[Review] Kavalan - Concertmaster 40%

Let's go to Asia today, specifically to Taiwan with the Concertmaster. In the last few years, Asian whiskies have become very trending particularly anything coming out of Japan, but not exclusively. Taiwanese whisky and Kavalan in particular have been producing some pretty amazing whisky too, winning quite a few prizes for some of their releases despite operating only since 2005. I have tried some of their Solist bottles (cask strength releases) which were very impressive, and their standard, more accessible range is not bad either. 

Kavalan whisky is relatively young but the heat in which the spirit is aged accelerate wood interaction and therefore the maturation process, thus allowing the distillery to release younger whiskies which do not necessarily taste that young.

So what about the Concertmaster? It is a single malt which was first matured in American oak before being finished in Ruby, Tawny and Vintage port barriques. We are not given an age on the bottle but I guess it must be relatively young. 

The Concertmaster is bottled at 40% Abv, and there is no indication of colouring or filtration. In my opinion, the whisky has been chill-filtered but probably not coloured as you get a nice amber with a slight pink tinge to it, but I could be wrong.

Nose: Very inviting, fruity and boozy, rich with raisins and vanilla, woody notes, spicy, some overripe pineapple, spirity port, a little tar as well and some rum notes. There's also some savoury hints in there too! 

Palate: Sweet with dried fruits, raisin, vanilla, port, some oak notes, prunes and dark chocolate. I feel the palate is not quite as complex as the nose. When I opened the bottle, it was very spirit driven in my opinion which showed the whisky's age. A bit of time in the open bottle helped drive some of this youth away but there still some younger spirity notes around. 

Finish: Not too long, fruity port with oak, a little drying, some dark chocolate.

With water: The nose becomes a little fruitier and fresher. The palate gets sweeter at first before becoming spicier. The spice lingers more on the finish too. I prefer it without the addition of water.

Overall, I think it is a very decent whisky. I found it quite harsh and young when I opened it first, but a bit of time and air have made me enjoy it more and more. If you consider the relatively good price point for an Asian single malt as well as the more unusual flavours of the Port finish, I feel this Concertmaster is definitely striking the right chord! 


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