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I sampled this price winning Taiwanese single malt with a bottle marked March 2013. Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask is only 3 years old. matured shortly because of the local climate and oak.
This has Wo hu cang long written all over it. Like a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this whisky is kicking it hard, with some complexity though. Young age doesn't show that much, Kavalan has character in aromas and taste.
Nose: The first whiff, without water, gives a strong and nice aroma of pine. Water and some time in the glass: vanilla and bananas take over. Toasted vanilla at first, then sugary. Some creamy coconut is present. Fruity and tropical, feels great.
Taste: Amazing, peppery and salty licorice starts the show. Quite quickly, turns to sugary and tropical. Very sprinkly, like a good gin and tonic. Berries in carbonated form and vanilla butter and toast. And no, not buttery thick, the vanilla butter is a diet version.
Finish: Long, oaky and peppery hot. When the hotness fades away, bananas with tropical fruits in a doughy form make the aftertaste.
Balance: Great dram! Weird to score a whisky so young so high.