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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Kavalan 7 year old 2010 Manzanilla Cask

Remember Kavalan? Neither do I.

Now, is that a burn? Or are we getting old? Or is the deluge of new distilleries getting ridiculous? Or all of the above?

Never a big Kavalan fan, I always found their whiskies to be extremely extractive, as the distillery uses wet casks in a hot and humid climate. Subjectively/Objectively, that approach doesn't work for my palate, and doesn't produce balanced whiskies. BUT I'm taking a slightly different angle with Kavalan this week, not dipping into their more famous Oloroso and Fino casks, but rather some alternative single vessels, starting with a Manzanilla sherry cask today.

Distillery: Yuan Shan Distillery
Owner: King Car Group
Brand: Kavalan
Region: Yuanshan, Taiwan
Age: 6 years (16 July 2010 - 27 Jan 2018)
Maturation: Manzanilla cask
Cask #: MA100716026A
Alcohol by Volume: 57.8%
(Thank you to Doctors Springbank!)


It has a fun, active nose, full of candied pecans, toffee pudding, anise, tar, and furniture polish. There are some rye-like baking spices in the middle, and hints of raspberry jam and maple in the back. The palate is hot, nutty, and loaded with oak spice. Walnuts dusted with chili powder. Touches of lime and honey here and there. The hot finish reads acidic and tangy, with moderate notes of oak spice and maple.

DILUTED to 46%abv, or 1½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

The rich nose shows nocino, mocha, and molasses, with a sprinkle of cardamom in the background. The almond extract-led palate is much sweeter now. Tart berries and drying tannins gradually take over. It finishes dry, tart, and lightly sweet.


As I've found with bourbon, and other aggressively oak-forward whiskies, this Kavalan's nose is delightful, but the palate is not. Had the flavors matched the scents, this whisky would have been a wild, entertaining, desserty thing, but they don't due to the aforementioned quick extraction. A subtler aging in a dry Manzanilla cask could have resulted in something worth singing about. As it is, this cask will appeal to American whiskey fanatics more than someone with preferences like mine.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 81