"When it came to choosing an exclusive Kavalan, we received a wide selection of samples across a variety of cask types, and TWE director Sukhinder and head buyer Dawn unanimously chose the Vinho.
The whisky was distilled on 14 June 2012, matured in a single American-oak wine cask for six years and bottled on 1 October 2018. It finally finished the long trek from Taiwan to our warehouse earlier this week.
Nose: Danish pastries with wine-soaked raisins to start. Baked apples drizzled with toffee sauce follow, along with rich lardy cake packed with soft brown sugar. Caramel shortbread develops – heavy on the caramel – with cherry jam, spiced butter and a touch of chamois leather. Char notes hide underneath, gentle and balancing the brown-sugar sweetness.
Palate: A punch of liquorice and blackcurrant leads to dry, toasted spice – cinnamon sticks, cloves and a smashed nutmeg. Tannic berry skins build, with spiced shortbread, black treacle and richly-flavoured maraschino cherries. Dried mango and spicy baked apples pop up at the back, squashed on toasted black bread and sprinkled with crushed, spicy speculaas biscuits.
Finish: Liquorice and char linger, with sweet apple and spiced sponge cake fading in and out.
Comment: A full-on Kavalan with a big sherry-like wine cask giving stacks of berry and dried fruit character. Intense and intimidating as it is, Kavalan’s fruity spirit still shines through, with apple and mango uncowed."