Last Mountain Smokey Single Malt

Today I’m drinking Canadian whisky which isn’t all that strange per say but I’m usually pretty attracted to the Scottish isles and her pungent little nasties. Lucky for me, tonight I get to have both.

Let me share a little story about a groovy little distillery in Saskatchewan called Last Mountain. While on the road, Ty had picked up some of their whisky  and poured it for me on one of our YouTube episodes (https://youtu.be/2O-EwMHFKZ4).

My overall notion was “not bad” which actually means pretty friggin good for a Canadian style whisky. However, it seems as if the folks at Last Mountain were hoping for a little better than “not bad” so they asked if they could send us a bottle of their 2020 distillers release, reviewed here (https://youtu.be/q7f1dmvX15s).

The Master Distiller, Colin said “I know you’re a scotch guy but I believe you would appreciate the craft. I’m really quite proud of this one”. He was certainly correct as we named it Canadian whisky of the year, in Canadian Style. Since then I’ve had a love affair with Last Mountain, enjoying every expression I’ve come across so far, with the owner following up each time to ensure I was enjoying the craft, and if not, why I wasn’t satisfied and smiling. Either way always happy to engage and ask questions. You can find him on Instagram @TheWhiskyKnower.

This time we have the Smokey (we can argue spelling later) Single Malt, which is something of a cousin to the softy Canadian style whisky I’ve come to know and expect from Last mountain. Something to note about this little beast is the pungency actually comes from the barrel it was finished in. After being distilled in 2016 and left to age peacefully in freshly dumped bourbon barrels, this one was eventually selected to be further aged in a cask that was previously used by a famous Islay Distillery. One known for its somewhat medicinal peat with a bon fire type of character. This bastard came out of the barrel at a whopping 63.8% ABV and was eventually proofed down to 63% ABV to match the labels, which were based on notes from distillery owner Colin Schmidt. Either way there’s an unmistakeable note of ashy peat present throughout, truly you can’t miss it. It’s quite sharp and extremely spicy on the initial arrival but with a small ice cube or two, as recommended by Colin, you may find a more delicate and buttery Canadian whisky that no doubt will benefit drastically from that healthy sploosh of water. 

Photo Cred – The Whisky Heathens

This heavy hitter is absolutely Canadian with a little bit of nasty coming from the Laphroaig barrel… or whichever Islay barrel was chosen for this tasty experiment… *coughs* Laphroaig. If you love Saskatchewan malt and you love a little Scottish in your Canadian whisky than perhaps this Smokey single malt is right for you.

Lucky for us they now ship to Alberta so if you’re interested be sure to check them out.

Cheers

Josh Ward – @knowyourwhisky – Instagram

Grain Henge Single Malt – Elevator Row

When a brand new distillery releases their first whisky and it’s as well received as GrainHenge’s Meeting Creek, there is always a danger that the follow up release will be a bit of a letdown. Meeting Creek was the biggest and best surprise of 2021 for me: I believe I described it as pure chocolate malty goodness. The latest release, Elevator Row, had some big shoes to fill. I am very happy to say that the people at GrainHenge have done it again!

Elevator Row uses Troubled Monk’s Pesky Pig pale ale as the inspiration for its mashbill. The combination of 2-row and specialty dark Munich malt is aged for 43 months in both #3 and #4 charred American oak barrels. It was released at full cask strength (58.2%), and produced a limited run of only 440 bottles. 

In the glass: Golden amber in colour. Similar to the original release, Elevator Row appears to have a relatively low viscosity and moves freely in the glass. It coats the sides nicely though, and clings there for a long time. 

Nose: Lots of sweet malted barley. The sweetness is mostly reminiscent of caramels, but there is also some dried candied fruit. Touch of nutmeg. 

Palate: It opens with dried candied fruit and Christmas cake. Caramel and roasted almonds and baking spices mid palate. Slightly creamy mouthfeel too. 

Finish: Lingering sweetness, with some nice oak spice that sticks around for a long time. 

This time, I’m not surprised. The relative youth of both the whisky and the distillery have no relation to the fantastic product GrainHenge is releasing. Garret Haynes has done it again, turning a well-loved brewery staple into a delightful, flavourful whisky. Elevator Row is a slice of spicy caramel Christmas cake. It’s a must have in my opinion, and I hope everyone gets the opportunity to at least try this fantastic dram. 

