Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Strength

My next review is from another region I have always wanted to try, Taiwan and their Kavalan Solist Sherry whisky. Solist Sherry means that this whisky was matured in one single Spanish oloroso sherry butt and in this instance it was cask number S06090404. It is bottled without any vatting, finish, chill filtration or reduction. Furthermore it is also bottled at cask strength.

Kavalan_Solist Sherry_Cask Strength_S060904046_The Smoky DramWhisky: Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Strength (#S060904046), 58.6% ABV (Cost around R1500) 

Region: Taiwan

Style: Single Malt

Age: NAS

Kavalan, the earliest tribe that inhabited Yilan, represents sincerity, honesty, and the spirit of step-by-step cultivation. A tradition that the Kavalan distillery continues to this day. The founder of the Kavalan distillery spent years looking for the ideal water supply. He chose Yilan as the site for its abundant supply of cold, spring water flowing through the Snow Mountain. The process water is drawn from the springs in the Snow Mountain and Central Mountains imparting a smooth and creamy mouth feel to the whisky.

One of the big differences in the making of Kavalan whisky, compared to their Scottish counterparts, is the percentage of Angel’s share. Angel’s share is the quantity of alcohol lost to evaporation from the casks during maturation. The light sipping angels in Scotland average around 2% per year, whilst the heavy drinking angels of Taiwan enjoy around a 15% share per year. This allows for an extremely accelerated maturation process.  In other words, 3 years in these type of conditions is probably equal to 4 or 5 times that length of maturation in the more sedate Scottish regions (and other cooler whisky making regions as well). 

Colour: Stunning colour, a burnt umber to mahogany, with very thick, very slow long legs.

Nose: Marvellously complex and layered nose. Dark fruits, being led by black currants (fruit pastilles) and cherries. Brandied raisins and fruit mix, Christmas cake, date loaf and dried fruit coming through strongly as well. Also in the mix is caramel, marzipan, winter spices and a vanilla sweetness that has a nuttiness to it.

Palate: Seriously powerful with lovely depth and character. Mouth feel is rich, oily and full. Palate is warm and dry with winter spices (cinnamon, cloves and some ginger), marzipan, sweet (caramel), dried dark fruits (dates, sultanas) and some almond nuttiness thrown in. Spicy tingle on tip and sides of ones tongue. Black currant follows and towards the end some dark chocolate.

Finish: Long with sweet winter spices, dried fruit and quiet hotness at the end. Quite drying, very warm and spicy.

Overall: A cracker and beauty of a sherried dram that is powerful and rich with lovely complexity and personality. If you love sherried whiskies then this is one to try.

My Score: 86