Dram Review: Kavalan Solist Manzanilla

[57.8%・NAS・Bottled Circa. 2015-2016・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]


Melted vanilla ice cream on the nose with the rich, concentrated fruitiness from dried Filipino mango slices. The White oak note forms a bridge for the fruitiness to transition to a salty note. A direct and bold approach without unnecessary detours.

Palate & Finish:

A big and sturdy delivery on the palate with the sherry characters oozing out. Poached ripe figs and plums with a wee hint of saltiness on the tip of the tongue. A hazelnut cream note follows with heartwarming cinnamon spices.

A gentle vanilla cream note sips out from the robust oaky element in the finish.


I recently read a piece by Chip Tsao critically comparing sweet and sour pork to his experience of dining at Noma Sydney. I didn’t have the fortune to secure a booking at Noma but I can’t help but wonder if this may just be the deep fried ice cream of whiskies, a loud and rich dram with no intention of being sophisticated.

However, I’ve come to conclude that this is a conscious decision on Kavalan’s part to produce a whisky that is unapologetically indulgent, they are simply giving the people what they want!

It may not be an once-in-a-lifetime enlightenment for your senses like an evening at Noma but I suppose there is something inherently satisfying about getting something exactly as expected, even for a thinking man.

☆ [Recommended]