Kavalan 5, 2015-2021, Vinho Barrique, 55.6% – OB for The Netherlands

Somehow, whenever a Kavalan becomes available my ears peak up. I am not entirely sure why, because I’m not even that big a fan of the brand. There have been some true beauties from the Taiwanese distillery, but especially their sherry casks only do one thing. Of course, they do that one thing very, very well.

This one was selected for The Netherlands, and that has proven to not be the best of accolades. There have been some very mediocre casks selected over the last couple of years. Some good ones too, but it’s not as high a recommendation as you’d hope it to be. Shop picks are generally better, somehow.

Anyway, a Vinho Barrique. A wine cask, that is. There is no indication to what kind of wine, but the color doesn’t indicate Chardonnay… Let’s just find out!

Keep in mind that I tasted this blind, so there might be some weird indications in the tasting notes.

Image from Whiskybase

Quite some oak on the nose, and although there are notes of sherry, they aren’t jumping out of the glass. Dry baking spices, with cinnamon and clove, a bit of tree bark, and garden mulch. All very wood focused. A bit more sherry, more dried fruits and almonds after a few minutes.

Dry and coarse, with ground spices, cinnamon, clove, tree bark, almond flour. Some freshly cracked black and red peppercorns, oak. Orange zest and apricot.

Beautifully fruity on the finish with dates and apricots. A gentle bit of baking spices, some orange zest.

For a whisky at this age and this ABV, it’s a very gentle whisky. Of course it turned out to be a wine cask instead of a sherry cask, but I didn’t pick up on any great tells for that. I might be an idiot, and I know I suck at getting these things right.

Anyway, the color promises a very flavor driven whisky and it’s all a bit timid. It’s very wood driven, but not overly so. I expected a lot more oomph.

But what did I actually think of this? I like that it’s more timid than expected. It gives some other flavors a bit of room to come through, instead of this being a generic sherry (wine…) cask matured whisky. So, I’m quite positively surprised, but not overwhelmed.


It’s still available in The Netherlands for € 164.95


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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