Whisky Live Singapore – King Kavalan

Kavalan has been sweeping global awards – garnering top World Whiskies Awards,  dominated the Malt Maniacs Annual Awards 2016 and many more.

So what did I have the pleasure of perusing in Singapore?


Kavalan Classic Single Malt 40%

  • Light, fresh nose, smooth on the palate with a slightly sour bitter quality
  • Was like sipping a blend of bourbon, sherry and wine


Kavalan Concertmaster 40%

  • What can I say about this one? Tried it many times… nothing wrong but also nothing exceptional… reminded me that while pleasant, simply doesn’t float my boat whisky wise
  • Ex-bourbon cask, matured for 2-3 years with a Port finish


Kavalan ex-Bourbon Oak 46%

  • Nose was sweet honey delight, bright, uncomplicated
  • While clearly not sophisticated, I was surprised how much I enjoyed the ‘watered down’ version… having previously only been exposed to the ex-Bourbon’s cask strength cousin


Kavalan Sherry Oak 46%

  • Lots of sherry berry nose, round soft on the palate with a bitter, dry finish that stays
  • Surprisingly enjoyable, nice long finish – much more than anticipated


Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon B100924087A Bottle 008/200 59.4%

  • Sweet and sassy on the nose, tipping to the softer bourbon notes, palate has substance and the finish is well rounded


Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask S1001290048 Bottle 102/489 57.8%

  • Familiar territory with this one! Rich, sherry, berry, bursting with flavours, lots of liquorice in this one with a great big sweeping finish


Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry Cask FI1007070264 Bottle 441/575 57%

  • I wanted to go “Wow!” but found this almost too dry and bitter for my taste, an interesting experiment and quite distinctive but not an easy dram


Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique W120727102A Bottle 213/231 57.1%

  • Much more my style – some of the rich fruity elements yet more subtle than the sherry, a nice spice, dash of nuts, even a puff of smoke


There is little doubt that in many circles Kavalan is indeed ‘King’ of whiskies at the moment. Even better – it remains accessible and even in the more affordable category versus others who have reached such heights.

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Kavalan Solist Bourbon Cask (2010) 58.6%

Of all the whiskies we planned to sample, the one I was looking forward to the most was the Kavalan Solist.

Having recently tried the astounding intense burst of flavours of the cask strength Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask No S1001200358, the bar was set very high. Even recalibrating expectations for a bourbon rather than sherry cask, I was primed and ready for a treat!

Kavalan Solist Bourbon

Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask No B101124001A (Bottle 102 of 230) 58.6%

  • Nose: Much brighter, almost floral with sweet honey, citrus fruits and a bit of banana thrown in for good measure… one could even suggest banana bread… as it continued to open up
  • Palate: For some it was a bit rougher than preferred for others quite smooth, largely on the sweeter side without spice or smoke, some slightly nutty elements
  • Finish: Slight spice and back to sweetness…

Now cask strength whiskies are not for everyone… however this Kavalan still clearly has the Taiwan climate advantage of more concentrated aromas and flavours in just a few years.

Just for those wanting to partially de-code Kavalan’s cask  no B101124001A

  • B = Ex-Bourbon cask
  • 10 = Put into a cask in 2010

Was it a stunner like its Sherry Cask cousin? Honestly no.

But what I must say is that by releasing so many single casks, Kavalan is really showing the world the range and variation found between casks.

Other Kavalan tasting experiences:

What else did we sample?

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Far east evening – Togouchi, Nikka, Yoichi + Kavalan

It is always a treat to peak into someone’s private whisky collection… even better when there is an opportunity to sample in a convivial atmosphere with others keen to explore.

On a sultry monsoon evening in Mumbai I found myself in Colaba entering a gorgeous home with a plot afoot to do a whisky tasting with a decidedly East Asian  theme…

Togouchi, Nikka, Yoichi, Kavalan

What did we sample?

Clearly the whiskies were sourced via La Maison du Whisky in Paris with some then continuing their journey to the UK… before making their way to Mumbai, India.

Want to know more? Click on the whisky links above…

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