Another interesting entry from the Kavalan line, but without a doubt my least favorite of their offerings. The Fino Sherry was much better by all accounts even though it was a big ole sherry bomb. This whisky just didn’t strike a chord with me at all. The actual whisky flavor was a bit too elusive and the sherry too prominent for my liking. To me the whole dram felt off balance and didn’t come across to me as something I could drink every day which, for me, is really the defining feature of a whisk(e)y. If coming home to a glass of it everyday doesn’t excite me then I just don’t see the point.
It may not seem like it, but I actually do like sherry finished whiskies. When they are balanced and the sherry notes ride shotgun to the whisky flavor profile they can be very delicious. What I’m not a fan of is when the sherry moves over to the driver’s seat and the whisky gets bound, gagged, and shoved into the trunk. When that happens it feels like it would be more appropriate to call it whisky finished sherry and this one particularly felt that way to me.
If you get the opportunity to drink it then by all means grab a glass and work your way around it. It’s always worth experiencing a new whisk(e)y, but if you’ll want to experience it on a more frequent basis is another question entirely and that’s really where this one failed for me. However, If you’ve already tried it I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Kavalan Single Malt Solist Sherry Cask Review
Price: $140 – $170 (online)
Distiller: King Car / Kavalan
A very dark purplish red. In the tasting room it almost looked black it was so dark.
The sherry is very aggressive and comes right at you masking almost all of the whisky notes, especially at first. It’s a bit hard to get around at first but give it some time and there are some underlying aromas of brandy and over ripe fruit with an overall floral fragrance threading through it.
Kind of strange but the sherry didn’t hit me immediately. It came in a little late and took its time building up before completely dominating my palate. The first thing I tasted was a sweet red wine like a San Antonio Cardinale. Under the combating sweet wine and sherry was some very palpable vermouth, brown sugar and iodine. The taste was seriously perplexing and not in that “oh wow I want to spend more time figuring this out” kind of way, but in that “what the hell is happening inside of my mouth” kind of way. But then the sherry moved in completely and it became a moot point.
It gets points for being way smoother than it should be. For being a young whiskey that clocks in at a staggering 117 proof it was remarkably soft despite it’s intense dryness.
IODINE. There were some notes of overripe strawberries and a dark fruit leather dancing in there with some sherry, but it all faded to this intense taste of iodine that I just couldn’t get over. In case you’re wondering, this was the 3rd whisky I tasted that night so it wasn’t like my palate was overwhelmed and it was still rather fresh at this point.
SCORE: 8X/100 – Didn’t get to spend enough time with it to feel confident about a score, but would place it in the very low 80s, possibly even the high 70s. Still worth a try though.