February 22, 2010

Isle of Islay vs Isla Formosa

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Tonight I went back to Bar Seed for a drink (or two...) with a colleague.  We had just received our license for our company from the SFC today, so it seemed like a perfect excuse to do a little celebration.

We finished the bottle of Murray McDavid Macallan 1997 from my last visit.  I enjoyed this as much as last time, possibly more.  Nose of honey, caramel, raisins, butterscotch, a little salty plum (話梅) and a bit spicy.  The palate was sweet, with a long and spicy finish.  Not surprisingly, this was good on the rocks but much better straight from the single malt glass.

I brought out something different tonight.  There's been a little bit of excitement in Taiwan recently over Kavalan (噶瑪蘭), the new whisky distillery in Yilan, Taiwan.  Apparently at some random blind tasting last month - with a small sample of 4 whiskies - the regular Kavalan offering (Sherry cask) won over the rest.  Taiwanese media of course made a big deal of out it, and I finally took notice of this product whose advertisements I have seen numerous times in Taoyuan Airport.

On my way out of Taipei after the Lunar New Year, I picked up a bottle of the (limited edition?) Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask.  There's no indication on how old this single malt is, but given that the distillery was only set up in the last couple of years, this is probably no more than 3 years old.  This was also at cask strength, so just under 60% alcohol.

I took this on the rocks, letting the water dilute the strong drink.  Nose was a little unexpected - salty plum (話梅), sour plum soup (酸梅湯), and ripe fruits in general.  Pretty sweet on the palate.  The nose was almost brandy-like, and pretty different from your run-of-the-mill whisky.  Maybe the regular Kavalan whisky would have a different nose.  From my bar stool last night, I couldn't quite understand why the group of people in Scotland actually picked Kavalan to be the winner.  The darn thing was just too one-dimensional, with no complexity whatsoever.

Guess I'll have to try it again, probably drinking it straight instead of diluting it.  I'll get a better sense of the nose this way.

1 comment:

McPhersons Rant said...

AM glad you found the whisky one dimensional, we had a tasting at The Canny Man and the general consensus was the same, am really not sure what they were thinking off, when I think of some of the nice whiskies I tasted last year... and a 3 year old, almost unhealthy.
If you'd like to sample some whisky some evening get in touch, as owner of The Canny Man, I'm sure there are some hidden gems we have in our large stock holding


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