not youngish in every aspect, heavy and profound, big on flavor, unlike anything I tasted before. Although the price is not so approachable, but this is a must try for every whisky lover.