Review: Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry Cask Single Malt Taiwanese Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

6 years; Fino Sherry Cask
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Kavalan (Yuanshan, Taiwan)

The Kavalan Solist series is one of the best known in whisky - winning prestigious awards including some of the best Malt Maniac awards in the last few years. They are single barrels bottled straight from the barrel, at cask strength, each with a cask number labelled which includes the date of distillation. (E.g. this is cask S060814013, with "S" meaning sherry and "06" being the year of distillation). They use a number of different casks in the Solist series, including Bourbon, Sherry, and Wine Casks. All of them have won significant awards in the whisky community, showing the robustness of the Kavalan spirit.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: Cask S060814013

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2012

The nose is quite earthy, with a fair bit of black licorice, raisins, pistachios, walnuts, pralines, roasted macadamia nuts, caramel, toffee, apple seeds, apple, and dried noodles. The palate is absolutely loaded with toffee – so much so that I’m quite surprised.  Caramel, vanilla bean, almond paste, maple syrup, maple butter, tobacco, walnut – and quite a complex and long finish – maple, toffee, mixed nuts, buttery brittle, apple seed, and light tannin.

I prefer to drink at cask strength – it isn’t nearly as great watered down. Nice whisky…. though it’s a lot to pay in most places.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. This stuff tends to be pretty expensive, and it was really good but not enough for me to pay more than about $90 for this batch. I’ve seen it around $250+.