Originally reviewed on reddit: 22/08/15
Kavalan has risen quite dramatically over the past 2 years. Hailing from Taiwan, it has developed quite a following and makes some top quality whiskies. One of their premium offerings is the Solist series, a series of single cask bottlings usually from either bourbon of sherry casks.
Aged 6 years. 57.8%ABV. Matured in a sherry butt. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cask S090122079.
Nose: Sherry bomb of the highest order, smells like an Oloroso. Dry sherry wood. Sherry funk. Fresh red fruits. Raisins. Bit of coffee. Some jammy notes. Bit of sherry gunpowder.
Palate: Superglue. Rich red fruits. Dry wood. Nutty Oloroso notes. Blackcurrant jam.
Finish: Long. More dark fruits. Sticky jam. Bit of tobacco smoke and a slight rubbery note. A slight aftertaste of figs.
Would I buy this: No
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
This is pretty much like drinking a Sherry at 57.8% alcohol. The sherry is doing all the talking. I prefer my sherried whiskies a little more balanced with more of the dirty notes and less of the fruity ones. This is a damn fine whisky if sweet sherry is your thing.
The above comment was from over a year ago and it’s interesting to note how one’s tastes change over time. I wasn’t really into the huge sherry bombs then but I’ve slowly warmed up to them. I recently tried another Solist sherry cask bottling at a friend’s house and I liked it far more than I recall liking this one.