Nantou is a state-owned distillery in Taiwan and has been in operation since 2008. It produces two single malt whiskeys — one aged in bourbon barrels, one in sherry casks — plus single-barrel versions of each.
Today we’re looking at the standard issue bourbon barrel bottling.
The nose is bold and powerful, with a significant wood impact, an unusual element for Asian single malts. There’s a modest cereal component here, but notes of thick almond nougat and brown sugar temper it considerably. The palate is equally intense and aggressive. I was immediately struck by a distinctive dark chocolate note, along with a bold baking spice and gingerbread character that kicks into gear soon after. Some rustic, slightly ragged granary notes linger on the back end, but there’s so much flavor packed into the body that a bit of greenness is forgivable on the finish. All told, it’s an experience that many single malt drinkers will find familiar — but spun just so in such a way as to be unequivocally unique.
92 proof. Reviewed: Bottling date 5/17/2017. Acquired in Tokyo, Japan, but can be found in specialty shops in the U.S.
A- / $80 / no website