We are no strangers to Kavalan, why just a few months we posted some tasting notes on their Sherry Oak expression. Just a few weeks ago we were invited to a Kavalan tasting and this expression was of course one of the drams we sampled that night. The Concertmaster, is a single malt that has been aged using Portuguese ruby, tawny and vintage Port wine casks as the main flavour, combining Kavalan distillery’s Taiwanese whisky features to compose a harmonic symphony. Kavalan Concertmaster single malt whisky is first matured in specially selected American oak casks and then finished in sherry casks. The first round of maturation in the distillery’s American oak re-fill casks allows the purity and fruitiness of Kavalan’s distillery spirit to develop, while lending the whisky its delicate aromas. The additional maturation in the Sherry-seasoned casks gives the whisky its complexity of layers and further brings out the depth of flavours made possible in Taiwan’s unique subtropical climate.
On the nose: there is a waft of steeped pears and apples, followed by candy ticks, cinnamon and all-spice Notes of tumeric and stem ginger start to emerge, alongside notes of white pepper and a hint of vanilla. After a few swirls in the glass, notes of treacle, burnt sugar and maralade start to filter through. Rounding-off the nose are nots of peaches, toffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits and almonds. On the palate: those notes of pear and apples are ever-present, alongside notes of cranberries, marzipan, vanilla and dark chocolate. Notes of espresso, white pepper, treacle and mandarins start to appear. Completing the palate are notes of currants, cinnamon, mint, toasted oat and a herbaceous note. The finish: long, sweet and spicy, with subtle lingering notes of tropical fruits and oak.
The verdict: Kavalan is a little bit of an interesting whisky for me. While the nose is always awesomely plentiful with notes the palate seems to be a much more subtle affair and this expression is no different. The Concertmaster is very sweet and full of beautiful notes on the nose, which are somewhat interpreted on the palate. All-in-all, it is a good, easy drinking drop. At 40 % ABV, there was no real need to add water but do so if required. May I perhaps suggest sipping on this expression while tucking into some dark chocolate.
Kavalan Concertmaster Sherry Cask Finish Single Malt Whisky can be found online or in-store at any well-stocked whisky shop for approximately £65. For more information on the Concertmaster expression, visit the official Kavalan website.