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Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish

Choir Boy

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@PandemoniumReview by @Pandemonium

17th Jun 2015


Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Since they bottled their first whisky at the King Car distillery back in 2008, Kavalan has been hot news, stringing together many trophies from both the industry and the independent connoisseurs alike. Me, I’m still not buying into the hype, to me it is clear that the distiller’s tactics are quite unorthodox, offering their best casks to the judges, while releasing their good to mediocre under the same name to the general public. The first thing you'll notice while trying a Kavalan is that the essence of the whisky is still quite young and the palate is often intentionally camouflaged with a thick layer of external aromas. When the Taiwanese discovered the "benefits" of wood finishes for their NAS whiskies, they decided to exploit the technique and push it to its boundaries. Their port cask finished edition called “Concertmaster” is just another child of this tragedy, dousing the new make in not one, not two, but three different port casks: Ruby, Tawny and Vintage.

Description: bottled at 40%, golden in colour (no strange shades of pink here)without the addition of E150.

Nose: a strange mix of pine juice drenched in prune & wine vinegar, far more noticeable are the effects of the wood leaving behind traces of nuts, liquorice and smoke.

Mouth: a nervous and feisty alcoholic attack, but your tongue quickly punctures a hole in the palate and it all falls flat. Honeyed dates, black tea, and fresh oak wood

Finish: short, notes of ginger, chocolate and Cabernet Sauvignon

Verdict: Maybe Port finishes are just not my cup of tea, but this style of whisky just doesn't agree with me. The whole premise feels too fabricated on the one hand: rather a cocktail of liquor and fortified wine than a proper whisky. On the other the spirit tastes immature. Concertmaster? more like a choir boy!

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Victor commented

@Pandemonium, thanks for your review. "...nervous" body" I like the choice of word!

I am with you in not liking the Kavalan Concertmaster. The flavours here are a little weird, and don't hold together too well. I've had Concertmaster a couple of times and never found it a pleasant experience.

I've tried 5 Kavalans and Concertmaster is the only one I actively dislike. A couple of them, the standard Kavalan Malt, and another of theirs from bourbon casks, were ok, and the Solist Sherry I tasted and the Solist Barrique were excellent. Of the five I would only consider the Solist Sherry and Solist Vinho Barrique releases ones I would want to own bottles of.

8 years ago 0

Pandemonium commented

Thanks Victor, the bottle came as a present so I didn't waste any money on it. Got a bottle of the Solist Barrique on the shelf, which I will be reviewing shortly. I would love to compare notes on that one as well.

8 years ago 0

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