Whisky Magazine Issue 111
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Spreading far beyond Asia, Kavalan has dared to think big and is now reaping the awards.
Kavalan, an ancient name of Yi-Lan county, is located in the northeast part of Taiwan. The distillery is situated on the plain beside the Snowy Mountain (even though it does not snow there) where there is abundant supply of pure spring water. The distillery is a dream of an entrepreneur come true, realised by the spirits of dedication, determination, passion, innovation and perfection. Owned by King Car, a sizeable Taiwanese business that has been making food and drink since 1956 and that employs more than 2,000 people, the distillery is the brainchild of King Car's chairman, Mr. TT Lee, who had always wanted his own high-quality whisky distillery. However, all these could only be realised after Taiwan joined the WTO in 2002, ending the country's alcohol monopoly system.
Built in 2005, Kavalan distillery is highly automated but based on a conventional single malt plant. The casks, including ex-bourbon, refill barrels, fresh sherry butts and Kavalan's own dechar/rechar casks designed to a special recipe to complement the spirit's flavour, are stored in an unconventional five-storey maturation warehouse building. Wood policy has been sitting at the very heart of Kavalan. The distillery's master blender, Ian Chang has looked to different types of casks for the flavours and characters they give to the whisky.
The whisky is proudly proclaimed to be incredibly smooth, mellow and creamy. Drawing on his range of skills in wood and casks, Chang has driven forward Kavalan's rigorou...