Kavalan Concertmaster (OB)

Choir Boy

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.

Kavalan2 CMDescription: 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


The 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!
Score: 79

Nose: 19

Taste: 19
Finish: 21 Balance: 20
   < 75: undrinkable, avoid at all costs
75-79: acceptable, give it a try but don't spend to much money on it
80-84: average, enjoyable whiskies mostly easy sippable entry-level single malt 
85-89: above average drams, often well aged expressions, open your wallet
90-94: excellence, sorry kids no x-mas presents this year, daddy needs this bottle
95-99: divinity, call your bank manager for another mortgage on your house