Kavalan, Taiwan’s First Whisky Distillery

The island's first single malt ages twice as fast due to the sub-tropical climate

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While Scotland will always (by law) be the sole proprietor of Scotch, a whole host of nations have embraced the art of whisky distillation. From Japan to Sweden to Australia, several excellent new distillers are popping up around the globe. Local conditions, waters and variations on existing methods make for exciting new expressions, and one of the most alluring comes from Taiwan’s first whisky distillery, Kavalan. Because of the island nation’s high temperatures and humidity levels, the whisky at Kavalan (named for the indigenous people who originally inhabited the area in which the distillery is located) ages twice as fast as those in Scotland, resulting in a uniquely complex set of expressions. The Concertmaster single malt presents a harmony of ruby, tawny and vintage Port wine casks with crisp, overarching hints of vanilla. On the nose are sweet floral notes.

While the distillery’s whisky has been stunning palates around the world since its first bottle emerged in 2008, the Taiwanese spirit has not previously been available stateside. Beginning 25 August expect to see all seven expressions at finer bottle shops across the US, with the Concertmaster single malt starting around $100.

Photos by Hans Aschim