After so much time spent merely reading about the great single malt whiskies from Taiwan's Kavalan distillery, we can finally get our hands on them here in the states! The first release from Kavalan back in 2008 was their classic single malt expression that uses ex-sherry, ex-Bourbon, and ex-wine casks of between four and four and a half years of age for the marriage. The King Car uses that formula with twice the sherry, and it's this whisky that I suggest those who are looking to try out one selection from the Kavalan portfolio begin with. The first thing that strikes you as you taste it is how un-youthful it is. It might as well be a 12 year old malt from the Scottish Highlands, but with an incredible supple-fruited character. It tastes like well-made, mature, Scottish single malt with extra concentration. It's new and exciting, yet familiar and easy-to-place. There's a soft, supple, raisined fruit and sweet sherry flavor right on the entry and a long, rich finish that continues to bring toffee and caramel for minutes. It's the humid conditions of Kavalan's warehouse that allows the maturation to take place much faster—and while I'm normally skeptical of such accusations, the proof is in the pudding here. This is real deal whisky from the next big thing. (David Driscoll, former K&L Spirits buyer)
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