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Kavalan distillery is located in the northern part of Taiwan, 60 kilometres south of Taipei. It was built over an eight month period in 2005 and 2006 and uses copper stills that were constructed in Scotland. The name of 'Kavalan' is taken from a group of indigenous people who once lived in Yi-Lan County where the distillery is based. This 'Solist' sherry cask strength expression was matured in ex-Oloroso sherry casks and comes with bottle code S060821040: in other words this is from a sherry cask, distilled on 21 August 2006, and from the 40th cask that was filled on that day. It was bottled in 2013.
The nose starts with a punch of alcohol but soon gives way to rich flavours of sherry, together with some balsamic vinegar and followed by intense plum jam flavours. It then turns more syrupy, some herbal notes creep in, with a hint of furniture polish at the end.
The palate is medium-bodied - in fact surprisingly thin given the ABV and the nosing experience - and spicy. Then there is bitter chocolate and liquorice.
The finish is long, warming, and syrupy. The herbal notes are back, together with a healthy dose of wood spice and some notes of coffee.
This is a sherried whisky on the extreme side. Nothing to sip quietly in the evening, one dram at a time is quite enough. I very much enjoyed the powerful and intense nose that, sadly, neither palate nor finish managed to live up to.