Here is the second in a series of 10 Kavalan whisky reviews. You can read more background in part 1 but the TL;DR version is fellow local redditor /u/onewaybackpacking graciously muled one of these cool Kavalan sampler packs out of Taiwan for me. Today we will be covering Concertmaster, which is a single malt first finished American oak and then finished in a variety of Portuguese port casks. I am usually a fan of port finished whisky and port itself so I am looking forward to this one. As a brief reminder, I am mostly an American whiskey drinker who occasionally dabbles in malts so take that for what it is worth.
Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky; No Age Statement; 40% ABV
Nose: Like the previous single malt, it is very tropical fruity and sweet with honey and sugary grain notes. What this has over the classic malt though is the red fruit notes are way ramped up. While I detected a twinge of sherry/port finish in the first one, the port finish is very evident here.
Taste: Tastes as it smells - sweet, super fruity, sugary grain, and a fruit heavy finish. The fruitiness really shines as it's a range of island fruits and red fruits. I assume that range is the variety of port casks this was finished in but I am also starting to think tropical fruits might be a calling card of Kavalan. In the back palate and finish there is a little bit of earthiness like bitter tannins / dirty oak.
Thoughts: This is a step up over the regular classic single malt. Whereas that one had some tropical notes and then mostly just classic single malt flavors, this ramps up the sweet fruit notes all over the place. It's slightly bonkers how fruity this is. As for the negatives, as someone who prefers higher proof whiskies, this is a bit thin and lacking in the amount of depth I prefer. I could also do without the touch of earthiness but overall this was pretty good. On a more positive note, I believe this was the last 80 proofer in the series so the thinness issues should start going down as we move forward.
Rating: C+ / B-
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.