Kavalan Solist Port

”Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”

Whisky Review # 894

Country: Taiwan
Region: Yuanshan (North)
Brand: Kavalan Solist Port - Limited Edition
Distilled at: King Car's Kavalan Distillery
Type: Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Said to be between 3 and 7 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.4% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Scraped and Burned Ex-Port Wine Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Sample Provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Average Price: US$ 170 (November 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 It's nice but expensive for a Young Whisky
Buying Advice: 👍If you like Sherry-Bombs and X-mas Cake, this is your Malt!


Chestnut with Hues of Red (Natural Color)


This is quite Sweet. Huge influence of the Port pipes. This is in fact quite similar to a liqueur. It's quite Dark, Thick, Heavy, Oily & Mature despite its relative Youth. But we know that Whisky matures much quicker in the hot & humid Taiwanese climate. It's a bit Musty as well. The Alcohol is quite strong but does not spoil the Nosing procedures. Dark Red (Dried) Fruit & Spices are the main drivers. Xmas is in the air!
Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Port, Dried Fruit like Figs, Plums and Dates, Dark Red Berries, Rum-Soaked X-Mas Cake, Pepper, Cloves, Dried Herbs, Espresso, Seville-Orange, Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate (70%).

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Buttery Pastry, Resin, Nougat, Roasted Nuts, Sweet Red Apple, Glue, Charred Oak, Floral Soap, Mandarin, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Cardamom.


Thick, Mature and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. Dry but certainly not in a bad way. The Alcohol is there of course but it's reasonably well-integrated. It's a well made Single Malt.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Dried Fruit like Figs, Dates and Plums, Dark Berries, Seville-Orange, Charred Oak, Strong Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Toffee, Resin, Glue, Nougat, Roasted Nuts, Dried Herbs, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon and Cardamom.


Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. Increasing Dryness towards the end. The Alcohol is noticeable of course. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Nougat, Dried Fruit, Dark Berries, Port Wine, Resin, Seville-Orange, Charred Oak, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Leather, Strong Espresso, Pepper, Cardamon, Cloves, Nutmeg and Dried Herbs.

Drinking Advice:

With a little Water you tame the strong Alcohol of course. It's more Fruity as well this way. Nougat and Seville-Orange steal the show on the Nose. Palate and Finish become more Creamy and beg for another sip. I strongly advise to add a few drops of Water to this Kavalan.

Rating: 87.5

Nose: 22 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 22

Drinking Experience Neat: Good


The King Car's Kavalan distillery is a new & technically sophisticated facility, located in the city of Yuanshan on the Northern part of the island of Taiwan. The Kavalan is named after an indigenous tribe that lived in the region where the distillery now stands. It was built in 2005/2006 and has a current production capacity of 6 million bottles per year. The Kavalan Whiskies are usually bottled after a relative short time in the casks. In the humid climate of Taiwan, the whiskies mature much faster.

The Solist limited Edition series was first launched in 2009 and enjoyed success. I'm not really sure if the Solist Port I'm reviewing today was completely matured in Port pipes or received a lengthy Finish in those vessels after a first maturation in Ex-Bourbon casks. If you have this info please let me know via the Comments sector. In any case, this is a solid well-made Fortified-Wine matured Single Malt. It's also quite coherent from Nose to Finish. Some of you might find it overly Sweet and it's certainly not your everyday Single Malt. But it's got the perfect Christmas spirit and as such I can fully recommend it.


Jan van den Ende                                                                   November 23, 2020

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