Here is the third in a series of 10 Kavalan whisky reviews. You can read more background in part 1 but the TL;DR version is fellow local redditor /u/onewaybackpacking graciously brought back one of these cool Kavalan sampler packs back from Taiwan for me. Thus far in the series we have had:
Today we will be covering Podium, which is aged in a combination of new American oak and refill casks. Nothing terribly exciting about those stats but I am glad to be done with the 80 proofers. As a brief reminder, I am mostly an American whiskey drinker who occasionally dabbles in malts so take that for what it is worth.
Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky; No Age Statement; 46% ABV
Nose: Bourbon like scents of vanilla and caramel but with a Scotch twist - grain cereal instead of corn cereal. The fruit notes are lighter than the previous whiskies but still definitely tropical in nature. The new American oak usage sticks out to me as there are some prominent tannic wood notes too.
Taste: Starts off with a lot of honey and sugary grains and then finishes with wallop of tropical fruits, like juicy fruit gum. Once the fruit rollercoaster ends there is some astringent and charry oak at play as well which lingers as slightly bitter wood tannins.
Thoughts: I'm now convinced tropical fruits are indeed the calling card of Kavalan and while they were hiding in the nose here, they certainly come through in the palate. The mid and back palate are just an explosion of luscious island fruits which are the star of the show. Having said that, there is an astringency here that wears on me and it finished out longer than the fruitiness. I suspect that is a byproduct of the new American oak and the aggressive climate these are aged in. All in all I really enjoyed the flavors and the proof gives it enough body to be more in my wheelhouse but I would have preferred less astringency.
Rating: C / C+
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.