Whisky Advocate

Review: Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Cask Strength

May 27th, 2011

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Cask Strength, 59.2%, €70

Kavalan is Taiwanese whisky from the King Car Company, and the progress its whiskeys are making is truly remarkable. With humidity roughly the same as Speyside — high — but the temperature more than 20° Fahrenheit  higher, maturation is on fast forward. This is just 4 years old, but it’s a monster mix of kumquat liqueur, tropical fruit, blackcurrant, and strawberry and cream candy. Later on some eastern spices, especially turmeric, bring it all back home. Remarkable.     
–Dominic Roskrow

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 92

11 Responses to “Review: Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Cask Strength”

  1. Red_Arremer says:

    Nice notes– This sounds pretty different and its still rating a high score. Also, what is “Solist Vinho Barrique”? A wine that used to be in the barrel?

    • mongo says:

      from the label it seems clear “solist” is the name of the whisky (like “nadurra” or “corryvreckan”)–it means soloist in a number of european languages.

      “vinho barrique” i imagine describes the casks used to mature it: barriques are a particular style of wine cask, and “vinho” suggests portuguese wine.

      “solist” and “vinho barrique” are not in one line anywhere on the label, and so there should probably be a comma between them in the review title, as there would be in “glenlivet nadurra, first fill bourbon, cask strength”

  2. sam k says:

    I like the “Hooked on Phonics” spelling!

  3. Mark Davis says:

    Will these be available in America?

  4. JWC says:

    the tasting notes are definitely different what i usually hear. i don’t recall ever hearing about kumquat or tumeric. as a matter of fact, i don’t remember the last time i tasted kumquat. i assume based on the pricing it will be available in europe. since its a taiwanese whiskey, will it be available in japan and korea? if so, i may try it when i go on a biz trip.

  5. mongo says:

    yeah, turmeric’s an odd one. turmeric powder? or the whole root? i wonder if dominic will be willing to chime in and describe the flavour he means to reference. given that turmeric powder is essentially flavourless–it’s used more as a colouring, and turmeric root is almost never eaten by itself this doesn’t seem like a very useful descriptor.

    • Fresh turmeric root has a rather distinct aroma, but it’s not very strong. It can be found in some specialized Asian food shops.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        I know that smell, Oliver. Isn’t it ironic that the more precise a review is the more people will wonder if it is really communicating anything at all? At some descriptive level of tasting note depth the reviewer inevitably diverges from the common experiences and speech patterns of his or her constituency– Any reviewing beyond that depth communicates poorly and messes with the credibility of the whole review. The question is whether or not it’s possible to for a reviewer to know this depth and react accordingly…

      • mongo says:

        yes, i know that fresh turmeric root has a distinct aroma (though it is indeed very subtle)–i cook with it. my point, echoing red, is that this is so esoteric a reference as to be pointless.

  6. Joshua says:

    Definitely a lot of tropical fruit in this one. I’ve had a few Kavalan whiskies and I think this is my favorite one.

    Here’s my review (if you’re interested): http://jewishsinglemaltwhiskysociety.com/?p=3582

    Cheers! Great review Dominic!

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