The Champagne of Whisky

kavalanconcertmasterLast week I stumbled on a bottle of Kavalan in a store. I’d never heard of Kavalan, and a bit of Google research told me it was from Taiwan. That sealed it. An unheard of whisky from Taiwan? I needed it to be mine.

I settled on the Kavalan Concertmaster, and escorted it home gently buckled into the back seat.

Kavalan started in 2005 in Yuanshan in the county of Yi-Lan on the Northwest coast of Taiwan about an hour south of Taipei. Started by Mr. Tien-Tsai Lee of the King Car Conglomerate it involved Blender Ian Chang to create the new Kavalan line.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Concertmaster was more complex that I had anticipated. It has almost a champagne kind of lightness to the flavor with a bite of oak and a finish of the almond flavor in tawny port.

Concertmaster is started in American Oak and finished in Port casks (Ruby, Tawny and Vintage), and it shows in the lingering sweetness on the back end.

In smell, I pick up similar tones to a Balvenie Double Wood or the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. It’s a bit more aggressive in taste that the Glenmorangie, but it has similar after tastes.

I really enjoyed it, and it didn’t get any less flavorful as the night wore on. It’s a bit on the sweet side for my taste, but I would definitely recommend as an introduction to good whisky made outside the traditional environs of historical whisky areas.

If you can’t find it in your area, ask me for a taste when you make it back to the school.