Established in 2005, Kavalan is Taiwan’s first whiskymaker and the nation’s only family-owned whisky distillery. Kavalan takes the old name of Yilan county where the distillery is located in northeastern Taiwan. The pure water and fresh air make this part of the subtropical island the ideal environment for the production of whisky.
Kavalan Distillery is an entrepreneur’s dream come true. Mr. Tien-Tsai Lee, the founder of King Car conglomerate had long dreamed of producing a Taiwanese whisky, yet it was not until 2002 when Taiwan joined the WTO that his goal could be achieved. The distillery brings together a professional whisky R&D team with a world-class master blender, Ian Chang, as well as the expertise of renowned whisky specialist, the late Dr. Jim Swan. The team implements the highly specialized distilling and blending skills that King Car Group has cultivated for more than 30 years through beverage experience and knowledge.
Kavalan Core Series
Kavalan Single Malt Whisky Core Series exemplifies the sheer quality of whisky coming out of Taiwan. The craftsmanship of the distillery works with the humid Taiwanese climate to create whisky that is diverse and complex. Fresh and clean, the spirit is rich with silky smoothness and hints of tropical fruits, mango in particular.
Here’s an overview of some of the key expressions in Kavalan’s core range as of 2023:
Kavalan Classic: The Kavalan Classic is an entry-level expression known for its smooth and approachable character. It typically offers a balance of fruity and malty notes, making it a great introduction to Kavalan whisky.
Kavalan Concertmaster: The Concertmaster is a port cask-finished whisky in the core range. It is known for its rich and fruity profile with pronounced notes of berries, dark chocolate, and a hint of spice. The port cask finish adds a unique dimension to the whisky.
Kavalan Distillery Select: This expression is often described as the distillery’s flagship release. It’s known for its well-balanced flavor profile, combining fruitiness, sweetness, and a touch of spice. It’s a versatile whisky that appeals to a wide range of palates.
Kavalan Podium: Podium is a slightly more elevated expression in the core range, known for its complexity and depth of flavor. It often features notes of tropical fruits, vanilla, and spices, creating a rich and rewarding drinking experience.
Kavalan King Car Conductor: Named after the parent company of the distillery, King Car Conductor is a well-regarded expression that offers a harmonious blend of fruit, toffee, and nuts. It’s known for its smooth and refined character.
Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Oak: As the name suggests, this expression is matured in ex-bourbon casks, which impart vanilla and caramel notes. It’s a testament to Kavalan’s versatility, offering a departure from the typical sherry and wine cask-matured whiskies.
Kavalan Sherry Oak: Sherry Oak is a popular expression in the core range, known for its rich and fruity profile with prominent sherry influences. It often features notes of dried fruits, nuts, and spices.
Kavalan Oloroso Sherry Oak: This expression takes the influence of sherry casks a step further by using Oloroso sherry casks for maturation. It results in a whisky with deeper sherry notes and a velvety mouthfeel.
Kavalan Solist Series
The Kavalan Solist series is a highly regarded collection of single malt whiskies produced by the Kavalan Distillery in Taiwan. Kavalan is known for its commitment to producing high-quality whisky, and the Solist series is a testament to their dedication to craftsmanship and flavour
The Kavalan Solist series consists of single malt whiskies, meaning they are made exclusively from malted barley and distilled at a single distillery. One of the standout features of the Solist series is that the whiskies are bottled at cask strength, which means they are not diluted with water before bottling. This results in higher alcohol content and intense flavours. Kavalan experiments with a variety of cask types for maturation, including sherry casks, bourbon casks, and wine casks. Each cask type imparts unique flavours and characteristics to the whisky. Unlike many traditional Scotch whiskies that prominently feature age statements, the Solist series often does not have age statements on the bottles. Instead, Kavalan focuses on the flavours and qualities developed during maturation. The Solist series offers a wide range of flavour profiles, including rich and fruity notes, hints of spice, chocolate, and tropical fruit. The specific flavours can vary depending on the cask type and batch. Kavalan’s Solist series has received numerous awards and accolades in the whisky industry, earning recognition for its exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Some expressions in the Solist series are limited releases, which means they are produced in small quantities and may be available only for a limited time. This adds to their exclusivity and appeal to collectors.
Kavalan Cask-Union Series
Kavalan’s Cask-Union series is a collection of single malt whisky expressions that showcase the art of blending casks from different maturation periods and types. This series is notable for its focus on creating complex and harmonious flavour profiles through skillfull cask selection and blending. Here’s an overview of what the Cask-Union series represented:
Kavalan Cask-Union – Bourbon Oak & Sherry Oak: This expression combined whisky matured in both bourbon oak casks and sherry oak casks. It aimed to strike a balance between the sweet, vanilla-rich influence of bourbon oak and the rich, fruity notes imparted by sherry oak.
Kavalan Cask-Union – American Oak & Spanish Oak: This release brought together the influence of American oak and Spanish oak casks. American oak is known for its vanilla and caramel characteristics, while Spanish oak often contributes to the whisky’s spiciness and depth.
Kavalan Cask-Union – Bordeaux Wine & Sherry Oak: Bordeaux wine casks and sherry oak casks were used in the maturation of this expression. Bordeaux wine casks can add fruity and wine-like notes to whisky, complementing the rich sherry character.
Kavalan Cask-Union – Vinho Barrique & Sherry Oak:This variant featured a blend of Vinho Barrique casks and sherry oak casks. Vinho Barrique casks, often associated with Portuguese wine, can introduce vibrant fruitiness to the whisky.
Kavalan Gin is produced by the Kavalan Distillery, which is located in Yuanshan Township, Yilan County, Taiwan. Kavalan is well-regarded for its whisky production and has gained international recognition for its single malt Scotch-style whiskies. They have ventured into the world of gin production with the release of a gin called “Kavalan Gin.”