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Kavalan Solist Amontillado

Kavalan Solist Amontillado

Single Malt Whisky

Bottled at Cask Strength 56.3% ABV

Cask #: AM110216009B

Bottle #: 367/377

This exploration into Kavalan started with a chat with one of my co-workers who was about to travel to Taiwan to visit family and friends.  They are also pretty big fans of whisky and said they were planning on taking an excursion to the Kavalan distillery while on their vacation.  The Kavalan Solist Amontillado is what he brought back for me from his travels overseas, thanks so much Wayne for picking this up for the club to enjoy.

First impressions upon seeing the packaging is wow!  It’s a lovely, sturdy wood case, it’s lined with a golden silk liner under the bottle.  On the inside of the opening cover there is a panel with a story of the distillery and some basic tasting notes for this single cask expression.  The packaging really takes this to the next level and has an exclusive feel while protecting the nectar inside.  Kavalan also include a rolled-up scroll that shows additional tasting notes with a note that this expression won the World Whisky Awards Best Single Cask in 2016.

Amontillado is a dry sherry characterized by nutty aromas, tobacco, aromatic herbs and often ethereal, polished notes of oak, these casks are certainly unique to the whisky world but still carry the familiar sherry finishing notes on the whisky.

Some notes from the distillery:

Colour: Dark rich bronze similar to, the darker brown of the wood packaging box

Nose: Very rich and fruity, warm heat from the cask strength, sweetness with notes of almonds and a touch of oak

Palate: Exotic soft sherry with a hint of caramel, longer finish backed by nuts and pepperiness

This whisky packs a bit of punch and you will be well served to let spirit breathe for a few minutes after pouring it into your choice of whisky glass. You get the warming alcohol note on the first waft from the glass. The sweetness comes through backed by a touch of oak in the back end as you breath in the aromas. The spirit is quite dark taking colouring from the Amontillado Sherry casks, it imparts some serious legs on the glass as you swirl it in your glass. Once the spirit hits your lips you get the immediate warmth from the high ABV, however that quickly dissipates into the sweet notes of the sherry backed by caramelised nuts. It is so smooth for a cask strength whisky. The finish imparts a sweet oaky wood backed by a bit of pepper.  I still got the flavour of the whisky for up to 10 minutes after the first sips. The alcohol on the nose is quickly replaced by the nuttiness and overall dry sweetness of the Amontillado sherry cask finish.

There is no age statement on this range of Solist single cask expressions from Kavalan, however some research puts it anywhere from 8-12 years, notes on the Kavalan website show that the warm climate and the heat in Taiwan allows the spirit to take on notes of the casks at a much higher rate that the traditional scotch whisky processes.  For me and the club members this expression did not taste like a young whisky that was boring and was gone on the palate instantly.  This was a complex spirit that would normally have an aging of over 20 years.

I have not seen Kavalan for sale in Ontario through the local LCBO, it is available in other parts of Canada so this was a fantastic and rare treat for us to taste and sample. I cannot wait to get a hold of more Kavalan expressions if they are all special like this one.  Bottle was $300 Canadian after exchange. Highly recommend this expression and from what I’ve heard the other Solist expressions are just a great, well done Kavalan.