Review #774 | /r/WorldWhisky Review #32 – Kavalan Solist Brandy Cask
The Schtick: This was a blind sample that was sent to me. I reviewed it, then got the reveal in order to fill in relevant details here. For other blind reviews, hop on over to the Whiskey Network Discord server and join the chatter.
Kavalan is a relatively young distillery in Taiwan. Most of their spirit is on the younger side, but due to the aggressively swinging climate in Taiwan, their spirit seems to age at a speed that is more accelerated than that of Kentucky, USA or Scotland. That said, these Solist releases usually feature some interesting finishes, and this is no exception. While it threw me for a loop, and I ultimately enjoyed the experience, it was very interesting to try and nail down the very heavy cask influence in a blind trial.
Distiller: Kavalan (Taiwan)
ABV: 58.6% ABV
Nose: Stewed fruits, apples, pears, honey and leather. Some nice tobacco. Sweet and rich but ultimately, super fruity.
Taste: Medium mouth feel, mild heat. Sweet, lots of tobacco. Prominent apple, honey, caramel, pear, pepper and butter cream. Some fruity funk.
Finish: Medium length, some sulfur. No heat here. Really apple focused. I can’t shake the feeling that this might be a well aged calvados or apple based spirit.
Overall / Guess: This is really a tough one. I can’t shake the notion that this might be an apple / pear based spirit with some decent age. There is a lot more richness, and scotch backbone though so I think that this might just be a funky Glenfiddich or Dalwhinnie or maybe even Clynelish IB on the younger side. I’ll guess 6-9 years, 50% – 55% ABV, refill bourbon cask or hogshead.
Reveal: Kavalan Solist Brandy Cask. Wow – I didn’t see this coming. The fruity notes make total sense now, but I would have never, for even a moment, guessed Kavalan. Granted, of the releases that I’ve had from them, the base spirit is so buried under the finish, but this one was much more complex. Really cool to try and also interesting to see how much the brandy notes come through.
Thanks for reading!