Dave Woodley

Insta: whiskey_dr

The Macallan Ruby

Love em’ or hate em’ The Macallan have made themselves known as a luxury brand in the scotch whisky world and it’s a concept they embrace whole heartedly. You may find that many offerings from their line are a little out of reach for us common folk as the prices can often seem more like a real estate investment. However, outside those locked cabinets filled with flashy decanters you may notice some more reasonably priced expressions such as various triple oak bottling’s and 12 year old offerings, each catering to specific tastes and budgets but mostly out of sync with their higher end expressions. As much grief as I give Macallan for their luxury vibe I have to give credit where credits is due, those luxury offerings are often quite delicious, whether you can afford them or not is irrelevant. With their special focus on sherry casks and sherry seasoned casks they’ve commanded a mastery over the oak they use and they keep a close eye on the influence it has on their spirit.

Insert today’s luxury offering, The Macallan Ruby. Being part of the much hated 1824 series may leave the weary wanderer a little skeptical as the entry level and unexceptional Gold really had drinkers turning up their nose at Macallan. “How dare you take our money” folks cried as this one differed so drastically from what we’ve come to know from Macallan, expensive… but damn tasty. The Gold was cheap and gross. Moving on to the barely tolerable Amber and people were spitting their Macallan on the ground, demanding refunds as their reliable favourite had become a stranger right before their eyes. Luckily, redemption was in sight and folks smiled from ear to ear as the stunningly delicious and subtlety spicy Sienna took the hearts of drinkers by storm. Finally, the delightfully dark and wonderfully scrumptious shining gem of the family, the very well received Ruby. These whiskies from the 1824 series are all named after the colour imparted on them by the oak barrels they were resting in, however, it didn’t seem to work quite as Macallan had hoped. Folks were not celebrating change, they were throughly unimpressed with the decision to move away from age statements. Unfortunately, Macallan was getting called out for the wrong reasons. People wanted age statements and it didn’t matter how delicious the nectar turned out to be, it still wasn’t enough for the uninformed. If it didn’t have an age stated on the bottle, no one trusted it and most refused to give it a chance. What can be said is that the colour reflects the perceived flavour, for the Ruby that is, as deep notes of leather and polish dominate the nose while beautifully long and lasting waves of sherry flood the senses. From nostrils to jowls you can expect a full and lustrous palate with notes of toasted oak and dried cranberries, a touch of nutmeg spice and sweet raisins on the finish. It’s lovely mouth feel paired with its enormous flavour had collectors rushing out to buy the last remaining stocks as secure investments for thirsty bellies. Even at 43% you can’t be mad, you want more ABV it’s true but you can’t be mad.

The Macallan found a happy medium between highly expensive and absolutely delicious and named it Ruby.

“Hell yeahs” ripple through the crowd as thirsty bastards nod their heads in approval.

Cheers

Josh Ward @knowyourwhisky

Woody Creek Cask Strength Colorado Bourbon Whiskey review

59.5% Abv
Aged 4 years in Deep Charred New American Oak

After a few of the Woody Creek lower ABV sippers, I am proud to introduce one of the “Big Boys” in the form of the cask strength version of their bourbon. This is one I was very excited to have the opportunity to review as I loved the 90 proof version expression. Again the mashbill used is 70% corn, 15% rye and 15% malted barley. I found that the malt really showed well in the lower abv version and am eager to see how the extra proof on this will play out with the maltiness.

In the glass: A deep orange oil colour. Medium oiliness in the legs. Some fall quicker than others but
none disappear at all. Just swirling the glass to check colour and legs and so I can catch a whiff
on the nose.

Nose: This nose was much heavier than any of the lower abv bottles that were previously reviewed. Although there are some similarities to the 90 proof expression, there are some subtle differences as well. The initial nosing is one of oranges and sweet toffee and vanilla. Getting further into it, more classic bourbon notes appear. Cinnamon and clove along with honeyed vanilla and a slight, dark cherry. What I pick up next I was not expecting at all…a bit of nuttiness but sweeter. There it is…peanut brittle. This for me has always been more of a Christmas treat than any other time of the year and I just recently saw freshly made peanut brittle on sale in a small shop. A touch of apple skin appears upon the deepest inhales. This nose is inviting while also showing there may be a slight bite behind it. Its not overwhelming in any way but it does hold your attention.

