We are no strangers to Kavalan, why just last year 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 port barriques. Port, a fortified wine, is traditionally made in Douro valley in Portugal. The marrying in the barriques mellows the flavours and adds indefinable smoothness to the whisky. Kavalan Concertmaster single malt whisky has been awarded several medals at the prestigious international spirits competitions.
On the nose: there is a waft of warm mixed fruits (raisins), apricots, marmalade, vanilla and marzipan. Strong suggestions of liquorice start to appear, followed by madeira cake, coconut, cloves and cinnamon. Rounding-off the nose are notes of pear drops, strawberries, maraschino cherries and a hint of zest (lime).On the palate: those sweet notes of raisins are present, followed by a suggestion of port, acacia honey and hints of cinnamon. There is a lovely note of liquorice, a hint of black pepper and poached pears. The finish: short and smooth, with subtle lingering notes of fruits and hazelnuts.
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.