So far this year, we posted tasting notes on some interesting Kavalan expressions such as: Concertmaster, Solist ex-Bourbon, the award-winning Solist Vinho Barrique and last year we even had a look at their Sherry Cask Finish. This week, we are posting some tasting notes on something yet again from Kavalan’s award-winning Solist range. However, this is something from their top-tier Solist range; Solist Amontillado. Amontillado is a kind of dry sherry which is darker than Fino but lighter than Oloroso, maturing with a cap of flor (wine making term referring to film of yeast on the surface) and then exposed to the air for further oxidation due to the loss of flor. Toasted almonds and hazelnut are the classic aromas for Amontillado casks, making it a whisky not only full of depth and surprises but whisky that was worthy of winning Single Cask Whisky of the Year 2016.
On the nose: there is an intense initial suggestion of grapes, marzipan, muscovado sugar and vanilla. These notes are closely followed by dried currants, a touch of lemon zest, raisins, cinnamon and light spices. Rounding out the delicious nose are notes of red apples, ganache, stem ginger, toffee, liqourice and a hint of honey. On the palate: those sweet notes of raisins, currants and berries are ever-present. Followed by notes of vanilla, marzipan, cinnamon, all-spice and that rich muscovado sugar. Notes of treacle, toffee and hazelnuts start to emerge, as well as dry sherry. Completing the palate are notes of ground coffee, ginger and lemongrass. The finish: long, smooth but slightly dry, a touch peppery, with lingering nuttiness.
The verdict: The Kavalan Solist expressions not only have a delightful nose but also a delightful palate and this Amontillado expression is something that should be savoured with every sip. It’s intense but also quite delicate, with so much depth in flavour. The balance is just perfect with just the right amount of spiciness that keeps the dram alive. Bottled at 55.6% ABV, you’ll most likely need to add some water as suggested.