Palate: There it is! A bit of a bite from the unadulterated proof of this whiskey hits straight away. It brings with it a nice punch of flavour as well. I like that the heaviness of the first sip is countered with sweetness from the get go. A nice honeyed toffee sweetness. A little bit of fruit shows up next. Orange cloves and apple cinnamon all together. Fruity spices lend some weight in the mouth. That maltiness that I found and loved from the 90 proof version is still there but maybe not as prominent. The chocolate note doesn’t show up with it either. Just a nice weighty malt note that holds with it a bit of the spice. Upon the first swallow that cinnamon spice kicks up a notch but all it does is make my mouth water even more. Oak tannins from the new American oak come through on the finish with black pepper and more vanilla. This holds on for a decently long time and is quite nice. The hint of peanut from the nose only starts to show a bit after swallowing and letting the finish brood for a bit. It’s a nice added touch that again I didn’t find much of at all at the lower abv.

Conclusion

What’s exceptional about this bottle is that while the higher proof brings with it more spice and heat, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this will be a sippable bourbon that can please any fan of the genre. It will stand up to ice or water drops and will be amazing in a rocks glass. Its classic enough to hold onto bourbon fans and unique enough that it won’t be boring to anyone. I can’t wait for these to be unleashed on the public and start hearing the way people take to it.

Instagram: @seankinkaid

HAS BUNNAHABHAIN JUMPED THE SHARK

A Look At What The Future Holds For A Once Lauded Brand

Introduction

What happens in the whisky world when a brand we collectively sing the praises of, and
strive to have on our shelves, and in our glasses, starts to listen to their own press (or in
this case social media). Usually there is a marked increase in price, as well as a forced
scarcity for consumers which again hikes up, not only the price, but also the demand for
their particular brand. We have seen it happen time and time again. From The Macallan to
Ardbeg to Glendronach. One brand I fear is quickly joining this list is
Bunnahabhain. I will try to show you, the reader why I believe this is the case and hopefully
offer a solution or two as to how us consumers can fight this process.

The Past

When I first started my journey along the path of the water of life, I was lucky enough to
make some quick friends that were already ingrained in the Whisky Fabric. As any eager
new fan of whisky does, I would always ask what the next bottle I should look to acquire
should be. Almost unanimously I would hear the answer come back in the form of the
difficult to spell (and fearful to try and pronounce) name of Bunnahabhain and their twelve
year expression. It was quoted as a magical daily drinker at an almost too affordable price.
So of course, as a type of repayment of my dues, I too would offer up this bottle almost
without question as a great bottle that both beginners, and enthusiasts alike would agree
upon and enjoy all the same.
While my love for “Bunna”, as it is affectionately called, started with this twelve year bottle,
it only branched out from there. I soon found myself searching out ways to try as many
releases as I could. At the same time, Canada’s Bunnahabhain Brand Ambassador, Mr. Mike
Brisebois was admirably building up the awareness and profile of this brand. He did this
through criss-crossing journeys pouring for eager fans at whisky shows and tastings. One
benefit of these in person events is actual friendships were created and faces were put to
names and social media tags and collectively an army of Bunnahabhain lovers was created.
Obviously once the global environment shifted almost overnight, Mike was one of the first
to shift to being able to keep the profile of his brands and the love growing by creating
virtual experiences for fans new and established. It was through these virtual events that
more and more limited edition bottlings and rare releases were consumed and again the
folklore of Bunna grew at a rapid pace. This is what I like to call the “Brisebois Effect”.
Through Mike’s hard work and never ending passion and promotion of Bunnahabhain the
entire country has been collectively put under a sort of trance or spell. Now that Mike has
parted ways with the company tasked with representing Bunna in Canada, the current reps
are using his goodwill and results in hopes it will carry forward into the future. Time will tell
if the Brisebois effect wears off or remains constant.
One effect that this caused, was more of the limited and rare bottles were being tasted and
talked about, the word of Bunna spread and the FOMO also grew to points where people
were striving to obtain any release they could. The era of dusty Bunnahabhain bottles

sitting on shelves disappeared overnight. Every single new release was met with an
insatiable fervour to the point where no one really questioned anything when it came to
the quality of the products they were crawling over each other to get. This is seen with
quite a number of other brands currently and it makes myself and others shake our heads
when we see our friends and strangers alike posting their new bottles like trophies without
even ever tasting the liquid inside.

