At the annual family Mid-autumn Festival gatherings/BBQs several bottles of whisky usually appear (the contents of which subsequently quickly disappear), and last night that happy tradition continued. A couple of bottles of Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique began the proceedings. Cask strength at 57.1%. Non-chill filtered and no color added. No age statement, but that’s not really much of a concern with Kavalan, as the climate here facilitates such rapid maturation (10-15% lost through evaporation annually! Dave Broom’s observation re Kavalan “…you can almost see the whisky evaporating from the casks, and hear the choirs of angels carousing tipsily in the heavens above.”). Lovely deep copper/ruby color from the casks – American oak wine casks (not ex-bourbon for a change!) which have contained both white and red wines and have gone through a shave-toast-rechar process. As I mentioned, cask strength, so I’d usually add a little water after the first taste, but it was so smooth and delicious, with no burn from the high abv, that I had a couple of glasses at full strength first, followed by a couple more with a splash of water to open things up. Lots of vanilla and fruit, exquisite mouth feel, another ‘chewy’ one Slightly difficult to concentrate on further complex notes, which were clearly there, because a.) lots of smoke from BBQ b.) the nature of the celebration required a certain amount of ‘going with the flow’ and drinking with friendly relatives at enthusiastic speed c.) taste buds being bombarded by culinary delights from the grill. Both bottles were empty by mid-evening, and we proceeded on to a further couple of Kavalans, Peaty Oak, 50%, which was good, but for me not as outstanding as the Solist, and then the Distillery Select 40%, which was fine too. Great night.
The Solist Vinho Barrique is on my shopping list now and I look forward to savoring it more slowly next time. Happy Moon Festival!