Lately I’ve been doing a few reviews (when I wasn’t too busy with life) of multiple bottles, and while I don’t think it’s gonna be a permanent thing and I do plan to do single whiskies reviews, I do have another duo review today – two world whiskies matured (fully or finished) in peated cask, ex-bourbon only, both from climates which leads to rapid maturing. So they share common traits but there are still some glaring differences: different distilleries in different regions in the world and different climate. Single cask vs vatting of a 2-3 casks. The Amrut was finished in peated cask while the Kavalan is fully matured (or so I assume) in peated casks.
First one up – A cask strength Kavalan bottled for La Maison du Whisky in france for their 60th anniversary. It was filled into casks on 23/04/2007 (R070423071) and bottled on 08/08/2016 (9 years old) yielding 600 bottles.
Kavalan Peated Cask for LMDW 60th Anniversary (52.4%, €159.00)
Nose: Rich and buttery with strong impact from the bourbon cask. fruit perfume and then intertwined smoke, wood glue, vanilla and honey, Not a usual combination but it works real well. And then there’s even some sweet corn! With a few drops of water: more fruit sweetness.
Palate: Starts sweet and then boom! peat and smoke. Then comes honey and wood spices.
Finish: Medium length, lingering sweet wood spices and peat in the upper back mouth. With water it’s smokier, more fruit sweetness and gentle wood spices.
The other bottle is Amrut bottled by Blackadder. Using what we know on Amrut distillery and the very hot and humid climate in Bangalore, I can assume it’s probably around 5-6 years old. Again, no idea what’s the source of the peated cask (although I assume it’s one previously bottled by Blackadder).
Blackadder Amrut Peated Cask Finish (61.3%, BA26-2016, €123,95)
Nose: The original bourbon cask impact is here with spiciness, honey and rocks dust, malt and honey, but the spices are somewhat muted and restrained with added weak menthol note and there’s a gentle smoke wrapping around it all.
Palate: Spicy and smoky, semi-dry ashes, fruitiness, a bit of sugar, eucalyptus and green fresh herbs.
Finish: Medium length, dry smoke but the rest is rich with strong sweetness and a touch of herbs.
Thoughts: An interesting pair. Both showcase strong impact from the bourbon casks and the peated cask imparts weak smoke (in a manner of a wrapper) on the nose is mostly felt on the palate. But the underlying distilleries characters is noticeable – the Kavalan was fruitier and the Amrut was more spicy. At the club meetings, all the attendants agreed that the the Kavalan was very good while the opinions on the Amurt were slightly more divided. Personally, I think both were very good but I’d give the Kavalan the slight edge.
(Tasted at MMI Club April/May 2017 meetings)