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Taiwanese Whisky

It’s hard to believe given the success of the category that the first Taiwanese whiskies were only released back in 2008 King Car Group’s Kavalan brand. Known for mass producing bottled water and canned coffee, King Car were inspired by the country’s relatively huge consumption for Scotch in recent years.

The Kavalan distillery itself opened in 2005 with an ambition to create a fruit-centred spirit style from a willingness to experiment with multiple cask types and what is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of whisky production from this region: the rapid maturation caused by Taiwan’s tropical climate. The percentage of spirit lost to angels share can be as high as 12% to 15%, whereas with Scotch it’s closer to 2%, which means much of the whisky disappears rapidly. This is a costly reality that also provides the potential for an exceedingly over-aged spirit. This means it is simply not cost-effective to make whisky that could compete with Scotch aged 12 to 21 years, so Taiwanese whiskey distillers, Kavalan and Nantou, have pursued different goals.

A significant part of this process is understanding and harnessing the area's high temperatures (it can average 33 degrees Celsius in the summer) and sweltering humidity. The acceleration of the interaction of the spirit with the wood barrels has been utilised positively in Taiwan. The shorter maturation period means that in just four to six years a whisky can be produced that is arguably comparable to a Scotch that has been aged for 15 or 25 years. As one of the pioneers of this process, alongside Australian and Indian whisky, the island’s whisky makers have been able to capitalise on the tropical climate and provide an interesting perspective for those tend to judge whiskeys quality based on its age.

Taiwan itself has earned a reputation in just over a decade as a favourite category and destination for whisky connoisseurs. It is now available in more than 60 countries and in 2015 it ranked as the fourth largest market by value for Scotch, behind the US, France, and Singapore, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. A slew of awards have matched this popularity, with Kavalan winning more than 220 awards, including World’s Best Single Malt Whisky” for Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique from the prestigious World Whiskies Awards in 2015, while the Solist Amontillado was named the “World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt Whisky” at the same awards in 2017. The future is bright, too. Kavalan have announced plans to increase its production capacity to produce 9 million liters, which would make it one of the largest single malt whisky distilleries in the world and comparable in size to the oldest official Scottish distillery, The Glenlivet.

Taiwanese whiskies include Kavalan editions such as Kavalan Single Malt Whisky, Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique and Kavalan Sherry Oak. The Omar brand is distilled at Nantou and currently features both a bourbon and a sherry edition.

Kavalan Solist Amontillado Cask

70cl, 56.3%
Kavalan

An Amontillado-Sherry-cask matured Taiwanese single malt whisky from the King Car distillery, released as part of their Kavalan Solist range. Incredibly interesting stuff, this is...  More info

Kavalan Solist Amontillado Cask
2
$367.27

Kavalan Solist Manzanilla Cask

70cl, 57.8%
Kavalan

From the Kavalan Solist selection comes Taiwanese single malt which has been drawn from a cask that previously held Manzanilla Sherry!  More info

Kavalan Solist Manzanilla Cask
$383.47
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Omar Single Malt Whisky - Sherry Cask

70cl, 46%
Nantou Distillery

The Nantou Distillery in central Taiwan is one of a number of distilleries owned by the state, but the only one making whisky. They began to produce whisky back in 2008, and now we can finally get a…  More info

Omar Single Malt Whisky - Sherry Cask
2
$75.61
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Kavalan Concertmaster - Port Cask Finish (50cl)

50cl, 40%
Kavalan

Established in 2005, Kavalan is Taiwan’s first whiskymaker, with their Kavalan Concertmaster named Best in Class at the 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition. This single malt whisky showcases…  More info

Kavalan Concertmaster - Port Cask Finish (50cl)
$48.56

Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry Cask 57.8%

70cl, 57.8%
Kavalan

The Taiwanese distillery Kavalan matured their incredible single malt whisky in a top quality Fino Sherry cask to produce an exquisite expression, jam packed with bright, fruity notes. Each bottle…  More info

Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry Cask 57.8%
3
$313.26
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Yushan Signature Bourbon Cask

70cl, 46%
Yushan

Yushan Signature Bourbon Cask is distilled at Taiwan's Nantou Distillery in a Scottish Forsyth still and aged - to nobody's surprise, considering the name - in a bourbon cask. Yushan is named after…  More info

Yushan Signature Bourbon Cask
$59.36

King Car Whisky - Conductor

70cl, 46%
Kavalan

This expression from the Taiwanese King Car distillery is the first to carry the name of the King Car Group instead of 'Kavalan' as their single malt whiskies have all be known as to date. Created as…  More info

King Car Whisky - Conductor
8
$75.49
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Kavalan Podium

70cl, 46%
Kavalan

Kavalan single malt from Taiwan matured in a combination of new American oak (virgin oak) and the distillery's refill casks for an exciting expression from this well regarded Asian whisky distillery.  More info

Kavalan Podium
4
$75.40

Kavalan Solist Amontillado Cask (55.6%)

