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If you've been reading my reviews thus far, you know that I've decided to take it upon myself to get the word out about Taiwanese whiskies. I'm doing this for three reasons. One, I live here so they're both accessible and cheap (says the guy on a budget). Two, they're often overlooked because they aren't widely available in the west. And three, they're damn good. Obviously there's a lot of talk out there about Scotland and the other heavy hitters like America, Canada, and Japan. But there's some great up and coming scenes in the world of whisky like Europe, India, and, naturally, Taiwan.
Here's a personal favorite; Kavalan Soloist Sherry, released at cask strength. No age statement, but given the distillery has only be open for 7 years, we can assume it's quite young. Presented with a beautiful dark raisin colour. Here we go.
Nose: Sherry notes, but not typical. Loads of raisins and dates, prunes, nuts, cinnamon, and bitter dark chocolate. Extremely dry and very earthy. Deep, dark, caramel. Here's a new one for me... balsamic vinegar, without being acidic. Complex and unique.
Palate: Quite an oily texture. Dry. Dried sweet plum. Bitter chocolate and roasted nuts. Dates, raisins, and Christmas cake, building towards a crescendo of intense spices. Very layered. Finishes with dried fruits again and deep oak notes.
This is different than typical sherry bombs. Firstly, it's more intense. Secondly, it's not as sickly sweet as others. There's some caramel and syrup notes, of course, but they're not overwhelming. This is a dry whisky in the best kind of way. The roasted, bitter notes offer a level of sophistication that's a step up from some lesser, oversweetened drams. It doesn't depend on syrup or caramel. They've taken a backseat to let the fruity notes flex their muscles. Loving this bitter intensity. Very rich and complex. Wow.
This one is a personal favorite. It's distinctive, sophisticated, rich, intense, and complex. Absolutely wonderful dram.