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Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask review

Kavalan ex-bourbon feature

Kavalan is Taiwanese single malt produced and bottled by King Car Kavalan distillery. They started bottling of Kavalan in 2008 and their whiskies have good reputation, which has been growing fast. It also shows in the price tag and availability, which is why I’m reviewing a sample. My 5 cl sample has been bottled in March 2013. Their previous ex-Bourbon cask releases have won Gold Medal at both, the International Spirits Challenge 2010 and the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2011.

Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask is a single cask, cask strength release, and apparently only 3 years old. The reason why they don’t have to mature their whiskies for several years is the climate. Depending on the local temperature and the wood to imbue the spirit with unique character. I have to admit, the young age doesn’t show that much in Kavalan Solist. At least in this bourbon cask matured version. And I guess it doesn’t show in their sherry cask matured Soloists either – because they are well praised too.

King Car, the large Taiwanese group was established in 1956 and has several business fields under its name. They have production in food, biotechnology, aquaculture and beverages.
Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Cask review, bottled 2013

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – kicking hard with complexity

Wo hu cang long aka Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a movie combining intelligent storytelling with good looking special effects and martial arts. The movie came to my mind while sipping this bourbon cask matured Kavalan Solist. Both are kicking it hard, but with complexity. And doing it good. Kavalan is truly a rare whisky experience – a single malt so young, offering so much character in aromas and taste. Good dram indeed.

Matured in:
Ex-Bourbon casks
Colour: Pale gold
Nose: Without water, pine was the first aroma that hit me. With water and time in the glass, vanilla and bananas start to dominate. The vanilla feels toasted at first but turns sugary with time. Hints of creamy coconut. Tropical and fruity.
Taste: Amazing taste, starts with peppery salty licorice (salmiac). The palate turns into sugary and tropical quite fast, though. Sprinkly, like gin and tonic. Carbonated berries with vanilla butter and toast. The body isn’t buttery thick, more like a light vanilla butter.
Finish: Great length, peppery hot with oak. As the hot notes fade away, tropical fruits and bananas in doughy form start to raise in the aftertaste.
Balance: Amazing whisky, now I know what all the fuzz is about. I am amazed for scoring whisky so young so high. Single cask and cask strength with climate helping to make rapid maturation. Those are the ingredients for this great single malt whisky. Complex, powerful and tropical whisky.


Distillery: King Car Region: Taiwan ABV: 57% Non-chill filtered, no added colour


Did you know?
Solist means “Soloist” in German, referring to the fact that it is from their single cask range.

Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask

Johannes Lindblom
Johannes Lindblom
Finnish whisky enthusiast and the author of WhiskyRant! A digital marketing professional by day – a whisky reviewer and informer by night.

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