The Present

The present state of where Bunnahabhain stands, especially in the Canadian whisky
consciousness, is at a precipice as far as I am concerned. It’s a balancing act that I fear will
be tipping away from the general whisky drinker’s glasses and will fall more towards a
collectors shelf or bunker. Never to see a glass or even air through an open cork. We have
seen the entire whisky industry witness immense growth, both in demand from the public
as well as the wanted return on investment by the companies. Some companies definitely
seem to be pushing this more and more than others and it’s a scary time to be a whisky fan
as prices climb and quality is not keeping up. A big part of this is directly a result of the
lower demand 10 plus years ago when all these age statement whiskies were being
distilled. Now that demand has shot through the roof, the supply will not catch up any time
soon, and this will lead to higher prices throughout the industry. Obviously any
brand/distillery that has experienced an even higher rate of demand growth over the
industry average will fall victim to this quicker and harder than others. This is where I see
Bunnhabhain currently residing in terms of pricing. There are rumours aplenty (and proof
starting to show) that in my local jurisdiction as an example there will be a 30-40% increase
on the fabled 12 year old alone. One of the romantic notions about the Bunna 12 is the fact
it is available for a price that almost anyone has no issue paying for it. Its price is what
makes it a daily drinker for a lot of people.
This doesn’t even take into account the second issue caused by the higher demand than
production will see. That is the quality aspect of the whisky and releases. As demand has
skyrocketed, brands like Bunnahabhain scramble to have more releases available to satiate
the eager drinkers. What we see more and more of as consumers, are non age statement
releases replacing age statements on certain releases as well as regular releases that have
a lessened quality liquid inside due to the simple fact that there isn’t the same care and

time put into the casks during the maturation process due to the high demand. I am not
inferring that the quality has dropped beyond palatable in any means, only that there is an
undeniable effect that is bound to happen when demand for any product surpasses
availability. One side note that I must make here is that of the Independent Bottler sector
of the industry. They have been on the forefront of higher and higher prices for their
releases of Bunnahabhain into the market. Yes, they usually are single cask releases and at
cask strength, but they are also almost always still in sherry maturation and the ages keep
dropping lower as the prices grow higher. Maybe they are partially at fault for what is
happening currently in the same breath as the secondary market which is another beast on
its own…a beast that needs to be slain without mercy.
At time of writing, the disparity in pricing between provinces in Canada is laughable. Across
one single provincial line there is a $50 difference in price for a bottle of the Bunnahabhain
12 year. Will the powers that be behind the brand exploit this to justify a huge price hike in
the province with the lower current price? Will the price hike affect all jurisdictions across
the world? If so they will be pricing themselves away from a huge number of the people
that they built their current reputation on. We’ve already witnessed some divisive releases
and others that have been decent, but not mind-blowing, recently and these came with an
even higher premium priced bounty passed on to the consumer. With this all on the backs
of re-releasing previous (I assume un-sold) Limited Editions in other provinces but at higher
prices than the original retail cost, it’s becoming harder and harder to justify the battle to
acquire a new limited release. What does “Limited Release” even mean anymore? The
original releases that were deemed limited were all released under five-thousand bottles.
Now we are seeing way more than double or triple that in the Limited Releases. So was it
limited before or is it now? With triple or more bottles available and at a steep, and
continuously climbing price point, anyone can see what the end goal is. Yes, I understand it
is a business and the ultimate end game is making money, I just think there needs to be a
balance somewhere to include the maximum amount of consumers possible enjoying the
products. Alienating existing customers, especially loyal ones, is never a good move for a
brand in any industry. The whisky industry can be even more cut-throat against brands that
lose integrity in the customer’s eyes. I guess the big question is what will the customers
inevitably decide to do. Here in Canada we were already low on the list of locales to receive

allocation of these sought after bottlings. That occurs even when on a per capita basis
Canada is a leader in consumption of Bunnahabhain. So where does this end up?

