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Perhaps it was inevitable...
Following the success of Japanese whiskies, and the strengthening taste for good quality whisky in Asia in general, Taiwan has decided to attempt a top of the range whisky made entirely in Taiwan.
Is this even possible? Well, it’s certainly possible to stick a top of the range price tag on it, and Kavalan (named after an ancient Taiwanese tribe) is priced at $60.
On the other hand many whisky experts and enthusiasts don’t believe Taiwan has the right climate to create a great whisky.
A stronger criticism is that the first ‘whisky’ released under the brand name is no such thing as it has not been aged for three years.
In Scotland in particular, before being aged for three years, a whisky may only legally be referred to as a ‘malt spirit’.
Ian Chung of Kavalan has responded to both criticisms at once, claiming that the warm climate causes the taste and smell of Scotch to appear more rapidly; the spirit matures more quickly, he argues.
Kavalan has certainly impressed some, winning a silver award in the International Wine & Spirit Competition.
Nevertheless, it’s generally believed that Taiwanese whisky drinkers are interested in the status associated with whisky drinking and would rather drink an imported whisky such as Johnnie Walker, nevermind a great one such as a Bowmore or Macallan.
Scotch makers will certainly be hoping this is the case.
Recently, an American whiskey took the top place in the 2010 Whisky Bible, beating all Scottish competitors with other Asian creations clawing their way up the rankings.
Even England has succeeded in creating a very respectable whisky for the first time in a century.
Scotch makers could probably do without any more competition, but for whisky lovers it just means there’s more and more to choose from.
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