For those who don't know about the Kavalan Distillery, they are a based in Taiwan and part of the King Car Group - a Taiwanese conglomerate that owns a number of international brands such as the Kavalan Distillery, Mr. Brown Coffee, Buckskin Beer, Biotech & Pharmaceutical businesses, as well as orchid farms, shrimp farms, and a cultural & educational foundation. Talk about diversity.
The Kavalan Distillery has been in operation since 2005. They are famous for a plethora of whiskies - namely the incredible range of Solist cask strength bottles that include the iconic Sherry Solist, Port Solist, Bourbon Cask Solist, Vinho Barrique, and some others (most of which have been reviewed on CopperedWrench) Their core range is no less varied and exciting, with a range of lower strength whiskies that traverse everything from port cask finished to sherry, to bourbon, and more. They pretty much have a flavour-offering for everyone.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to Taiwan and visit the distillery in Yilan County twice, and their setup at the distillery is nothing short of jaw-dropping.
This review is for one of Kavalan's core range bottles - the "Classic" and takes its bottle design from Taipei's famous towering landmark skyscraper "Taipei 101"
Appearance: Medium Amber with slow, thin legs.
Nose: Immediate tropical fruit with lots of candy aromas. Specific emphasis on ripe, earthy mango and passion fruit. There's also a note of cola. It's incredibly clean and crisp - almost like a fruit-punch or a fruity Chardonnay. Chunks of dried pineapple flit around in the background.
Palate: Medium sweetness that almost immediately gives way to a dry tartness you sometimes get with fresh pineapple juice. Notes of old-fashioned cola that was picked up on the nose now make their way to the palate, as does the dried pineapple. There's also a slight buttery element with a fizzy tingle on the tongue. Given this is only 40%, the flavours that carry though are immense.
Finish: Medium with a warming fruity linger.
Conclusion: It's a little cracker and full of flavour. I love the fact that this will easily dispel the myth that 40% whiskies carry little body and flavour. This has bags of both. It's a very easy to drink tropical fruit-laced whisky. Only after writing these notes did I look at the official words on the website and saw that they also mention tropical fruits such as mango etc. It's almost a warm weather dram, with the delicate fruits and flora on the nose and tongue, but given I've been drinking this over the past month in temperatures averaging about 5 degrees in the evenings, it's also a cold-weather drink as well 😄 Not generally available outside of specialist retailers (Waitrose used to sell it but seemed to have stopped), prices seem to vary between £50 - £60.
More information about Kavalan's story and their range of whiskies can be found on the official website.