Tag Archives: Vegetal

Kavalan King Car Whisky – bottled at 46% ABV

Taiwan — 46% – 200ml sample (thanks to Ian Chang of Kavalan for the sample and patience with the post)

Last November I had the good opportunity to taste Kavalan King Car Whisky bottled at 40%ABV.  Kavalan is single malt whisky from Taiwan.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  What’s more, they’re producing some top notch whisky.

As excited as I was to taste this whisky for the first time, I have a strange prejudice against whiskies that are bottled at the minimum 40% ABV so I was a bit apprehensive.  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  What’s more is this whisky is also now bottled at 46% and non-chill filtered.

Before we get to the tasting, I thought I should direct you to images of Kavalan’s beautiful faciliety.  Just surf the web (or, just look below) and you’ll find some truly stunning pictures of their distillery:





Picture above in the image on the right hand side is Ian Chang admiring the casks in his warehouse.  If I could, I’d bottle one of those casks myself.  I really am a fan of the Kavalan line.  Ok, enough daydreaming.  On to the tasting…

On the nose Mouthwateringly fruity – think mangos and tangerine, bananas and honey dew melon.

Honey and sugared lemons.

Freshly ground coffee (just like with the 40%ABV version).

Lots of malt, a bit floral and a touch salty.

Here’s one that brings back memories from weekends at my grandparent’s house…Musty Afghans that have been stored in laminated oak cabinets (I’m referring to the blanket-type Afghans, not the people.  This is not a slur against the Afghani people or the Afghan Whigs).

On the mouth Nice mouthful yet nowhere near as fruity and tropical as the nose lead me to believe.

Highly vegetal and more of the salt I detected earlier.

Leafy greens, cucumber sauce.

Unsweetened lemon chews (if that makes sense).

Finish Short but with a bit of a lemony zing to it.

In sum  The wonderfully fruity nose was very promising and got me in the mood for warmer times.  The salty, more vegetal flavor of this whisky took me a bit off guard which could be a good thing.  Yes, I think it was a good thing.  The finish was just a bit to short for me.  I wanted it to stay with me longer.  Maybe that was purposeful.  It just made me want to sniff and taste more!

Gal of Whisky Israel also reviewed this one recently and seemed to like it quite a bit.

Karen & Matt of Whisky For Everyone agrees, this is a fine whisky.

anCnoc 12yr & 16yr Scotch whisky – a side by side tasting.

Highland region – 43%ABV for the 12yr – $35 | £25 | €30 — 46%ABV for the 16yr – $45- $65 | £40 | €49

anCnoc, anCnoc, anCnoc… aChooo!!

Actually, it’s pronounced “ah-knock”.  This whisky, distilled by Knockdhu, used to be called Knockdhu but have decided to change the name of the whisky to anCnoc so as not to be confused with “Knockando” whisky.

The 12yr is on your left whilst the 16yr is on your right.

The anCnoc line was recently (within the past few years) launched here in the US (and elsewhere) with both the 12yr & 16yr readily available in most major markets.

If you look around a bit, some stores & online shops may have some 1993 & 1994 vintages.  There’s even a 30yr whisky out there though, it’s a bit hard to come by.

I’m a bit short on time today so I need to cut to the chase.  Let’s taste these whiskies!

On to the nosing

12yr — Lemon juice and curdled milk in a … good way.

Very sugary nose.

Vanilla and coconut shells.

Witch Hazel (originating from Connecticut!  Represent!).

Malty notes with some pear.

Apple and buttered toast (rye bread).

16yrSugared candies… for my Brits out there, Parma Violets (for my fellow Americans, Smarties).

Pineapple and dried mango (topped with salt).

Sea breeze and, dare I say, a waft (or thread) of smoke in the distance?  Nah, maybe it’s just in my head…

On to the tasting (with notes on the finish)

12yrNice entry, good mouthfeel.

Much of what I got on the nose I am getting here in flavor.

An emphasis on the vanilla and buttered bread.

A tad salty and some unexpected pizza spices on the finish which is medium in length.

16yrMuch more vegetal in flavor as compared to the nosing.

Grassy yet with hints of vanilla custard and pie crust.

Lemon pinwheels and butter cookies.

The finish is slightly drying with some oak…

In sumBoth easy and approachable whiskies.  The 16yr was the clear winner in my book with those delicious sugared candy and tropical fruit notes.  The 12yr was nice however, I would have liked to have tried this at 46% and non-chill filtered like the 16yr is.  I feel bad for the Brits out there – the 12yr is at 40% ABV while here in the states, we get a slightly higher ABV for our 12yr.

So, while the 12yr is pleasant enough, I’d put my money down on the 16yr for the win.  Summery, light, refreshing.

Special thanks goes out to Kathy Lewis-Flanigan for the generous samples!

