It’s sold in a 300ml bottle with hand-written notes which include the date of distillation, the date of bottling, and the batch number. It’s finished in a “peaty cask” and was bottled at a healthy 55% abv. Having tried (and loved) pretty much the entire range, I was excited to grab this one. While the whisky itself isn’t peated, they did use peaty casks to finish it; which would make this expression Kavalan’s first foray into the realm of peat. The reviewed bottle was distilled in 2007 and bottled in December 2013, making it roughly a 6 year old whisky.
Nose: A very young-ish nose. Tart and musty. Zesty lemon rind, caramel, green apple, banana, pear, allspice, and a very faint whiff of vanilla. There’s also a vegetal note that reminds me of fresh celery and a musty oak note that I can’t decide if I like.
Palate: Creamy, with a strong, peppery arrival. There’s a very nice dark honey note that ushers in hazelnut, milk chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla and a lovely lavender note. Very interesting.
Finish: Big butterscotch (think Werther’s Originals), more butter, lavender, and more floral notes. That powerful butterscotch note quickly dissipates as some soft, earthy, mineral-rich peat comes in. That musty oak note returns to give us a lovely, drying prickle which carries us through the medium-long finish.
Thoughts: This is a strange Kavalan. There are things I love in here, and things I don’t. For one, I find the nose to be quite young-ish and not very expressive. Also, I occasionally get a hint of something chemical in the finish. But it redeems itself with a gorgeous and rich butterscotch taste, which defines the palate and finish. It’s also fun to taste Kavalan’s first release with a peaty influence. I wouldn’t recommend this as an introduction to the range, but if you’ve tried the others and want to taste something completely different, give this a go.