70cl, 55.6%
Kavalan

Taiwanese single malt whisky from the much-acclaimed Kavalan range, produced at the King Car Distillery in the Yi-Lan County. This particular expression was given a finishing period in a cask that…  More info

Kavalan Solist Amontillado Cask (55.6%)
$388.88
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Kavalan ex-Bourbon Oak

70cl, 46%
Kavalan

Like the Kavalan Sherry Oak, this release takes the same fantastic liquid that's been used in Solist releases (in this case, the bourbon cask matured ones) and dilutes it to a bottling strength of…  More info

Kavalan ex-Bourbon Oak
1
$73.04
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Yushan Signature Sherry Cask

70cl, 46%
Yushan

This is a Taiwanese single malt whisky produced at the Nantou distillery for the Yushan Signature range. It was matured in sherry casks before being bottled at 46% ABV. The name comes from the…  More info

Yushan Signature Sherry Cask
$62.60

Kavalan Concertmaster - Port Cask Finish

70cl, 40%
Kavalan

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,…  More info

Kavalan Concertmaster - Port Cask Finish
18
$66.93
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Kavalan Single Malt Whisky

70cl, 40%
Kavalan

King Car distillery is located in Yilan County, Taiwan, and the single malt whisky produced there is named after the indigenous people who originally inhabited this northeastern corner of the island:…  More info

Kavalan Single Malt Whisky
33
$59.30
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Kavalan Distillery Select

70cl, 40%
Kavalan

From Taiwan comes Kavalan Distillery Select, a single malt celebrating the craftsmanship of Master Blender Ian Chang. It's been aged in refill casks and boasts all the fruity hallmarks of a classic…  More info

Kavalan Distillery Select
1
$48.56

Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask (58.6%)

70cl, 58.6%
Kavalan

Ace Taiwanese single malt whisky from King Car's Kavalan range, released as part of the Solist series. This was drawn from ex-Bourbon oak and has been bottled at 58.6% ABV.  More info

Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask (58.6%)
1
$127.36

Kavalan Sherry Oak

70cl, 46%
Kavalan

You know how good the multi-award winning Kavalan Solist Sherry matured releases are? Well the whisky that goes into this permanent addition to the range is the same, brought down to a bottling…  More info

Kavalan Sherry Oak
6
$91.71
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Yushan Blended Malt

70cl, 40%
Yushan

A Taiwanese blended malt named after the highest mountain in Taiwan (which stands at 3,952 metres above sea level). It's produced at the Nantou distillery, know for also making the Omar single malts.  More info

Yushan Blended Malt
$48.14
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Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique (57.1%)

70cl, 57.1%
Kavalan

Kavalan's incredible Solist Vinho Barrique expression is allowed to mature in casks that have contained red and white wines, and then re-toasted. Very interesting Taiwanese whisky from King Car.  More info

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique (57.1%)
6
$214.96
$133.94

Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Matured (cask 60821049)

70cl, 57.8%
Kavalan

Oloroso Sherry matured single cask whisky from Taiwan, bottled without artificial colouring or chill filtration. Now finally available in Europe, Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask won a Double Gold Medal at…  More info

Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask Matured (cask 60821049)
15

Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask (56.3%)

70cl, 56.3%
Kavalan

A Solist or 'soloist' (i.e. single cask - formerly holding bourbon in this case) release from King Car distillery in Taiwan. Cask strength and bottled without chill filtration.  More info

Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask (56.3%)

Kavalan Solist Pedro Ximénez Cask

70cl, 56.3%
Kavalan

From the King Car Distillery in Taiwan comes another addition to the Kavalan Solist range! This particular expression was drawn from a cask that previously held intensely sweet Pedro Ximénez Sherry.  More info

Kavalan Solist Pedro Ximénez Cask
$486.09

Kavalan Solist Moscatel Cask

70cl, 56.3%
Kavalan

This edition of Kavalan's Solist single malt Taiwanese whisky was drawn from casks that previously held Moscatel Sherry. This has imparted a full-bodied fruit sweetness to the intriguing whisky.  More info

Kavalan Solist Moscatel Cask
2
$361.82

Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask (57.8%)

70cl, 57.8%
Kavalan

Solist is German for 'Soloist', which in this case refers to the fact that this expression is from Kavalan's single cask range (they really, really like musical metaphors). Given this whisky is of…  More info

Kavalan Solist ex-Bourbon Cask (57.8%)
11
$118.59

Kavalan Solist Moscatel Cask (57.1%)

70cl, 57.1%
Kavalan

A rich, expressive Taiwanese single malt whisky from the Kavalan Solist range, drawn from a single cask and bottled at 57.1% ABV. Handsomely presented, and jam-packed with character.  More info

Kavalan Solist Moscatel Cask (57.1%)
$320.52

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique (57.8%)

70cl, 57.8%
Kavalan

To mature their Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique expression, the King Car distillers in Taiwan use casks which have held both red and white wines, before being re-toasted. The whisky is fully matured in…  More info

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique (57.8%)
13

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