The Future

What does the future hold in the grand scheme of the relationship between Bunnahabhain
and their dedicated following in Canada? There are two ways I can see this going. On one
side, you have the Customers seeing what Bunnahabhain/Distell and their reps on the
ground in this nation are doing and taking a stand against it. It can’t be one or two small
groups calling for action while the rest continue on the road already paved with greed and
FOMO. If real change in the attitude taken by Canadian supporters happens and their
overall sales start to plummet would the mother company notice? Would they even care at
all? These big brands make their living off the core range and entry level products that are
usually plentiful in shops across the country. If those core range products are price-jacked
and their sales drop off a cliff, will we see even less allocation for the higher demand special
bottlings? Will we be punished for finding other options to spend our hard earned cash on?
Does it matter all that much for those lucky enough to afford Limited Release after Limited
Release, when they can (in Alberta) order them directly from the distillery and when all is
said and done, shipping and duties paid, the overall cost is a mere ten bucks higher than
the shelf price of the limited quantity that do show up in stores six months to a year after
initial worldwide release? Time will tell what happens on the consumer side of this coin.
The Other side of the coin is the brand. The owners and reps count on the goodwill
previously established off the backs of a couple people to last through many years? Or do
they not even care, and will continue the attack on the consumers’ pocket books,
regardless of how many of their fans drop by the wayside? The recent push by the reps
across Canada to try to force a “grassroots” campaign in promoting the very lowest cost
and entry level releases by using….sorry paying influencers to produce ingenuine and
forced looking “ads” on their personal social media pages, all came across to many
observers, as a desperate attempt to spur a rush to stores to sell these products. Imagine if
they had a single sole person to do that for them in an actual genuine manner? Oh wait…..

When it comes to the future of Bunnahabhain in Canada, I do believe they will always be
here. There is a deep love amongst the whisky culture in Canada for their products. I do
also believe there will be an increase in price across the board for all their products and
that in my opinion will be a shame. I have stocked up on my favourites before the
seemingly inevitable rise happens. I also know that if they release something super special
or something that potentially would be right up my alley, I can turn to the distillery store
and have it shipped directly to my house. This by-passes multiple levels of price mark ups
and even paying asinine duties and shipping rates will still end up very similar to the shelf
price when they arrive in stores.

Conclusion

I recently made a post on my social media (January 19th, 2022) and posed a fairly similar
point for discussion. The return I received on that post was a very mixed bag and some very
hard stances from both sides of the discussion. Some said they would stay the course and
continue the undying support for Bunnahabhain, and I commend their dedication. Others
are playing a game of wait and see and will make their decision with every release that
comes and will possibly leave the core range alone as well with a significant enough
increase in price. Others still, were adamant that they have already seen the shark being
jumped and have moved on altogether, while still enjoying a core range bottle that’s on
their shelf already purchased at the long gone appropriate prices. I would absolutely hate
to see what was once said to be “an everyman’s whisky” turn into another “luxury” brand,
who only prides themselves on catering to the so called “elite”. Especially when they were
built up through the support of the everyday drinker. As for myself, I will leave you with
this. Maybe the water skis are on the feet and the tow rope is in hand. The boat is speeding
through the water and we all wait to see if Bunnahabhain does indeed jump the shark.

Slainte

Sean “The Dark Cloud” Kincaid

JJ Corry The Gael Batch #2

Irish blended whiskey
Bottled and matured by The Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Company

Lets start with the Whisky’s make up..

Bottled at 46% ABV

40% 9 year old Grain – Bourbon Cask

30% 17 year old Malt – Bourbon Cask

26% 13 year old Malt – Bourbon Cask

4% 28 year old Malt – Sherry Cask

Officially a NAS bottling but by definition this would be a 9 year old.

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this review (see what I did there…Irish….potatoes), I will first add a bit of a disclaimer. I am a fervent lover and defender of the Irish Whiskey Realm. One of the earliest moments of my journey through the water of life was visiting the Bushmills distillery in Northern Ireland and inadvertently learning a lot of whiskey history on a trip around the Emerald Isle a few years ago with my wife. It ingrained a deep respect and growing love for whiskey produced from all corners of Èire.
Now knowing a tiny bit about where I am coming from, I will start off by saying, this is one of my all time top Irish whiskies I have ever had.

