Yes! Kavalan has finally landed in the US market. It’s about time. I’ve been hearing so many great things about this brand; when I had the opportunity to try their malts, the hype lived up to my expectations.
I had the rare opportunity of meeting Ian Chang, the Master Distiller of Kavalan. He’s been with the company since it opened. This company was established in 2008 by a company called King Car. The term “King” in Taiwan doesn’t necessarily mean “ruler,” in their culture but it represents “gold” and “fortune.” The founder of King Car has a love for cars, and the concept of using that noun means to always “move forward,” and that’s essentially their philosophy at Kavalan. When they were building the distillery, they hired a consultant from Scotland who said it would take them about 7-11 years to build a distillery from the ground up. However, it took Kavalan only 9 months to build and complete the distillery. Pretty amazing! The heat and sub-tropical location of Taiwan causes their whiskies to age quickly, reaching their peak between 4-5 years. Essentially, their whiskies age significantly faster than other places like Scotland and Ireland due to their climate. It is said that for each year that their spirit sits inside a barrel, it equates to 4 years in a barrel that’s located in a cold climate. In addition, the heat and humidity in Taiwan make the proof of the alcohol drop, which results in the alcohol evaporating really fast and causing the "angels' share" to be at 18% last year, compare to Scotland the alcohol evaporates roughly 2% per year in the barrel (I guess they have thirsty, greedy angels in Taiwan! Ha!).
I would say that my favorite line of their profile is the Kavalan Solist ex-bourbon and sherry cask, but today I’m reviewing their Kavalan Classic. This is malt that’s bottled at 43% ABV, while the rest of the world gets this juice at 40% ABV. Lucky for us! Kavalan Classic has spent most of its life in ex-bourbon casks ( I hear that most of the ex-bourbon casks come from Jim Beam with the rest sourced from Evan Williams and Buffalo Trace). In addition, it’s also aged in sherry and ex-wine casks. I heard that the company prefers aging the majority of their malts in ex-bourbon casks because the profile tastes more cohesive, whereas with sherry casks, if it sits in that type of barrel too long, it can get a bit too astringent. The company has created quite a buzz, winning 'best in class' at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2011.
Nose: On the nose, I get tropical fruit notes with hints of of sour plum and black coffee. With a few drops of water, the aromas of sour plum candy and brown sugar emerge.
Flavor: On the palate, I get citrus notes with hints of walnuts and coffee. There’s definitely some kick and spice on the palate! The finish is long, and I’m greeted with orange zest laced with dry brown sugar and hints of candied plums. This isn’t cloyingly sweet but it just has an aftertaste and essence of these confectionary notes. With a few drops of water it becomes sweet, picking up some creamy tones. Dried plums and walnuts emerge as it finishes off to an orange and simple syrup note. I hope you’ll take the time to explore the whole line of Kavalan. I must say, of young single malts, I would rank Kavalan, Kilchoman and Amrut high. -Lihn Do
"Our Founder (Conor) and his team searched for a place and people that shared the same passion for Ireland and its whiskey. He found this at the oldest whiskey distillery on the Isle of Ireland [the Old Bushmills Distillery, Co Antrim] and with his master distiller [David Elder, previously of Guinness] created a unique and special blend. Through much trial and error, they worked together to create a blend of sweet Irish grain and single malt Irish whiskey. The result, a smooth balanced whiskey with hints of vanilla, honey-like sweetness and toasted wood."
McGregor said the whiskey was "the one and only proper" blend, and that the name was a reference to Dublin 12, where Crumlin is located, the Southside suburb where McGregor was born. They were initially going to call the whiskey Notorious (after McGregor's Twitter and Instagram moniker "The Notorious MMA") but trademark issues got in the way.
Besides creating a whiskey that reflected his homeland and the love he has for Ireland, McGregor wanted to do something to honor First Responders. First responders are the unsung heroes who act with valor and answer the call of duty every day for those in need. Proper No. Twelve is donating $5 for each case sold to local first responder organizations around the world, up to $1MM annually.
