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Kavalan distillery is located in the northern part of Taiwan, 60 kilometres south of Taipei. It was built over an eight month period in 2005 and 2006 and uses copper stills that were constructed in Scotland. The distillery boasts an annual capacity of approx. 3.9 million litres. The name of 'Kavalan' is taken from a group of indigenous people who once lived in Yi-Lan County where the distillery is based. The Solist Vinho Barrique is a four-year old cask-strength whisky that was matured in first-fill American wine casks which were toasted and then recharred. It was released in 2009.
The nose is sweet and rich with dried fruits, rubber (but in a good way) and jelly beans. There is hardly any alcohol burn despite the high ABV.
The palate is full-bodied and mouth coating. Again there is the distinct flavour of dried fruits, together with notes of dark chocolate and a spicy oakiness.
The finish is long and warming. Once more the jelly beans make an appearance, along with syrupy notes.
This is my favourite of Kavalan’s Solist series. I am repeating myself, however it is truly astonishing that this single malt is just a few years old. Both nose and palate reflect a complex fruitiness and cause hardly any burn despite the high ABV. Interestingly I did not detect any flavour reminiscent of wine. All in all this is very well done!