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Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask #76 K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky (750ml)

SKU #1262665

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 #76A is the softest of the three at a mere 57.8%, and with water showcases a creamier and more nuanced palate of vanilla, fruit, and burnt sugar. This is the prettiest of the bunch with pronounced maltiness on the finish and plenty of spice. It's classic Bourbon barrel-aged single malt, but with more oak concentration from the warm maturation environment.

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Price: $149.99
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Staff Image 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. The gorgeous cask #76 is perhaps the most balanced of the three. Like getting that perfect dessert from a world class chef, it shows incredible richness and complexity but never feels out of balance. Big bold sweet notes, but moving away from the frosting and caramel of cask #52 toward a more seamless spiced honey tone. Slightly lower proof than her sisters, this whisky drinks right of the bottle like a dream, although a touch of water does highlight some of the wild honey that I love. Either way, this whisky seems to have no edge and while bold, it's never sharp or aggressive. A truly special cask and a pleasure to have on the bar for however long it can possibly last.

Staff Image By: Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/27/2016 | Send Email
Cask 76 has aromas that are honey and floral-like. In the mouth it is round and pretty, with honey flavors and a touch of floral notes. It is full-bodied and will open and soften up with a splash of water.

Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/24/2016 | Send Email
We're all in agreement here at K&L, the Kavalan whiskies are straight up delicious. Whether one puts that down to the skill of the distiller, the shape of their still, the heat and humidity in which the barrels are matured or another multitude of variables that affect whisky is anyone's guess...but one thing's for sure...there is something magic here. The whiskies have texture and richness more akin to spirits at least twice their age. The integration of the barrel spice and the seamless feel they have on the palate is just awesome. If really pressed to declare a favorite of the three current casks I would pick this #76. However, to be honest, if I tasted them a third time I might have another favorite again. Each cask has something to offer, with just subtle nuances defining them. It's so awesome that we have access to doing single barrel cask strength bottlings with these guys...they're the real deal.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/24/2016 | Send Email
In my opinion this was the richest of the exclusive single barrel whiskies from Kavalan. Right off the bat, the nose hold lots of caramel and dense fruit with hints of butterscotch. This holds true on the palate where layers of butterscotch coat the fruit, while vanilla and hints of spice season it. A rather spicy finish with some heat leaves the tongue tingling and ready for another sip.

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Alcohol Content (%): 57.8