Appearance: Dark Walnut verging on
impenetrable maple syrup. Long waxen legs roll down the inside of the glass. The liquid is so dark that a thin film of dark oily liquid is left coating the inside of the glass.
Nose: Huge. Stewed fruit, plump and sweet sweaty raisins. Sat in the glass for a few moments more, figs, toffee sauce, sweet red chilli, maple syrup drops, sticky toffee pudding, and more raisins rise-up out of the glass. Then a waft of Vin Santo dessert wine fills the nostrils. There’s even a slight savoury gravy element. It’s so sweet and sticky it’s like a liquidised pudding.
Palate: Pure and unadulterated dessert-syrupiness. Deep, rich, and mouth coating, the honied thickness is explosive. Held in the mouth for a short while, a woody dryness begins to creep in but is assertively nudged to the sidelines by the returning dominant toffee-ness. It really is like a rich and decadent liquid pudding with a light dusting of warming white pepper. Heaps more dried fruit appears mingled with cake spice. Incredible.
Finish: Long and sweet. Thick syrupiness dances with gentle wood tannins. Oil coats the gums whilst a peppery dryness tingles the lips and studs the top of the tongue.
Water adds… Firstly, it’s ice-cold water added just to thicken everything up even more. There’s an increase of sweet wine on the nose. A candied cherry-element appears on the palate. The finish is slightly drier with a little more pepper-tingle on the tongue.
Conclusion: Ludicrously rich and decadent. This is the darkest and thickest Kavalan Vinho Barrique I’ve ever seen. (in fact, it’s one of the darkest whiskies I’ve ever seen) It’s not the sort of dram I could drink one after the other all night. It’s more of an after-dinner whisky and would kick any rum, Cognac or digestif squarely in the nuts. Hard. And the age? 4 years and 3 months. Bravo Kavalan.