King Car Whisky – Conductor

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Distillery/Brand:
King Car | Region: Taiwan | ABV: 46 | Colour: Deep Gold
Nose: 22 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 22 | Rating: 89

Review
My first brush with this legendary distillery was through their insanely awesome Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry. I mean it literally grabbed me by the tenders and swung me through the air. There was no way I was prepared for that type of sensory onslaught. But one thing was certain, I was going to find out more.

I ran into a couple of more Kavalans in the next few months and was equally impressed. My curiosity grew. As did my appetite for whiskies from this Asian phenom and, given the slew of awards being won by them, I was obviously not alone in my opinion.

The brand Kavalan is owned by a Taiwanese group called King Car which, when you check their website, you realise is a massive industrial giant producing everything from root beer, processed foods, coffee, green tea, water to, of course, whisky. While the facade may seem monolithic there is certainly something wonderful happening behind those whisky doors to produce spirit of such brilliant quality.

While most of their expressions carry the name Kavalan they have also released one called the Conductor and is named after the distillery, King Car. There’s not a lot of literature to go around regarding this specific release except that it’s been composed of eight casks, two of which are bourbon and sherry and the rest only Ian Chang, the master distiller knows.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 46%

Nose: Rose water. Dark honey. Sherry oak. Red berries. Wild berries. Black salt. Chocolate. Betel nut lead. Tobacco lead. Cigar box. Quite herbaceous. Leafy greens. It’s quite crisp. It has more of a sherry attack than bourbon which might shed some light on the remaining casks in play. Overall I like it. 22/25

Palate: Dark honey again. Bitter chocolate – the kind I like. Sweet molasses. Cinnamon. Black pepper. Rock salt. Tobacco. Red berries. Once again I feel the sherry is the dominant force here. Probably some type of Oloroso cask. It’s quite a lovely crisp palate. There’s a certain tanginess to it too which I quite like. 23/25

Finish: Nice and long. Spicy. Touch of oak. Oily. Pomegranate. 22/25

Overall Comments: I wish there was more info to be had so that I could really see how the various components had been put together. It’s not as good as the Solist series but certainly better than the core range. Solid whisky with absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Rating: 89

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Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish

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Distillery/Brand: Kavalan
Region : Taiwan
ABV: 40%
Colour: Pale Straw

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 21
Balance: 20

Review
One of my most favorite whiskies in the world is the Kavalan Solist Fino – a powerhouse of a malt that packs a delicious punch. So it was with a sense of positive anticipation that I approached this port cask finish from the Taiwanese distillery.

The nose is the slightly overcooked aroma of coconut rice pudding; left on the burner for a while. Tropical fruits like mango and papaya are then added to the pot with a sprinkle of nuts passed through a delicate floral mist.

The tropical journey continues on the palate with a fruity milky disposition. But I think the mere 40% ABV held back the performance a touch.

The finish, though, left me wanting as it scurried away in a hurry. I would have liked to savor it a bit longer.

This malt will not blow your mind but neither will it disappoint.

Rating: 85

Kavalan Solist Fino

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Distillery/Brand: Kavalan
Bottling: Solist Fino
ABV: 59.4%
Colour: Madeira

Nose: 24
Taste: 24
Finish: 24
Balance: 24

Review
If I had been blindfolded and given this single malt from Taiwan I would have bet my first born that this was a bourbon from Heaven Hill. No questions about it!

The first thing to draw your attention is the deep burgundy color sitting inside the bottle which immediately causes you to salivate uncontrollably. Such is the allure in the eyes alone.

The heavy sherried nose is bursting with dark autumn fruits – plums, berries and humungous red grapes. The fruits are then reduced in a mixture of red wine and sugar and then poured on top of a soft gooey chocolate fudge cake. As the glistening syrup trickles down the side a few slices of over-ripe bananas, sprinkled with coconut dust, are layered on top to complete the presentation.

Intense black peppers on the tongue is the first thing you notice. But before you have time to wipe the tears from your eyes (tears of joy, I might add) blackberry laced maple syrup swoops in and takes you to a very special Christmas memory. A touch of leather, black currants and berries add yet another layer of delicious complexity.

The mammoth woody finish has a touch of anis but that is rounded off by the overpowering jaggery that rushes in at the end.

There are few times when a whisky will leave me speechless. This was one of them.

Rating: 96