Whisky Magazine Issue 108
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Davin de Kergommeauxgoes searching in Taipei for some excellent bars
Taipei, a modern city with a long drinking culture, is awakening to the pleasures of savouring a dram. Led by a handful of superstar bartenders, the past 15 years have seen a new bar culture emerge.
Sure, the once-favoured shot of whisky can still be had, but just as often it has been replaced by a slow contemplative sip. Taipei's bartenders are very professional, and seemingly take turns bringing home one world championship after another.
Bar-goers in Taipei do love their secret spots. Many a bar, unmarked or located well up a high-rise tower, can only be found if you know who to ask. That does not prevent these establishments from serving a full house, however. A Japanese approach to malt whisky exercises strong influence on the whisky scene, with drams served on long solid bars, poured into lowball glasses over a single, round, baseball-sized chunk of ice.
The finest and rarest whiskies are plentiful in Taipei bars, but the cocktail scene too, is very active. Savour your dram of Yamazaki 40 Years Old, and don't be surprised if the person beside you at the bar is enjoying his in a Manhattan.
No. 16-1 XinYi Road, Section 5, Taipei
Angus Zou is Diageo's 2010 World Class bartending champion of Taiwan and runs one of Taipei's most popular whisky bars. Seven years of serving some 60 high-end, luxury and vintage whiskies, along with classic cocktails, has clinched the stellar reputation of Alchemy and Angus among Taipei's discerning drinkers.