Kavalan is an established whisky brand by now. Their reputation is mostly built on the Solist series; high strength single cask releases from different cask types. But they’ve an entire range of other whiskies too, which includes the Kavalan Distillery Select No. 1.
From what I can gather, the Kavalan Distillery Select was first released in november 2018, but received a facelift a few years after. The original Kavalan Distillery Select was re-packaged and renamed to Kavalan Distillery Select No. 1, simply because they wanted to extend the one expression into a range of expressions. Or just two for now. Who knows if a third will ever see the light of day.
The Kavalan Distillery Select series is described “first entry-level whisky range that offers a superior art of blending.” But that really doesn’t mean anything to me. There’s no real insight into what exactly sets No. 1 and No. 2 apart from each other. They’re all bottled at the lowest strength allowed and there’s no information whatsoever on cask type, let alone age.
So, the Kavalan Distillery Select (whichever batch) doesn’t offer much from a whisky geek’s perspective. But does it offer something in terms of deliciousness at least?
Kavalan Distillery Select (40%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Somewhat menthol-y with raisins, plums and tobacco leaves, but also some burnt toast, vanilla custard and tinned peaches. Even some soy now that it has had some more time. Not too bad, but let’s see if the palate can keep up. Taste: Slightly dry and tannic with a thin mouthfeel, but tobacco makes an encore, and there’s fennel and eucalyptus as well. Now burnt caramel accompanied by cherry syrup, strawberry marmalade and a slight acidity. Finish: Short, dry and with notes of cough drops, oak and nutmeg.
Seemingly a lot of potential here, but it really could do with a higher abv. It almost feels like malpractice to bottle the Distillery Select at such a low strength. And we all know how good cask strength Kavalan can be.