Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask #52" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky (750ml) (Elsewhere $170)

SKU #1262666

Taiwan's Kavalan distillery once faced an uphill battle, selling their single malt whisky to a world of skeptics. It didn't take long, however, to sway the critics. Starting with the Ex-Bourbon winning World Whisky of the Year from Whisky Advocate and their Vinho Barrique taking "best in the world" at the World Whisky Awards the entire planet took notice and Kavalan has become nearly impossible to get since. Here at K&L we are lucky to have a close relationship to both the company and to the master distiller Ian Chang, who hosted our group in Taiwan back in 2014. Due to the close bond that was formed between K&L and Kavalan, we were allowed to select three single barrel casks to be bottled exclusively for our store; all three of which were ex-Bourbon barrels. Because of Taiwan's subtropical climate and intense humidity, the whisky ages more rapidly and soaks up the flavor of each cask with intense concentration. In each cask, the Bourbon flavor comes through almost more than the single malt character. Barrel #52 has classic American whiskey aromatics with intense oak and a high dose of vanilla with more toasted oak character coming through strong on the palate. At 58.6% ABV, the alcohol is potent and intense, so water is definitely recommended. With a few drops, the whisky unloosens itself and opens up more fruit and spice with additional layers of toasted oak and vanilla, but the structure never fades. The oak has penetrated deeply into this whisky. The finish is strong.

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Price: $149.99

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By: Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 7/3/2016 | Send Email
This is an excellent single barrel, offering soft juicy and rich flavors. It is easy to drink, complex and an absolute joy to drink.Barrel #52 is the fullest bodied of the three K&L selected Kavalan single barrels.

By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/30/2016 | Send Email
I remember the first time I tasted Kavalan Single Cask (Solist). It was at the 2013 Whisky Fest in San Francisco. This special little distillery was completely unknown by the general public at the time. While people lined up out the door to get a tiny snort of Pappy, I sauntered over to the small table where Ian Chang stood completely alone and got REAL excited to see all FOUR Solists casks there to taste. I'd heard good things from Taiwanese friends and certain members of the whisky geek elite, but I was very surprised to see Mr. Chang actually manning the table. He took me through the line-up and I became completely enamored. The incredible complexity and depth that these whiskies show is unprecedented for an upstart single malt distillery. After a nice long chat, I thank Mr. Chang and jokingly said as I left, "can't wait to buy some single casks!" The ever gracious distiller, looked at me slyly and said, "You’ll have to come to Taiwan." I promised I’d tried and walked away certain that this was the best whisky of the night. A year later, my colleague David was actually able to make the journey to visit Ian and there the true seed of the possibility began to grow. Then one day months later, the importer walked in and slid three samples across my desk. In the mean time, Kavalan had become one of the hottest brands in the world and we were selling out ever drop we could get our hands on in a matter of days if not hours. The prospect of getting a single cask was almost too good to be true. Indeed, as we tasted through them I was blown away by the complexity and depth of each. We just couldn't let these incredible whiskies slip through our fingers, no matter what the cost. And so we didn't. We may be one of the only places in the US right now to have cask strength ex-bourbon. Thanks to our importers efforts, we locked in the casks at the 2015 pricing, so expect subsequent offerings to be $20-30 more expensive than then. Cask #52 has a massive nose of creamy rich coconut, powerful Tahitian vanilla, and sweet fresh spices. Expect deep toasty caramel on the palate, with piles of over ripe fruit and American oak spices taking over on the back palate. This may be too powerful for many single malt drinkers without water, but should satiate the most seasoned bourbon lover right out of the bottle.

By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/24/2016 | Send Email
I often find that the spirit itself plays second fiddle to the finishing median (...my fancy term for barrel) when it comes to whiskies. This offering, however, shows a tremendous interplay between the single malt character and the ex-bourbon casks it was aged in. Vanilla, salted caramel, dried fruit, layers of complexity. This is one for the ages--grab a bottle while it's still here.

By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/24/2016 | Send Email
This is one of three (and my personal favorite) new exclusive single barrel whiskeys from Kavalan. A sweet butterscotch nose with light hints of warm stone fruit lead in to a very pleasant whiskey. There is a nice full texture with notes of stone fruit, vanilla, and butterscotch culminating into a baking spice finish with some lingering heat. This is a great bottle to give as a gift to someone or to yourself.

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Alcohol Content (%): 58.6