Thanks to /u/theslicknick6 for this sample.
I’ve had quite a few Kavalan whiskies. Sadly the one I liked the most is about as easy as finding an unopened beer at a teen’s party at 2am. But enough has been written about Vinho Barrique.
Now my second favourite whisky was Concertmaster. Which I still think has a funny name. All the single casks are solist. A play on the word Soloist. One person singing, one cask going at it. Concertmaster, multiple casks. I get that.
But a Concertmaster sounds like someone in charge. He’s in charge of the concert. And anyone who’s worked in theater knows they are the ones in charge. Piss off the sound guy? You’re not being heard well. Piss off the Concertmaster? I don’t know, but it sounds like he just makes the stage eat you and then fights Batman.
Kavalan Port Cask Solist is the solo version, so I’m worried about it. It’s one guy who can sing. Sure, he can sing well, but it’s not called “Justin Timberlake” or “Barbara Streisand” or “Pavarotti”. You can probably replace it.
Or maybe you can’t. All the above were just some pretty soloist at some point. You never know. So let’s see how this tastes.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Cask No. #O090615024A
Colour: 2.5YR 3/8
Nose: Strawberries in custard, cinnamon, Sprite, papaya, vanilla flower, peach
Spice, lots of vanilla, and then it peters it off to a floral level. Before that there’s this egg part as well. Really nice nose.
Odd to not have a full vanilla note in it. Like this is screaming and then runs out of breath really quickly.
Taste: Pepper, lemon juice, cranberry juice, almond, leather
Taste is very leather forward given time. At first it’s quite light, lots of pepper and juice notes. Which I’m not against. Gotta make a buck somehow.
However given some time it makes up for the sugar/fruit aspects with a nice leather element.
Finish: Lemon sorbet, ginger, lemongrass, cream, brown sugar, white pepper, cinnamon
Better finish than the taste. More complex. Not just chewing on leather now. Also the drink is nice.
The finish continues where the nose left off. Creamy elements, and reminds me of the Thai food flavours, granted without the basil note (not that I’m missing it).
Maybe a better way to put it: Imagine you asked a Thai chef to make his own creme brulee. I think this would be it. Less sweet, but still with the sugar top.
Conclusion: I prefer the concertmaster. That said, I still liked this one, and think it’s a nice Solist option. The whisky and cask finish have balanced out. The nose and finish have interesting, less overly sweet notes. I like the spice elements. The floral on the nose is odd, but not off putting.
Yes, the nose starts out loud and ends soft, in every sense of that word. But that’s just the way it is. The taste… is the problem. This was on the way to being an upgrade to concertmaster, but the taste didn’t do it favours. So keep that in mind.
Still worth picking up (assuming the price isn’t insane, which… it can be).
World Whisky review #212, Taiwan review #8, Whisky Network review #999