The critically acclaimed Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique, a whisky that we’ve looked forward to reviewing for a long time. We really liked the Solist Sherry Casks, so what could go wrong?
Honestly, it’s quite a gamble to buy something purely based on reviews. Especially when the price tag is everything but a no-brainer (€ 180 and up). Even if you review whiskies yourself, it’s still very hard to base your opinion around that of others. Taste is not simply a chemical reaction of your senses, it’s based on your own past, the connections you make with moments in your life and let’s not forget the mood and the exact moment you’re in while tasting.
We took the gamble, we cracked the seal, we traveled through our past and we enjoyed the moment:
The beginning of spring, a fresh breeze but with the promise of gentle warmth. Could as well be the end of autumn. Cinnamon, aniseed, apple and winter spiced tea. The typical ‘Kavalan-like’ cherries are very present. A hint of licorice glues both sensations together.
Freshly sweet and warming, infused wood, apple, cinnamon and citrus. Give it time and it develops tropical notes. Could be the fact that it’s from Taiwan, but we can really imagine ourselves on a warm tropical Island.
Quite an oriental finish, with sweet spiced tea, drying wood, a nice fresh and sweet wine influence, with hints of white grapes and chocolate. It’s easily drinkable given the ABV. Very crisp and clean in general with several winter spices to give it some depth.
Our expectations were a little bit different. Because we only knew the Solist Sherry Casks (which are so dark that they could as well be old whisky bottles filled with Coke with a taste of sherry) we expected this bottle to be a lot like a sweet red wine with the strength of whisky. Instead we immersed ourselves in a state of tranquility, in the form of whisky.
Is it worth the price tag? I’m not 100% sure to be honest, but if you’re willing to spend: you won’t be disappointed. This whisky offers a truly unique arrangement of notes in a world where more and more whiskies begin to look like each other. Don’t take my word for it though, experience it yourself if you get the chance. And let us know what you think, which connections did you make?