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Kavalan Single Malt Whisky

Average score from 4 reviews and 8 ratings 82

Kavalan Single Malt Whisky

Product details

  • Brand: Kavalan
  • Bottler: Unknown
  • ABV: 40.0%

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Kavalan Single Malt Whisky

Kavalan is yet another fine example of a new Asian distillery that is coming out with some fantastic single malt. The Kavalan Single Malt is one of their entry level expressions but it sure packs a punch.

The nose highlights the lovely notes of the Oak and Vanilla from the cask in which this spirit was matured in as well some distinct fruity notes.. I'd say more Mango and Papaya is what stood out for me..

The continuity and consistency about this malt was probably what made it so special.. It was like the palate was a continuation of the nose with those juicy Mango flavors along with the Vanilla and a dash of spices. The best part though was how the malt has this rich creamy feel to it in your mouth and boy that felt really nice!

Finally as I mentioned earlier the finish too had its fair share of the Vanilla and the Oak in it.. its like the Cask had given the spirit all it could.. and left the perfect imprint on it.

All in all this one is a thumbs up.. looking forward to tasting more expressions from them..

The trend is on: very young good Asians and fading older Scottish malts that are fast becoming young NA. A good thing? Yes, when it tastes this good, I fear it is. And yet I still mourn the old stuff that will all too soon be no more

@rigmorole ... I guess with the growing demands.. limited levels of stock.. high taxation on whisky in Scotland.. NAS is just one of the forms of adaptation for distilleries from this part of the World to survive and possible flourish.. besides as you said when its good whisky no one is complaining..that being said.. I do still believe that there might still some good stuff left with the guys in Scotland its just going to become a lot more expensive for the average consumer to buy.. :)


This Kavalan Single Malt saw the light of day in 2008 and is the distillery’s best seller. It is composed from first fill bourbon and sherry casks, but also several refill casks and even a wine cask. It matured for three years, but since the climate in India is a lot hotter than in Scotland, age does not mean much. It did get a bit of E150a for the color, though. It was the first release under the Kavalan label.

The nose shows vanilla and a lot of grain in the form of sweet malt. Honey, coconut, freshly cut grass and some dried flowers. The fruit is exotic. Mango, melon, banana and some papaya. I quite like this nose, even though it is somewhat simple. Reminds me of a bourbon somehow.

The whisky dances on the tongue with a light bite of woodspice. Ginger and some nutmeg. White pepper. Immediately the coconut returns, followed by lime, banana and nuts. Make that almonds. Very sweet.

I get mostly vanilla, oak and grain on the medium long finish, with some banana at the very end.

A lot of banana in this Kavalan, eh? You can own a bottle of this Taiwanese whisky for around 60 EUR.


Let me start by saying that I've been living in Taiwan for years. This country is extremely passionate about whisky and its one of the best priced places in the world to be a whisky consumer. Low taxes and a high per-capita consumer rate means Taiwan gets special special offers and special prices from many of the Scottish distilleries. After all, it is the 5th biggest whisky consumer in the world.

That being said, I feel I've spent too much time focusing on Scottish whiskies distilled half a world away. Shame on me. I'll be visiting the Kavalan distillery next month so I've taken it upon myself to familiarize myself with the brand and its range. Kavalan whiskies are Taiwanese in origin, but they are made using Scottish techniques in a modern, high-tech distillery. It is the new and much talked-about up and comer in the world of whisky brands, and rightly so.

I'll start with the entry-level bottling. The named "Single Malt." It's been matured in bourbon casks for only three years, although you wouldn't think so.

Nose: Tropical and vibrant. It's got hints of melon and coconuts, which is quite unique. Aside from that, it's a pretty straight forward light bourbon nose. Vanilla, honey, cereal, and a mild zestiness. No harshness, or citrussy burn that comes with immature whiskies. How is this only 3 years old?

Palate: Fresh. Light. Zesty. A bit creamy, with lemon zest, vanilla, light honey, a bit of oak, cereal... basically everything that the nose promised. Really nice, refreshing honey notes. Quality honey. Not a long finish, but it lingers nicely. The fresh and vibrant flavours dance about with remarkable consistently throughout the experience. Consistently simple and pleasant. Good stuff.

A straight forward and vibrant little dram. Quite inoffensive, light and bourbony. A lot of people would like this, but a limited few would love it, as the flavour profile is quite middle-of-the-road. However, there a melony, banana, coconutty tropical aspect to this dram that does set it apart. What's worth noting is that this three year old could easily hold it's own against a much more mature Scotch.

The distillery was only built in 2006, yet it's already releasing bottles that are winning international tasting competitions and putting older Scotches to shame. I can only imagine the caliber of whiskies they'll be releasing in a few years time. The warmer climate here is certainly serving this brand well, and I think this distillery has a very, very bright future.

Next up: Kavalan Concertmaster Single Malt.

Agreed on the bright future of the distillery. Bottles of this brand have already replaced the staple JW black & double black in asian weddings and ceremonies.

I'm just a little put-off about the Kavalan name. It's a taiwanese brand trying to sound like a scotch (i dunno the origin of the word but it's not really marketed as an obvious taiwanese export)

Why not just be real like yamazaki?

Kavalan is the name of a pre-Chinese aboriginal tribe native to the region of Taiwan where they make the whisky.


Nose: Sweet barley. Some Flowery notes. I am sensing a bit of Metal and of course Exotic fruit (papaya, Banana,Melon) Very fragrant and fruity as could be expected from this youngster which was matured in a hot climate. It does feel older than three years of age.

Body: Spicy With hints of Coconut and Banana. There are wee traces of toasted oak , vanilla and also ginger.

Finish: Oak, Exotic fruit (mostly Banana) and cereal.

Bottom line : This is the basic expression which is bottled at 40%, with some Caramel as coloring material , but is a good starting point in getting to know the Kavalan line. It’s very sweet and exotic, and does have a certain Bourbony quality, but the spice and vanilla notes are also mixed with quite some fruity (exotic fruit) notes, which make it very drinkable and nice. A very well made dram, if not very complex , but thoroughly enjoyable. What do you know? Taiwan can produce a solid dram. Woot!

I like this dram. Simple but nice. It's quite a standard light bourbon release, but the tropical notes you mentioned like the melon, papaya, banana, and coconuts do add a somewhat unique and exotic character. Great review! Glad to see the whisky world outside of Asia is starting to take notice of this fantastic distillery.

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