This review will look at the first from the Kavalan Solist range which will be the Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask. This whiskies from Kavalan have been winning awards all over the world and so has this expression. The Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon cask along with the other Solist in the range are all Single Cask, Cask strength and bottled at high abv. The Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon was one of the first to be released in the Solist range back in 2009. If you get a chance to watch my YouTube review on this whisky you’ll see that I was lucky enough to get the Master Distiller from Kavalan Mr. Ian Chang to sign the bottle from the tasting event which was held at Milroy’s of Soho, as every time I drink the bottle I think of the great event and knowledge gained.
Anyway back to the Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon cask which as the name states is matured in a solely ex-Bourbon casks and have different batches of the Solist ex-Bourbon which are distinguishable by the cask number code on the middle of the label on each bottle just above the bottle number. So that next links into the age of this bottle which is considered as a NAS (No Age Statement) whisky, but a little inside for you is that the Solist’s can all be dated and give you an indication of the age which I’ll explain just below. Since this is a Single cask bottling it is bottled at the higher abv of 58.6% which is cask strength and no colouring is added to this whisky. If you’re new to Taiwan’s climate which has an average temperature of 23 degrees up to 38 degrees Celsius whiskies in Taiwan mature 3-5 times faster than Scotland meaning a whisky matured for 5 years matches a 15-25yr Scotch.
How to Read the Cask No. bottle code: Each code on every bottle differs as each one tells you about the casks used and the cask number. The one on my bottle is as follows: B100924052A Now to break to code down is rather simple into the type of cask used, then the years, months, day & barrel number on the day.
B | 10 | 09 | 24 | 052 | A
Bourbon Cask | Year | Month | Day | Barrel on the Day | A
Colour: Straw Gold.
Nose: First nosing introduces a sweet vanilla note which reminds me of custard crème biscuits, a scoop of napoleon ice-cream with all three flavours in one scoop but with more creamy vanilla. Now more sweetness in the aroma of caster sugar, on the end a tropical fruity note of caramelised fried bananas.
Palate: On the palate rather light on entry and then within a couple seconds the texture thickens, with a combination of spices adding a gingery warmth along with a little sting of the abv leading into herbal notes. Vanilla custard coats the mid palate evolving into a toffee red apple note and a burst of white pepper on the exit.
Finish: The finish is long and seems to carry on for some time with vanilla and honeycomb lingering all around and a soft oakiness felt on the back of the palate and notes of desiccated coconut before finishing.
AGE: 5 Years 8 Days
CASKS: Ex-Bourbon Casks.
DISTILLERY: Kavalan Distillery
COMPANY: King Car Group
REGION/ORIGIN: Yilan County, Taiwan
EXCLUSIVE: Yes + No (Different Batches)
Comments: In my opinion on the Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask has so much to discover and unravel in the whisky. It does burst in vanilla and sweeter notes whether it be from the nose or to the finish and the depth with the spice aspect works in harmony of this whisky. I can see why it’s been picking up so many gold awards around the world and if you like single cask, cask strength bottlings then this is something which I would recommend you try. As for is it worth the money I would say that considering the whisky quality and its comparable age along Scottish whiskies this is more superior value for money and the closer you can find it to £120 the better. Would I recommend water with this whisky? The answer is an easy no and that because it does change the texture however if your unable to palate the whisky then adding water will only change the texture. Stay tuned as the next whisky which I’ll be reviewing should be another Solist and also check out my YouTube Review on the Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask here.