I'm glad I was invited for this event, because, apart from the spirit-ual benefits, it really was very eye opening, because everything is so vastly different from the familiar Scottish way or even the Japanese way, and I found it fascinatingly educational.
The venue was a cool one, the Vault, in Tmn Sri Hartamas, easy parking for a speakeasy (although Ash, the uber cool Bar Manager took pains to explain to me the real meaning of a "speakeasy"...but for Malaysian purposes, it is a speakeasy lah), with an intriguing entrance, like to a Vault.
Starting of course with the Kavalan classic, which was very drinkable, though I found it a bit harsh at the first taste, maybe because my resting palate was still asleep. By the second shot, it was more palatable.
The distillery was built in 9 months, and actually started because the owner, (who has a host of other businesses, from Mr Brown Coffee, to fast food to now KAVALAN) had a passion for whisky, and realised the subtropical climate of Taiwan is ideal for faster maturation. A unique interaction between the spirit and oak under the higher temperatures (compared to say Scotland) makes Kavalan different.
By the way, (and ahem, proud to say it was me who asked the question), the name Kavalan originates from that region of Yi Lan.
Like many ventures, initially the idea of setting up a distillery had little support from shareholders. However, the older generation were rather happy to have their own brand of whisky. So as they say, the rest is history, and clearly the brand has grown from strength to strength...sweeping awards the way Meryl Streep wins Oscars.
The average casking is about 4 years for the normal NAS brands and for the more premium Solist range, it's between 5-7 years. The whiskies are named after music, and Solist for example, is a shortened "SOLOIST". Concertmaster obviously speaks for itself.
The Port Cask Concertmaster used Portuguese ruby, tawny and vintage Port wine casks, and the green bottling is also a protection like for wines, against sunlight etc. A dark brown colour, with nose of honey, vanilla, and a rich bodied palate.
Solist Port Cask, as the name implies, is matured in a port barriques cask, and has that rich full bodied flavour, a tinge of sweetness, and well, very strong. Definitely a luxury drink, one can taste the "priciness" of the drink if you know what I mean.
On the nose, hints of raisin and coconut. And a whole cornucopia of flavours on the palate, from fruit to wood to caramel.
We were very privileged to be the first in the region to be able to taste this fine tipple, thanks to the good peeps at Single and Available.
Do check out Single and Available at their facebook page for upcoming offers and tastings
By the way, that Amontillado retails in excess of RM1,500 I think (from what I recall from a hazy stupor) so yeah, #dunjealousme