Haven’t actually put a lot of my Kavalan reviews up yet, although I do have a few that I’m sure I’ll get round to at some point. Probably.
I’ve never been (sorry) super impressed, as other seem to be, with Kavalan. I always found it was a little out of kilter despite having a lot of intensity and sweetness, it needs to be balanced. Then trying the very expensive Fino I was put off, as I found it super weird. Kavalan just wasn’t for me I thought.
This was confirmed recently when I very briefly (although didn’t review) the very expensive Amontillado Solist and again, wasn’t impressed.
This all changed in Frankfurt. When I had a chance to try the very expensive PX Solist.
Kavalan Solist (Premium) Pedro Ximenez 55.6%
Nose: Dense rich fruit, slightly meaty, plum, apricot, bortrytis wine (which is a lovely note to get), I’m thinking Sauternes in particular, meaty raisin. Not too complex but nice nose.
Taste: Dry start, rich and intense, then restrained sweetness, builds beautifully, loads of sweetness and fruity layers, complex, meaty raisin, plum, cherry. The restrained sweetness is key here to creating the balance.
Finish: Long length. Lovely, goes on and on, chewy fruit and berries with great spices.
2011-2016. My first Kavalan I've been really impressed with. Amazing when I first tasted it (I think I gave it 86ish), it then developed some heat with time. Which is a shame but maybe you could just drink it quick.
With a new found motivation to try more Kavalan I tried another of the Solist Sherry, which I’ve reviewed twice before but being all single casks can be very different from each other as this one shows…
Kavalan Solist Sherry 57.1%
Colour: Dark Amber
Nose: Deep, dark, intense and rich. Praline and chocolate, more nutty than the other Sherry Solists I've had. Chestnut, wood polish, brandy.
Taste: Soft and intense, old wood, nutty Sherry, rich spices, saffron, chestnut, dried fig, dry oak.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Dense raisin, dry oak, espresso.
2009-2017. A good cask this one. A little more interesting than the other ones I’ve tried that provide JUST Sherry at a massive strength.
And a bonus:
Kavalan Solist Port 58.6%
Colour: Amber, Purpleish
Nose: Intense and sweet, lots of red berries, blackberry, blueberry, a little earthy, stewed fruit, quite dry.
Taste: Intense and sweet of course, little red berries, sour blueberry, sour blackberry, oak but quite juicy, a little chalky, ginger spice. Quite sour but just about balances with the sweetness and spice.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Juicy, mouth watering, some tingling spice and oak.
2009-2017. I quite like this, but not as good as the Sherry which seems to work very well with the Kavalan profile.
Thanks for reading!
Taiwanese Whisky Reviews #4-#6
Whisky Network Reviews #654-#656
Network Average: 74.7
Best Score: 93
Worst Score: 22
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.