I had a unique experience last night. Whenever I visit my college roommate, Jeff, and his wife, Sandy, I have a unique experience. Let me set the stage. Jeff and Sandy live in a log cabin in the middle of 12 wooded acres in Indiana. It’s a fantastic home with a big fireplace and this time of year there is always a roaring fire. They regularly have 4 dogs laying around that fire. And they have an incredible collection of bourbons, whiskeys, and wine. I had my first sip of Pappy in front of that fireplace on a cold winter evening a few years ago.
Last night they poured me some of Kavalan Soloist Vinho Barrique Single Malt Whiskey they had recently purchased. Kavalan, established in 2005, is Taiwan’s first and only family owned whisky and maker. Kavalan takes the name of Yilan County where it is located in northeastern Taiwan. Boasting pure water and fresh air, this part of the subtropical island provides the ideal environment for the production of whisky.
I must admit my knowledge of Asian whisky is very limited. I had to read up on Kavalan to understand more about this whisky. It was a very unique experience of taste and reading. At 59 proof it is a very bold whisky with a lot of bite but it has an impressive flavor profile.
To mature their Vinho Barrique expression, the King Car distillers (who blend for Kavalan) in Taiwan use casks which have held both red and white wines, before being re-toasted. The whisky is fully matured in these casks to help their Taiwanese single malt develop a bold, expressive flavors of berry, plum, and caramelized sugar notes. A very strong caramel finish.
The price point on this whisky is not for the faint of pocket book. This whisky and distillery has racked up an impressive number of awards in a short amount of time. If you get a chance to try it, by all means don’t pass it up.