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Taiwanese whisky has been a 'thing' for a while now, since 2008 in fact, but the highly-regarded Kavalan whiskies are now finally available in Europe! This single malt whisky utilises Ruby Port, Tawny Port and Vintage Port casks from Portugal to finish whiskies that were initially matured in American oak. Kavalan Concertmaster was named Best in Class at the 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Nose: Red grapes and clove, followed by a good whack of vanilla. A little bit of tobacco leaf and cookie dough.
Palate: Brown sugar mixed with ground cinnamon and white pepper, doused in good Port. A core of white oak warmth.
Finish: Raisins, prunes, strawberry jam and another pinch of tobacco.
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I have tasted almost all the Kavalan whiskies with a personal collection of their Solist series & distiller's edition. Kavalan got everything right with cask strength, sherry cask finish & intense and robust whiskies. But this one is a poorly made whisky. Good on the nose (sweet, fruity & mushy pipe) but very ordinary on the palate with a poor finish. Overpriced. Almost 70$ even at its cheapest.The port pipe finish does add to the flavour but that's it. Just one tip: If u open the bottle, finish it. If it evolves, it loses its flavour and turns worthless.
10th March 2017
My hubby loves malt whiskies and gives kavalana rating of 5 very good whisky. Thank you
17th October 2016
tried this at a recent tasting, plenty of dried fruits and spices both on the nose and palate, long drying finish. Will be buying this in the near future.
21st August 2016
Good nose. Lots of port (of course) Tad musky to me. Something medicinal - antiseptic? band aids?I was a bit surprised by how hot it was for 40% which I didn't mind. Good malty, sweet flavor up front and a tad sour. Bit of a flat finish, even watery - it had a sort of sugary smoothness on the finish that made me think "blend" too (like another reviewer). Hard to get a handle on its age - feisty start, smooth/flat finish....Well there it is. A bit all over the place and never settles down. Cost me $90 here in the US.
5th August 2016
I think some of the reviews here are way too harsh. I tried this at a whisky festival today along with many award winning whiskys and this definitely stood out. For port cask finishes I think Glenmorangie Quinta Ruba is better (and cheaper) but this is still a very good and standout whisky, maybe just not quite worth the asking price in certain countries. But hey, we're so spoilt aren't we? Maybe we just shouldn't expect to have whiskys from all over the world delivered to our door for the same price as something that's only travelled a couple of hundred miles. We're not talking about mass-produced consumer electronics here, we're talking about whisky, where even some big name producers still only have employee numbers in double figures !
18th June 2016
Odd the discrepancies between reviews. I've never rated anything below a 4 before I think (of probably 40 reviews). This one was utterly horrible though. Tastes not far off from Jagermeister (or what I remember from college years). Certainly it's better than that, but come on, I paid $99 here in USA/MI which would have gotten me a Laphroaig 18, A'Bunadh, or Redbreast 15 with $10 to spare.
2nd March 2016
I really enjoyed this! It's finished in Port casks so you can imagine what it's going to taste like...no surprise. The surprise is how luscious it is. Full of rich dark fruit and oh so smooth. Agree that the finish is a bit short, but excellent overall.
16th February 2016
I'd be disappointed at half the price. Simple with a hot cheap finish.
12th February 2016
How this can remind anyone of blended scotch is beyond me? My 5th Kavalan tried and all have been 8-9 out of 10 and the fino solist one the best so called new world Whiskies I have tried out of over 1400 odd in my life. Dark charred tropical fruit, hot chocolate, malty caramel,anise, sweet oaky red berries, kirsch & Black Forest gateaux on the nose.Plenty to chew on here with stewed red fruit, spicy plum, aromatic oak, red wine tannins, anise and more choco/black cherry. Only critical note would be the short finish but this with a bit more age would be a world beating port cask offering. The Whisky Flaneur
19th May 2015
If you like The Macallan Fine Oak 10 or 12 yr, you will like this one. but It's not for the peat fan.
15th May 2015
Sorry but this hype over Asian whisky is getting old. Not a great product, taste is very bland and reminded me of blended scotch. Not even any unique qualities, very disappointing product especially considering the price. I have a very open mind when it comes to the world of whisky but my money will be spent on real scotch whisky, not poorly crafted impostors.
25th April 2015
Nose: a lot of different aromas coming through. The initial sniff had fruitiness and a sweetness to it. As it had time to breath, a hint of coconut began to reveal itself, a scent of dry coconut. Palate: rich taste but hard to say what exactly it is. A hint of wine or port coming through.Finish: once you swallow it's as if the whisky evaporated. A dry finish which leaves your mouth wanting more.Overall: it's a unique taste and quite a good dram. However, it's overpriced and not the easiest to get a hold of.
22nd January 2015
Not a strong or smokey whiskey, more dry and fruity. Was skeptical before trying but was pleasantly surprised. Too bad it's hard to find outside Taiwan.
21st November 2014
I don't have a clue to what the other review is about because this really is a very good port finished whisky from a very good distillery. Well worth a try
6th November 2014
Quite possibly one of the most tasteless whiskies I have had the displeasure of drinking. It goes down easily enough but without any flavour apart from a bit spice this could just as easily be labelled any other kind of spirit.
6th June 2014