Thursday, March 15, 2012

Taiwan: The Future for Whiskey

(Excerpt from Ian Buxton in, 13 March 2012)
There’s a large and very prominently displayed sign at the entrance of Kavalan’s visitor centre in their distillery at Yi-Lan, Taiwan. “The New Homeland of Whisky”, it reads. Now, it would be easy to dismiss that as marketing hyperbole or simple self-aggrandisement, were it not that around 1m people a year see the sign.
That’s about as many visits as all the distillers in Scotland put together – and many of their visitors will have seen more than one distillery. And, it ignores the fierce national pride that - along with a multi-million dollar investment - researched, designed, built and began making whisky here as recently as 2006. I concluded that the sign was rather more than a slogan. It seemed to me that this was a serious declaration of intent. But, should it be taken seriously?
Whisky seemed generally in good heart in the bars, clubs and off-licences of Taipei – lots of Macallan, Dalmore and Glenfiddich in view, with brands created for Taiwan such as Spey also very evident. And, plenty was being drunk and local bar and drinks people appeared buoyant and confident at the Kavalan Masters Dialogue event. Around 350 delegates attended and five local TV channels provided news coverage. Interest in whisky in Taiwan continues unabated.
Paradoxically, there seemed less evidence of Kavalan in the accounts we visited. So, one might conclude that all’s well in one of Scotland’s most lucrative markets. And yet…
The Kavalan operation has only been running effectively for around five years. In that time, they’ve collected an enviable collection of awards for their trophy cabinet; released seven different expressions ,and fine-tuned distilling operations to cope with local maturation conditions. The two pairs of stills (from Scotland, of course) are now running at about 60% of capacity, with stocks being built up for a serious assault on China. Many of their visitors fly in from China to see the distillery so, quietly and slowly, brand awareness is being developed in a critical market.
As and when the brand launches fully there I expect it to become a serious mid-market challenger. The distillery is capable of rapid and very considerable expansion that would make it a significant volume operation, though not yet on the scale of the largest single malt plants in Scotland. (For the full report, see: )

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

When will Kavalan Whisky be available to the rest of the world?

After Kavalan's world wide accolades, demand for Taiwan's very first Whisky has exceeded expectations. And whilst Kavalan's whisky is available in Taiwan, across the island's duty-free shops and on certain airlines, it is not readily available overseas. Kavalan whisky is young. And only the first of Kavalan's single malt whisky has reached full maturity. Three year maturity is required before a whisky can be shipped overseas. So visit us regularly to find out where and when Kavalan whisky will reach your shores. Kavalan's single malt Concerto Port Cask finish, single malt Solist Ex-Boubon cask and single malt Solist Sherry cask whiskies will be available soon!

Can Kavalan compete with Pure Scotch whisky from Scotland?

For the past six months, Kavalan has been winning whisky lovers the world over. It all started when Kavalan made it into Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2010, awarding the spirit with a Gold Award. But the world really took notice of Kavalan when it beat a trio of Scottish Blends during a blind tasting event organised by The Times at the famous Burns Night. Soon after this, Kavalan won a top award at the WWA awards in London.
So, does this mean that the Kavalan Whisky is as good or better than some of Scotland's purest Scotch whiskies? Absolutely not. A Scotch whisky comes from years of tradition, care and craftmanship. Kavalan is a relatively young whisky. However, Kavalan is undoubtedly a great whisky in its own right. It has certainly proved a number of times that it is on the right track.
Shrugging off the 'Made in Taiwan' stigma and convince sceptics that Kavalan is a truly exceptional whisky has nevertheless been a challenge. Yet, the brand is showing that it is a unique whisky with its very own rich flavours, aromas and colours. It has put Taiwan firmly on the very exclusive handful of nations who make up the world's Whisky map!

WWA awards in London !

It seems that there is no end to KAVALAN Whisky's accolades.
It has just won another top award at the WWA Awards in London!

Nobody believed it. (01/2010)

Nobody believed it, but we always have.
Kavalan, the first whisky ever produced in Taiwan, beats a trio of top Scottish blends at the famous Burns Night in a blind test organised by the Times and held by whisky experts! An amazing achievement from a Taiwanese brand which few believed in. Are we finally witnessing a paradigm shift away from the old "Made in Taiwan" stigma?