Item: #105080
Bottle Size: 750ml


Yes! Kavalan has finally landed in the US market. It’s about time. I’ve been hearing so many great things about this brand; when I had the opportunity to try their malts, the hype lived up to my expectations.

I had the rare opportunity of meeting Ian Chang, the Master Distiller of Kavalan. He’s been with the company since it opened. This company was established in 2008 by a company called King Car. The term “King” in Taiwan doesn’t necessarily mean “ruler,” in their culture but it represents “gold” and “fortune.” The founder of King Car has a love for cars, and the concept of using that noun means to always “move forward,” and that’s essentially their philosophy at Kavalan. When they were building the distillery, they hired a consultant from Scotland who said it would take them about 7-11 years to build a distillery from the ground up. However, it took Kavalan only 9 months to build and complete the distillery. Pretty amazing! The heat and sub-tropical location of Taiwan causes their whiskies to age quickly, reaching their peak between 4-5 years. Essentially, their whiskies age significantly faster than other places like Scotland and Ireland due to their climate. It is said that for each year that their spirit sits inside a barrel, it equates to 4 years in a barrel that’s located in a cold climate. In addition, the heat and humidity in Taiwan make the proof of the alcohol drop, which results in the alcohol evaporating really fast and causing the "angels' share" to be at 18% last year, compare to Scotland the alcohol evaporates roughly 2% per year in the barrel (I guess they have thirsty, greedy angels in Taiwan! Ha!).

I would say that my favorite line of their profile is the Kavalan Solist ex-bourbon and sherry cask, but today I’m reviewing their Kavalan Classic. This is malt that’s bottled at 43% ABV, while the rest of the world gets this juice at 40% ABV. Lucky for us! Kavalan Classic has spent most of its life in ex-bourbon casks ( I hear that most of the ex-bourbon casks come from Jim Beam with the rest sourced from Evan Williams and Buffalo Trace). In addition, it’s also aged in sherry and ex-wine casks. I heard that the company prefers aging the majority of their malts in ex-bourbon casks because the profile tastes more cohesive, whereas with sherry casks, if it sits in that type of barrel too long, it can get a bit too astringent. The company has created quite a buzz, winning 'best in class' at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in 2011.

Nose: On the nose, I get tropical fruit notes with hints of of sour plum and black coffee. With a few drops of water, the aromas of sour plum candy and brown sugar emerge.

Flavor: On the palate, I get citrus notes with hints of walnuts and coffee. There’s definitely some kick and spice on the palate! The finish is long, and I’m greeted with orange zest laced with dry brown sugar and hints of candied plums. This isn’t cloyingly sweet but it just has an aftertaste and essence of these confectionary notes. With a few drops of water it becomes sweet, picking up some creamy tones. Dried plums and walnuts emerge as it finishes off to an orange and simple syrup note. I hope you’ll take the time to explore the whole line of Kavalan. I must say, of young single malts, I would rank Kavalan, Kilchoman and Amrut high. -Lihn Do
Filter Products By: