This week we had the honour of releasing the first ever Kavalan Solist Rum Cask matured whisky. As the first of its kind in the triumphant Solist range, it’s a groundbreaking single malt that is only available exclusively here at dekanta.
Kavalan have been on the world whisky map for some time now. Hailing from Taiwan, they were founded in 2005 and have gradually built a name for themselves as a trusted producer of quality single malt whiskies.
They appeared on the horizon with the tasty King Car Conductor, Kavalan Class and Concertmaster single malts and, while they weren’t world-beaters, they were impressive creations and highlighted the potential for top quality whisky production at the distillery.
It was with the release of the now famous Solist range that they really started to gain some well-deserved recognition. This range of whiskies is made up of cask strength expressions, each of which has been matured in a first-fill cask, ensuring that the cask has a greater impact on the flavour profile of the whisky.
It was with this range that Kavalan took it up a notch, in terms of both taste and design, and it wasn’t long before they were awarded for their quality on the world stage.
In 2012 the Solist Fino Sherry Cask was named “New Whisky of the Year” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. Then, in 2015, they hit dizzy new heights when their Solist Vinho Barrique won “World’s Best Single Malt” at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards. As if that wasn’t enough, they followed up the very next year, winning 2016’s “World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt” with there Solist Amontadillo Sherry Single Cask whisky.
This really put Kavalan on the map and since then they have gone from strength to strength, adding a number of exciting and innovative new whiskies to the Solist range.
The latest addition, the single cask Solist Rum Cask single malt, is the third whisky in the range to be released exclusively on dekanta and it’s without a doubt one of the most exciting Solist whiskies created to date.
Kavalan Solist Rum Cask
The cask for this one was specially selected by Kavalan’s Master Blender, Ian Chang, who carefully monitored the whisky through its maturation period in a cask that previously held rum.
He wanted the whisky to exhibit a certain level of complexity, balance and poise before being bottled and it certainly has all of those things in abundance.
The nose brings butterscotch and brown sugar along with obvious hints of orange peel and vanilla from the rum cask. This meanders into cherries and candied peels on the palate, with subtle white pepper spice lingering behind.
Going into the bottle at a cask strength of 57.1%, this fascinating expression allows room for a significant amount of water to be added (depending on your taste of course). I found that with just one or two drops, the nose became richer, with dark chocolate, ginger and oak making themselves known, while the palate grew sweeter with gentle fruits, brown sugar and creamy molasses.
Kavalan seem to have a knack for creating accomplished, natural and all-round fascinating expressions, no matter the cask or finishing period that the whisky goes through, and this is yet another to add to the growing list.
It’s a whisky that takes the Solist range onto new ground and it does so in style, the only real shame is that it’s a single cask bottling of which only 152 bottles were created, so there’s really not that much to go around.