Without further ado here….we…..go…

JJ Corry is not a distillery. It’s not an independent bottler in the most commonly known way. What they actually are, is known as Whiskey Bonders. An almost lost art in the whiskey business and one that was prevalent in pre 1900 Ireland. Whiskey Bonders fill or buy filled casks and mature them in their own warehouses or in this case, an old barn like structure built on a family farm. This allows for the micro climate significant to the region of County Clare where they are located right on the famous Wild Atlantic Way to play a unique part in the maturation of the whisky.

Nose
This has a clean crisp nose. Starts off with a big whiff of grassy citrus notes – like freshly cut, dew kissed grass in an apple orchard. Oh, so fresh smelling! A bit of orange peel or peach tang shines through as well accompanied by a bit of coconut. A bit of sweetness in the way of honey shows, the longer you hold it under your nose. A touch of mature wood notes show up right at the tail end of the nose right before it eagerly forces you to tip your head back and get your first taste.

Palate
The first thing you notice as soon as this enters your mouth is that it feels oily and not at all “light” like people generally find Irish whiskey can be. On the front there is a grassy, creamy and fruity flavour leaning towards the white or tropical fruit territory, like pears or peaches similar to the nose. Maybe even a bit of mango with that coconut note coming through again. This is just the first half of the sip. Towards the back of the mouth, right as you begin to swallow you get hit with a hint of pepper and baking spice. Like lightly buttered rye bread dusted with pepper and cumin.  The way it evolves from beginning to end and never loses it power, while also maintaining somewhat traditional Irish whiskey flavours is probably why I love this whiskey the most.

Every single time I pour this for someone I let them sip it before saying a word. Then I tell them that to me “this is what Irish whiskey should be”. It’s old, triple distilled single malts blended with some younger grain in a ratio that allows all parts to shine and come together beautifully to create a strong yet nuanced, and balanced yet evolving glass of whiskey.  I have had my eye on this company for a couple years, so being able to locate find their expressions in our part of the world is very exciting for me. I can only hope future releases find their way to me as well.

Review by Sean Kincaid

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique – Cask Strength, Single Cask

The KAVALAN DISTILLERY at the present time, is indeed a distillery you have heard of . It seems every few months this distillery is taking home major spirit competition top medals and accolades . or perhaps you simply know it because you are a whisky lover and enjoy the finer things and tastes , in life . Located in Yilan County, Taiwan , the terroir the Kavalan Distillery resides on , is sub tropical and humid, and accented by snow capped mountains. The days are stifling hot and the evenings are cool , cooled by mountain air which plays an integral part in the maturation of their whisky and the way it interacts with top hand selected casks. The mineral rich natural melt water is used in its Whisky production, is sourced from the Yilan snow mountain that co exists amidst lush, tropical land.
The area surrounding Yilan was formerly known as “Kavalan” which was named after the mystic indigenous peoples that were known to be warriors, the honorable name was granted to them by the Emperor of the Chin Dynasty in 1809. Kavalan Whisky made its first impactful statement amongst Whisky Enthusiasts in 2010 when it beat out Scotch and English Whisky on a Burns night in Scotland leaving the participants shocked !
In fact they were so shocked – they repeated the blind tasting one year later, and Kavalan came out on top and was chosen as number one again.

Kavalan Distillery History :
It took until 2002 for Taiwan to be a part of the WTO (world trade order) to be able to build a distillery creating spirits. The Kavalan distillery was established in 2005 and the first new make was poured and barreled in 2006 for maturation. Owned by Food and Beverage Conglomerate “KING CAR” in Taiwan, owner Mr. Tien- Tsai Lee Lee had been wanting to distill , create, and sell , fine spirits and alcoholic beverages since the KING CAR Group was established more than 40 years ago.
After 3 years of studying the art of Whisky making (2002 to 2005), The distillery was then built from the ground up in 9 months with copper pot stills that were brought in from Scotland . The distillery also adopted Scottish Whisky making and distillation processes. KAVALAN Distillery was a passion project for King Car owner Mr. Lee so once permission was granted to build the distillery he dreamed of for years prior, he comprised a group of experts together to travel parts of world (including Scotland and Japan). The group studied and adopted the BEST spirits making knowledge and equipment to bring Mr. Lee’s vision to fruition. There was no corner of the earth that the best practices for spirits production , went unnoticed or upturned.

