King Car, a Taiwanese group with more than 2000 employees, was established in 1956 and runs business in several fields: food, biotechnology, aquaculture, and also beverages. Since late 2008 they’re bottling the Kavalan whisky.
We’re trying the Solist (single cask release) matured in a bourbon cask. It’s said to be 3 years old. Note that the sherried Solist got praised even more than its bourbon sister.
Kavalan Solist (57,1%, OB, bourbon cask #B080519088)
Nose: very fresh, lots of vanilla and coconut. Sawdust. A big wave of bubblegum too, as well as some cookie dough. Then some tropical fruitiness of banana and mango.
Mouth: sweet and spicy – the wood is quite firm now, developing on pepper first but a slight tannic bitterness as well towards the end. Some grainy notes. Luckily there’s also a lot of fruit (pear, apple, strawberries with cream) to balance it. Quite some vanilla again, a bit of nutmeg too.
Finish: medium long and dry, quite a lot of zesty grapefruit and bitter oak, with a faint vanilla note in the background.
The nose is a nice surprise, it’s a textbook example of summery bourbon maturation. Overall though it’s still young whisky, with a big focus on wood already. A great effort for such a young company. Too bad they’re so hard to come by around here.