Bowmore 1992 Bordeaux Finish

Islay region – 53.5%ABV – 700ml bottle – Limited Edition, 1,800 bottles – £60 | €68

This is going to be a quick post.  I’ve got to get up at 2:30 tomorrow morning.  I’m flying out to Anaheim for a trade show (one of the things I truly love about my job).  While I’m out there I’m getting a chance to meet with one of my regular readers – we’re going to taste us some fine whiskies!  Ok, to the Bowmore:

I’ve got to be honest, my first experience with Bowmore was nearly my last.  It was their 12yr old expression and I had it during an Islay tasting.  We tasted the following whiskies that night: Bowmore 12yr, Bruichladdich “Rocks”, Laphroaig 15yr & Ardbeg 10yr.

Looking back, I guess The Bowmore did not stand a chance against the other three Islay expressions.  To add insult to injury, we broke out a little Lagavulin 16yr (which, in my opinion kicks the a$$ of most of the standard expressions out there, be they Islay or no).

Ok, enough crap-talking because I made the very-very smart decision to revisit The Bowmore.  First, I tried out the Master of Malt 26yr single cask exclusive (you can read my review here, and you can buy it here).

Then, I received a nice sample from my friend “O.K.” of The Bowmore 1992 Bordeaux Finish 53.5%.  I tried this Bordeaux finished Bowmore right after the 26yr Master of Malt expression – a world of difference (can you say understatement?).

Here we go:

On the Nose Quite musky (think 70’s hippy oil meets mafioso cologne bath.

This is a strong nose!), quite smokey (but not like campfire smoke, this is very sophisticated smoke), fruity & winey, quite drying, cured meats, oily

On the mouth Perfect strength at 53.5%, very tannic/drying mouth feel, Italian sausages and glycerin soap, slightly smokey, onions and kale

Finish Very vegetal and the drying continues, more meats and a slight effervescence – Oh, some of those fruits from the nose came back.

In sumI’m happy I made a return to The Bowmore.  It’s obvious that they’ve got some very interesting whiskies.  I’m looking forward to more Bowmore!  I’m going to make a point of trying the Bowmore 12yr again.  Alone this time to see how it stands up by itself.  That post will come within the next few months.

Connemara Cask Strength Peated Irish Whiskey

Ireland – 58.5%ABV – 750ml bottle – $54 and up | £42 | €47

What an interesting whiskey this is!  Many of you who know me or a regulars of this blog know or can see that I, for the most part, stick to Scottish single malt whiskies and will, on occasion, dabble in the American whiskies.  I tend to steer clear of Irish whiskies.  Not because I do not like them or have a prejudice toward the Irish, I plum just don’t know much about Irish whiskies or what to expect from them.  I aim to change this and I’ve got to say Connemara is helping me!

When I think of Irish whiskey, like many Americans, I just think of Jameson (the standard entry level stuff) right away.  Dr. Whisky, by the way, actually has a nice post on Jameson which can be found here.  It’s nice enough but nothing to cry home about and certainly not an every day dram (at least not for me).

So after reading a few reviews of the Connemara, realizing that it was St. Patty’s day and hearing some nice stuff about it from my friends Gal & Kfir over at Whisky Israel, I decided to pick some up.

A peated Irish whiskey [you say]??  Yes, a peated Irish whiskey indeed.  This, unlike most Irish whiskies is distilled only twice (as with most Scottish whiskies); the vast majority of Irish whiskies are distilled three times. Connemara whiskey is matured in ex-bourbon casks (not sure if they are first fill, 2nd fill, etc…) which also adds in the overall flavor.

So, here’s how it all went down:

Initial whiff Huh… Chinese food, Lo Mien perhaps?  Very floral (salted celery?) but quite sooty.  The peat is so strange here, not smokey at all.  Like soot on a steel pipe from a barrel stove (I used to have a barrel stove in a wood fort my old buddy Jason and I stole.  I tell you the story some time.  Funny stuff.  Ah, the things 13yr olds do…), honey and very grassy.  Strange though, I can’t shake the Chinese food…

On the mouth Even at almost 60%ABV, it’s not that hot (though I’ve got a fairly high threshold).  What a mix of flavors!  Again, the peat is not a really smokey peat, more vegetal really.  With some water, this stuff is quite creamy, not sweet however.  Its all about various types of root veggies with chocolate, unsweetened mind you.

Finish Long, sooty again and some honey comes back.  Not sure how old this stuff is but I am not getting a ton of oak.  Peppery and maybe a little white chocolate.

In sumYou know, after a few minutes, there’s an after taste that’s a bit odd.  Not bad but not super pleasant either.  I guess the best remedy for that is to drink more!  Actually, I did, the very next day and started off with water.  In so doing, I did not get that after taste — could have been something I ate the day before…  This is a good one.  It’s a contemplative dram, lots to discover here, though, maybe I’m digging to deep…

Check out what others are saying about it:

Dr. Whisky

For Peat’s Sake