The master group that studied whisky production along with Mr. Lee was former Master Distiller , Ian Chang , and the late Dr. Jim Swan who worked with the distillery until his passing . Cask selection and preparation :
The education , knowledge, and guidance taught to the master group by Dr. Jim Swan resulted in high, methodical production standards being practiced at the Kavalan Distillery. At the same time and synergistically , the highest technology available for distilling was also brought in by the King Car group creating one of the worlds most technologically advanced distilleries. This accolade stands to date and the Kavalan Distillery is one of the top 10 distilleries in the world today. Dr. Jim Swan also introduced the “STR” (SHAVE, TOAST, and RE CHAR”) process to the Taiwanese Whisky producers. The “STR” process is a beautiful to witness fire barrel craft . It is used exclusively for the production of the ever prestigious Solist Vinho Barrique, with the exception of a recent experimental fully peated
Kavalan Whisky, that was also matured in a cask treated with the “STR” process .

The VINHO BARRIQUE is the highest awarded Kavalan Single Malt Whisky at the distillery.

It is matured in hand selected American Oak Casks that formerly held both red and white wine , treated with the “STR” process , prior to maturation .
Each release is from a single cask yielding approximately 180-200 bottles of this exquisite Whisky , and depending on cask, can range from 54%-59.4% ABV. In other words , each release can be slightly unique from the next driving whisky enthusiasts to collect a variety of the same Whisky matured at differing times and lengths.
The Vinho Barrique is part of the Kavalan “SOLIST” series and possibly the most loved expression of this line up.


In 2020 alone it was awarded NUMBER ONE at the 2020 TWSC (Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition) that took place in June of this year in Japan.
128 single malts were blindly tasted and narrowed down to 14 TOP single malts. The “SOLIST VINHO BARRIQUE” was chosen as number one and awarded THE “BEST OF THE BEST SINGLE MALT (2020) AWARD . Kavalan also took home a total of 14 awards for its other loved Whisky expressions in addition , and won “BEST WORLD DISTILLERY of the YEAR award.
In September 2020 , The International Review of Spirits (IRS) Competitions took place in the US. and the “SOLIST VINHO BARRIQUE” took home a Platinum Superlative award and was noted as number one in the competition along side 3 other top Kavalan expressions. This award is superior to a gold award which were also awarded to several other Kavalan Whiskies. Being a lover and avid sipper of this expression, I can see how this single malt keeps coming out on top!


The Kavalan “SOLIST” VINHO BARRIQUE is a multi layered , sensational , single malt whisky , that boasts elegance and superiority you feel rush through your veins as you sip its majesty.

The Colour alone is entirely captivating ! Akin to a fine, richly mahogany deep color French Cognac – this pour is dark and mesmerizing. To note the whiskies from this distillery have no color added and are non chill filtered , resulting in killer legs in your sipping glass of choice and a rich mouthful of desirous esters and oils.

n the Nose are rich notes of tropical fruits , ripe mango, kiwi , chocolate , dates , fine tobacco , stewed fruit , brown sugar , berry compote and spice .


On the Palate are notes of black pepper spice , chocolate , melon , vanilla , cinnamon , dark dried fruits , toffee , and more lush tropical fruit . The mouthfeel is rich , thick , and velvety .

The Finish is long and luxurious, spicy and sweet, and simply sensational.
The Kavalan VINHO BARRIQUE is a beauty of a single malt, that all Whisky Enthusiasts should have the pleasure to savor. A whisky that will stop you in your tracks and seduce you to spend time with – exciting all your senses.

To note the bottling I am describing today is 56.3 % with cask no W130116019A . I know the the Kavalan fans obsessed with this whisky will appreciate that detail. ;-0 Personally, when it comes to me and the Vinho Barrique experience – I like to sip it neat, in a copita, in my fanciest dress and greatest smile , and in my highest heels .
Gan Bei ! “Kavalan – Pure Taiwan”

Yours truly , Lady Whisky Z