Taiwanese Whisky

Taiwan is one of the largest consumers of single malt whisky in the world, but the small island nation did not begin to produce its own whisky until the Kavalan Distillery opened its doors in the early 2000s. Since then, only one other distillery, Nantou, has followed in its footsteps, keeping Taiwanese whisky limited in the international market despite growing production volume and demand. Kavalan and Nantou both produce mostly malt whisky in the Scottish tradition using pot stills and aged in ex-bourbon barrels, although Nantou has released some whiskies finished in fruit liqueur barrels. The whisky is bottled much younger than Scotch because, just as in other parts of South Asia, the Taiwanese climate supports accelerated aging. The amount of annual evaporation loss during aging is reportedly between 7 and 15%, depending on the distillery.

Top Taiwanese Whisky Posts:

Kavalan Amontillado, Manzanilla, and Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky
Nantou Distillery Omar Single Malt Whiskey Bourbon Barrel Aged
Mystery Review: Taiwanese Golden Pure Malt Whisky

Review: Kavalan Single Malt Whisky Vinho Barrique Cask Strength (2024)

By Christopher Null | April 5, 2024 |

Six years ago, Taiwan’s Kavalan re-launched the Single Cask Strength Series of its single malts, with high-proof versions of its four uniquely matured bottlings on tap. We didn’t review them at the time, but from what I can tell this was a semi-relaunch of the Solist series. Neither series however has been available since 2018,…

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Review: Kavalan Distillery Select

By Christopher Null | March 2, 2019 |

Highball culture is making its way from Japan to Taiwan, as Kavalan has introduced its first expression intended for mixing, Kavalan Distillery Select. Some info: “Kavalan Distillery Select is matured in select malt neutral casks to showcase the fruitiness and sub-tropical characteristic of Taiwan’s climate without too much influence from the wood,” says Master Blender,…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2018

By Christopher Null | November 20, 2018 |

Another WhiskyFest is in the books, and although the lines for iconic bottles like Pappy van Winkle, Macallan No. 3 and No. 4, and Glenfiddich 30 Years Old (which those in the queue were surprised to find was not actually on hand when they got to the front of the line) were long, on the…

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Review: Nantou Distillery Omar Single Malt Whiskey Bourbon Barrel Aged

By Christopher Null | August 22, 2018 |

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…

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Drinkhacker’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guide – Best Alcohol/Spirits for Christmas

By Christopher Null | November 23, 2017 |

It’s our tenth anniversary, and our tenth holiday gift guide! After more than 5500 posts — the bulk of them product reviews — we’ve written millions of words on all things quaffable, and as always, we select the cream of the crop to highlight in our annual holiday buying guide. Consider it a “best of…

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Review: Kavalan Amontillado, Manzanilla, and Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask Single Malt Whisky

By Christopher Null | July 6, 2017 |

Taiwan’s Kavalan is on a tear of late, winning award after award as it shows that great whisky can come from unexpected places. The latest from Kavalan is a series of five whiskies called the Sherry & Port Cask Series. As you might expect, these all spend time in fortified wine casks — what’s not…

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Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2015

By Christopher Null | May 10, 2015 |

This year marked my sixth consecutive in attendance at Whiskies of the World, a fantastic event that’s typically held on the San Francisco Belle paddleboat, docked in San Francisco Bay. I asked organizer Douglas Stone why it seemed so empty this year, and he told me it was an optical illusion: He pushed the distilleries’…

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Tasting Report: WhiskyFest San Francisco 2014

By Christopher Null | November 5, 2014 |

Another WhiskyFest has come and gone, filling the masses with a smorgasbord of Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, and a little bit of everything else. There was nothing not to like in San Francisco this year, with the masses gobbling up the west coast introduction of Yellow Spot, a rare showing from Stranahan’s, and a surprise appearance…

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Review: Kavalan Single Malt Whisky Lineup (2014)

By Christopher Null | July 5, 2014 |

Kavalan is the best-known Taiwanese whisky distiller (at least in the U.S.), rapidly increasing its footprint from a single bottling just a few years ago (which we reviewed) to a total of nine on the market now. At least five of these whiskies, all single malts, are available in the U.S., and today we take…

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Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2014

By Christopher Null | May 16, 2014 |

Wet weather didn’t stop the masses from crowding onto the San Francisco Belle this year, a rite of passage for Bay Area whisky lovers attending the annual Whiskies of the World Expo. Lots of great stuff on tap this year, particularly from independent Scotch bottlers. Without further ado… Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World San…

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