It’s been a while since my last Kavalan review; more than three years, actually. That was a review of one of their Solist sherry casks. To be honest, I’ve not really kept up with Kavalan over the years. Their whiskies, at least the ones available in the US fall into two categories: affordable but unremarkable; and good but very expensive. And I’ve more or less given up on buying expensive whisky. And it’s also fair to say that it’s not just Kavalan that I’ve not kept up with—I’ve become rather disconnected from the the whisky world in general. But that’s another post for another day. Here is an unusual Kavalan: one of their “Peaty Cask” releases. I *think* this is regular Kavalan spirit matured or finished in an imported cask that had held peated whisky. If not, someone will be around shortly to correct me. And, no, this is not a new release—it came out in 2015 or so. I purchased a sample with a view towards possibly purchasing a bottle and then promptly forgot about it. I think I’ve been threatening to review it for the last year or so. Anyway, here it is now.
Kavalan 8, 2006, Peaty Cask (53.2%; cask R061106107; from a purchased sample)
Nose: Rich notes of toffee and chocolate—suggesting a sherry cask—with a nice lick of smoke coming through it; some orange peel too. The smoke expands on the second sniff—not phenolic, more woody. More fruit too soon enough: apricot, plum, light marmalade. Softer, less smoky with water—more of the toffee now.
Palate: A nice mix of sherry notes and woody, leafy smoke here as well. Very nice texture and very approachable at full strength. On the second sip the fruit is more pronounced here as well and the smoke expands as well, getting a little tarrier. The citrus expands with every sip and some oak begins to pop out as well. Water pushes back the oak but the smoke is still pretty strong, and covers up the fruit a bit now.
Finish: Medium-long. The wood smoke hangs out a bit along with milky cocoa. Fruitier here too with time. The smoke gets a bit rubbery with water.
Comments: I’m probably in the minority here but I think this would have been even better with a little less smoke—the fruit would have been able to shine more clearly on the palate. By the way, I don’t know if this was a sherry cask. The label does not say, but I seem to get a lot of sherry notes—might just be an effect of the smoke and oak though. Anyway, this was a very interesting whisky.
Rating: 88 points.