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Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique

Average score from 3 reviews and 5 ratings 90

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique

Product details

  • Brand: Kavalan
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • Series: Solist
  • ABV: 57.7%

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Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique

My good friend was visiting his home in Taiwan this January for Lunar New Year and I asked if he would bring me back a Vinho Barrique if he found the time to get one. Well luckily he did, and even got a 1 Liter bottle of it so this should (in theory) last for a while. Thanks Hao Chu!

Kavalan Vinho Barrique is not only a fancy sounding whisky, but it won World's Best Single Malt at the 2015 World Whisky Awards. Now each one of these is single cask, so I highly doubt that I have the award winner here. A quick Google search revealed that "To mature their Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique expression, the King Car distillers in Taiwan use (American White Oak) casks which have held both red and white wines, before being re-toasted."

Cask W140108080A Bottle #101/141 57.8% abv Bottle opened about 3 months and 90% full. Neat in a Glencairn.

Nose: Intense red, purple and black fruits. A hint of oaked chardonnay. A lot going on and I'll try to nail down some specific fruits. Salted dried plum, black grapes, white grapes (but not red grapes). All manner of berries. Red ones, blue ones, black ones. Pick your berry it's there and all wrapped in vanilla and oak. I'm surprised how much oak there is behind all the fruit and vanilla. With the other 2 Kavalans I've tried (Solist Sherry and Solist Bourbon), there was not this much complexity or oak. This is intense, fruity, complex and well balanced. The chardonnay note really helps balance the intense dark fruits.

Palate: Again the word is intense. More salted dried plums, and just haymakers of dark, dark grapes and berries. The chardonnay note is still there but very much in the background. Less oaky than the nose. The nose was an attack from all manner of fruity, oaky angles while the palate is just a dark fruit onslaught. Red fruits, black fruits, purple fruits. Every dark colored fruit you can think of is probably here. It's rich too. Not quite port cask rich but getting up there.

Finish: Finish is long and quite sweet. Not as oaky as the nose or palate. I get a very healthy dose of chocolate on the finish which makes me want to go back and see why I didn't get that on the nose or palate.

Overall: This glass of whisky could be examined forever. Intense, complex, dark and fruity. Deserving of the awards it's achieved and if my friend is willing, I'll get another one next year.

@casualtorture thank you for a lovely review. Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique is the real deal, all right.


Kavalan, from Taiwan, has quite a few lovely single casks bottlings in their Solist range. This is one of those: the Solis Vinho Barrique – a wine cask. I quite like the bourbon and sherry versions, but wine? Those are usually hit or miss in my book. When I last tried one of these (W071210010) I thought it was okay, but not outstanding. But that was five years ago. Let’s try this one then. The nose offers loads of candied fruit from the tropics. Think mango, plums and some banana. Kumquat? Kiwi? Melon, for sure. The wine is clearly present, but far from over the top. So far, so good. Let me add some water. While it remains sweet, a very herbal edge appears with oriental spices and loads of green notes. Sturdy attack on the palate, but that comes as no surprise with such an ABV. The wine plays a supporting role, making this malt mostly about dark fruit and notes of cherries and banana pudding. Some almonds, cherries and coconut. Oranges by the truckload. Diluted it remains sweet, but becomes more spicy. More creamy as well. This is a swimmer. The finish is very long and spicy with a bit of sweetness at the death. With water, it remains very creamy throughout. Oh, yes, this is wonderful. Aromatic, tasty and mouth coating. Top dram.

I've had the Solist Sherry and bourbon but not this. It's on my wish list for sure. After it won all those awards it's hard to come by.


The final Kavalan that I will try is the Solist Vinho Barrique. It matured 4 years on American oak that was air dried for two years, before white and red wine was matured in it. The casks were then scraped and recharred before receiving the Kavalan spirit. The wine is obvious on the color, which is amber with a pink hue. The whisky sticks to the glass.

I get great tropical touches on the nose with mango, kumquat and even some kiwi. Loads of toffee, too. Fresh dades, melon and papaya. The wine is kept caged. If tasted blind, I think I would have said sherry cask.

On the palate, though, the wine does come out wiht guns blazing. Slightly sourish, but completely within limits with praline and cherries. Strawberries too. Asian herbs. Reminds me of Mon Chérie. Hints of coconut. Oranges?

The finish is long and sweet.

This is more than a great whisky, while with wine it is often hit & miss. This is a hit. Around 100 EUR.

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