The traditional triple distillation method uses copper pot stills, which create and fine-tune the proper character. After the first distillation, the strength of the spirit is increased through a second distillation with a low wine still. A third distillation in the spirit still, creates a cut above 80% alcohol. This captures the heart of the spirit. Our coopers hand-select the finest former bourbon barrels in which to age our proper whiskey. Our spirit slowly ages developing through the years flavors of vanilla, honey and toasted wood. The blending of sweet Irish grain spirit and single malt Irish whiskey lies at the heart of Proper No. Twelve. Our Master Distiller selects casks that hold the rich character needed to craft Proper No. Twelve Whiskey.
Powers Gold Label is a complex spice and honeyed taste experience. Every drop is triple distilled, with more cut from the top and tail of the second and third Pot Still charges. This means only the purest heart of the distillate is captured. Our distillate is then left to mature in select American oak casks which allows our Pot Still style whiskey to shine. Powers Gold Label is blended with the finest grain whiskey, also exclusively matured in American oak casks. Finally, a proprietary Powers production technique enables a non-chill filtration at 40% ABV – unique amongst Irish whiskey.
The Powers John's Lane Distillery was renowned for its fine Irish whiskeys, bursting with flavor and character and made famous by one of Ireland's most popular brands, Powers Gold Label.
Kikori is a Japanese whiskey born in Kumamoto, a hidden gem on the island of Kyushu in Southern Japan. Kumamoto is renowned throughout Japan for its pristine groundwater that is naturally filtered through the porous volcanic rock and earth of Kyushu island -- and we all know how important water is for rectification.
Kikori is aged between three and 10 years in three different types of barrels, including new American oak that has been slightly charred, as well as some Sherry and French Limousin casks. We use a stainless steel still and a single distillation process using polished rice as the grain, and we chill filter the distillate for our finished product.
Our process results in a distinctively different Japanese Whiskey that is delicate and delicious. It’s beautifully golden in color, with a floral and fragrant aroma along with notes of caramel, tree fruits and vanilla. On the palate, you taste notes of melon and toasted almonds with a faint layer of tart apple, balanced with an oak and sherry flavor and a finish that is both clean and bright.
Kikori, which means the "Woodman" in Japanese, takes its name from Visu the woodsman. He is the stubborn protagonist in a cautionary Japanese folk tale about life without balance. Working day and night, Visu forsook his friends and family and eventually lost everything. Visu’s tale resonates in our fast-paced modern lives and reminds us that to live a fulfilling life we MUST find our own personal balance. Kikori’s philosophy values balance in ALL things: family, work, play, spirituality and of course, extraordinary whiskey.
For hundreds of years, farmers took their excess produce and turned it into liquid gold to help supplement their income. It was a time-honored tradition and the Conecuh Ridge is an area that was renowned for its illegal whiskey-making. At one point, Federal agencies said it had the heaviest concentration of stills in the US. So, Clyde took to “branch farming”
as he liked to call it.
With one eye on his still and the other watching out for the law, Mr. Clyde crafted his own particular style of whiskey. Much of it sold unaged, right from the still as White Lightening. Some of his 'Shine was laid down in charred oak barrels for special aging. He spent his life perfecting the art of small batch whiskey making surrounded by the Alabama pines of the Conecuh Ridge in Bullock County, AL. Constantly experimenting with different whole grains and production methods, he developed what came to be known as "Mr. Clyde's Special Reserve". Working in small batches and with the best local ingredients, like a hint of apples, Clyde produced his warm, amber whiskey. In the deep South, there remain folk who still keep unmarked bottles of Mr. Clyde's Special Reserve tucked away as carefully as family Bibles and precious photographs.
Allow the warmth and aroma of Clyde May's Whiskey to transport you down the red-clay roads of Alabama to a simpler time. In a manufactured world, isn't nice to know that some things in life stay true to their roots? There is no way whiskey this good was born in a lab. Clyde May's. The Original Craft Whiskey.
BevX Tasting Notes - The color is deep, glimmering bronze with perfect clarity. The generous aromatics are loaded with rich caramel, dried orchard fruits, toffee, butterscotch, nutmeg, spicy rye notes, maple, and candied orange peel. The palate is harmonious and seamless being dry with a pepper edge while offering enough viscosity to give the whiskey length and depth. It finishes with a complex black pepper accent and hints of anise and toasted oak. Sip it straight or make the best Manhattan you’ve ever had.
Jugando Spirits is your party starter! An unique and innovative concept, that will transform your parties into unique experiences. With Jugando Spirits the fun never stops: one of twelve customized games, a high quality spirit complemented by an interactive app to have unique moments!