Present in more than 60 countries, from Asia to Europe, and 30 different expressions of single malt whiskey to their credit, the distillery recently won the coveted IWSC (International Wine and Spirit Competition) Worldwide Whiskey Producer of the Year, awarded to the highest rated whiskey maker in Asia, Australasia, Europe and the Americas.
This was in addition to winning Producer or Distillery of the Year awards from nearly every major competition such as the IWSC, International Spirits Challenge (ISC) and San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) .
“Many of our award-winning expressions are primarily single cask whiskeys (unblended products where two casks are not identical; compared to single malt whiskeys which are made from the blending of different malt whiskeys at the same distillery) – usually only ten barrels out of 100 in the maturing warehouse, or only one tenth of the casks, are selected to be bottled as single cask whiskies,”Kaitlyn Tsai, Kavalan Brand Ambassador and Head of Global PR, said FoodNavigator-Asia.
“The Kavalan Distillery is located in Yilan County, which has a unique climate of warm summers and cool winters that allows us to develop rich, complex whiskey in just a few years – a process that our late technical consultant, the Dr. Jim Swan, and I have called it ‘maturation redefined’.
“The intense heat of the Yilan summer helps the whiskey extract flavor compounds from the oak barrels much faster, and the cool, below -10 windsWinters at °C help maximize the oxidation process. Yilan is also the first place in Taiwan where the Siberian winds hit, which prolongs the “breathing” process of our maturation, making it the best place on the island to make whisky.
“In terms of flavor, Kavalan Whiskey possesses an incredibly smooth, mellow and creamy taste with a rich fragrance of tropical fruity and sweet characters, especially apple, mango and orchid which are native to Yilan County.”
Dr. Jim Swan was an English scientist and single malt whiskey expert considered by most to be a whiskey pioneer and dubbed “the Einstein of whiskey” based on his research. He died in February 2017 at the age of 75.
“In 2022 and beyond, we believe consumers in Taiwan and Asia-Pacific will continue to trade in more valuable and rarer alcohol products, such as limited, experimental and special edition whiskeys,”Tsai added.
“The RTD category will also experience strong growth as it appeals to a broader consumer base, seeking wellness, convenience and an intriguing variety of flavors. This creates a huge opportunity for spirits producers around the world.
In response to these trends, Kavalan’s single cask whiskeys are already considered premium due to the uniqueness of each cask, but the distillery has also gone a step further by focusing on marketing and presentation via a series of whiskeys on the art theme, where it sold. some 198 limited edition collector’s boxes with four bottles of 700 ml each on launch day.
It has also launched RTD cocktails using its whiskey and gin, such as a Highball Whiskey Soda and a Gin & Tonic using its Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whiskey and first Kavalan Gin as respective base spirits. It was recently joined by a unique “Kavalan Gin Soda Oolong Tea” which incorporated the gin with charcoal roasted oolong tea from the Mingjian countryside.
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a change in consumer behavior, with an increasing number of people drinking from home – [this shift] has benefited categories such as spirits and RTDs which are more suited to home consumption during lockdown,”she says.
“In the meantime, a growing number of people are also more focused on health and well-being, [embracing] drink consciously and choose drinks that are light and refreshing – our RTD highball soda whiskey and gin & tonic are both low-alcohol cocktails with 4% and 5% alcohol content respectively in response to this.
Tsai also told us that Asian and European whiskey drinkers seem to have slightly different preferences when it comes to when to drink whiskey, with Asian drinkers looking for options to pair with main dishes and European drinkers looking for options to pair. drink after meals or with desserts – although classic whiskey does well across the board.
“Our classic Kavalan Distillery Select No.1 is the best seller around the world [featuring] subtropical fruits like mango, pineapple and green apple and offering both affordable prices and good quality,”she says.
“In Europe, we have also noticed that the Kavalan Concertmaster Port Finish, which has different berries and a marshmallow sweetness, is very popular – European consumers prefer this expression because it pairs better with desserts and is perfect to enjoy after a meal.
“In Asian markets, Kavalan Oloroso Sherry Oak – known as the ‘sherry bomb’ – is an expression that sells particularly well. It is very rich, fat and round, pairing very well with roasted foods like steak and barbecue with smoky flavors to give it a good savory pairing.
“All in all, in 2022 Kavalan will continue to expand its global presence and bring more surprises to whiskey drinkers – more additions to our portfolio are also to come in the years to come. [based on] the different barrels used as well as in our range of gin. In particular, we have new peated malt whiskeys in the process of maturing which should soon satisfy amateurs.