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This is the fifth installment of my reviews of the Kavalan range. This particular bottling has spent time in American oak casks formerly used for both red and white wines. If you want more technical details, you might want to check out @galg's review of this one.
Nose: Very roasted, caramelized vanilla. semi-sweet chocolate. Some maple. Strong spices. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and most prominently; pepper. Of course, we have Kavalan's trademark attribute; exotic fruit notes. Melon, pineapple, cherries, banana, and coconut. A very vibrant nose.
Palate: Wow. These spices hit hard and fast. Quite the stinging pepper attack. I think this whisky just punched me in the face. Next up we get the wine notes, inferring to a particularly dry red wine, more specifically.
Finish: The fruits promised in the nose make a lovely appearance towards the finish, which is long and smooth, in stark contrast to the abrupt and assertive arrival. Dry, winey, grapey, notes mix with hints of toasted oak and cereal. This finish is something to behold. Very long, with lingering intensity. In my opinion, this finish is by far the highlight of this dram.
The wine notes offer another unique aspect to this dram. ButI have to admit that when I first tried this, I was thrown a bit by the contrast between an assaulting arrival and the elegant, smooth, and lasting finish. It's as though a man entered a room as Mike Tyson and left as Frank Sinatra. It seems wrong, but it works somehow. The weakness, naturally, becomes the balance here. Regardless, I like it. Like its Soloist brethren, love it or hate it, you can't say it's not interesting.
If the Solists were all siblings, they would look like this: The older brother would be the confident, sturdy, masculine sherry. The sister would be the bourbon, the bubbly and sweet middle child. And finally, you have the 3 year old vinho. He's a hell of a character. He's erratic, as all young children are, and he's still finding his balance. He's a good kid, though. They're all good kids.