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Tasting Kavalan Single Malt on Whisky Israel

8 November 2010 1,396 views Written by: Gal Granov

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As you well know, I am always on the hunt for new whisky sampling. Especially when it’s not a well known whisky distillery from Scotland and many are starting to pop all over the world.

World whisky is fun. It’s always a bit different than your ordinary “scotch”. Japanese whisky is excellent we all know that, Indian Amrut is also yummy and won quite a few awards (stay tuned for more Amrut tasting next week). This time we’re going even more exotic: Taiwanese whisky. Yes, you heard me right.

Whisky Israel, and the Jewish single malt society will post four whisky reviews by this very interesting distillery in the coming days so stay tuned. Some lovely stuff is coming your way.

Background:

Whisky made in Taiwan? You got to be kidding me!? Or not?

It all started by one of Taiwan’s biggest beverage makes: King Car Co. King Car has been producing spirits and beverages since 1979. Whisky is becoming more popular throughout the world, and Taiwan is no exception. The King Car led by their chairman went on a very interesting and risky voyage: Building a whisky distillery in Taiwan. Quite a few experts were hired and flown to Scotland to learn the secrets of whisky making, and to do a technical feasibility evaluation.

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The Distillery is located Yuanshan, and is very technically advanced. All the equipment was constructed in Scotland and imported to Taiwan. The whisky was initially created and blended by the famous Dr. Jim Swan (Who is also the Master Blender and consultant for Penderyn). Currently there are four expressions on offer: A 40% single malt, a 40% single malt port cask, and two single casks, CS versions called ‘Soloist’, one is from an Ex-Bourbon cask and the other is from an Ex-sherry cask. All versions are bottled at the tender age of about 3 years of age (but considering the hot and humid climate in Taiwan, this is more like 8 years of age in Scotland standards as the evaporation rate is very high in this climate).

I will be reviewing all four expressions starting with the standard versions and then visiting the Cask strength expressions.

I am looking fwd to trying those out, as I’ve head very good things about them, and I know they’ve won some whisky awards world-wide.

Kavalan Single malt , 40% ABV

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Nose: Sweet barley. Some Flowery notes. I am sensing a bit of Metal and of course Exotic fruit (papaya, Banana,Melon) Very fragrant and fruity as could be expected from this youngster which was matured in a hot climate. It does feel older than three years of age.

Body: Spicy With hints of Coconut and Banana. There are wee traces of toasted oak , vanilla and also ginger.

Finish: Oak, Exotic fruit (mostly Banana) and cereal.

Bottom line : This is the basic expression which is bottled at 40%, with some Caramel as coloring material , but is a good starting point in getting to know the Kavalan line. It’s very sweet and exotic, and does have a certain Bourbony quality, but the spice and vanilla notes are also mixed with quite some fruity (exotic fruit) notes, which make it very drinkable and nice. A very well made dram, if not very complex , but thoroughly enjoyable. What do you know? Taiwan can produce a solid dram. Woot!

You can read Josh’s review of the same expression on his blog here.

Sincere thanks to Ian Chang, Head distiller and Blender at Kavalan whisky for the generous sample.

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