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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Kavalan 6 year old 2014 Vinho Barrique

Some of you saw the title of this review and were like, "😐. Kavalan + a sweet wine cask = predictable review." But hold on a second! I've liked the few Kavalan Vinho Barriques I've tried. Though they've all been a bit wild and sweet, they were also anything but boring. I'll take a vinho barrique over an immature bourbon cask or yesterday's situation, when it comes to Kavalan. However, my expectations are not set high, though I do hope for some sort of whisky miracle here.

Distillery: Yuan Shan Distillery
Owner: King Car Group
Brand: Kavalan
Region: Yuanshan, Taiwan
Age: 6 years (11 June 2014 - 27 Aug 2020)
Maturation: Vinho Barrique
Cask #W140611004A
Outturn: 192 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 57.8%
(from a bottle split)


The nose begins with a zany combination of plum wine, ginger, cinnamon, and Robotussin. It picks up notes of apricots, blackberry jam, and flowers after 20 minutes. Uh, the palate. Yeah. It's VERY perfumed. It takes a while for the 'buds to clear through the haze to find grapefruit, ginger, cherry syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. After 40 minutes it gets aggressively bitter. It finishes with apricots, cherry candy, ginger, vanilla, and rosewater. It is very sweet.

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

The nose still leads with plum wine, but now there's salted caramel, toasted oak, orange peel, and flowers. Less perfume in the palate. But soooooo much sugar, and an odd (but welcome) savoriness. It finishes very tangy, with smaller notes of vanilla, black pepper, and rosewater.


😐 indeed. This cask's palate is almost broken when the whisky is served neatly. Its perfume assault is unmatched outside of '80s Bowmore. And then the bitterness kicks in. At least the addition of water brings it into the drinkable realm. On the other hand, the nose's weirdness is approachable and enjoyable, with or without dilution. But, yeah, no whisky miracles today.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - LOL
Rating - 76 (diluted only, this doesn't reach the 70s when neat)