Founded in 2005, Kavalan, the first whisky distillery built in Taiwan, caused an international incident in the world of whisky when it beat traditional Scottish brands at a blind tasting held on Burns Night in 2010. Even the likes of renowned whisky expert Jim Murray named one of Kavalan’s whiskies “Best New World Whisky” in his 2012 edition of The Whisky Bible. So it is with great excitement and anticipation that Anchor Distilling Company announces the launch of Kavalan in the U.S., with bottles of all seven expressions arriving on shelves April 25th, 2014: Kavalan Classic, Kavalan Concertmaster, Kavalan King Car Conductor, Kavalan Fino Sherry Cask, Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Cask, Kavalan Sherry Cask and Kavalan Vinho Barrique.
Kavalan, which means “flatland people,” is named after the Taiwanese aboriginal ethnic group that originally inhabited modern-day Yilan County, where the Kavalan distillery resides. The warm sub-tropical climate of Taiwan ensures the whiskies mature faster than their Scottish, American and Japanese counterparts. Yilan was selected for its abundant supply of cold spring water flowing through the Central and Snow Mountain ranges and for its proximity to the Pacific Ocean resulting in ocean mists and mountain winds circulating around each cask. Master Blender Ian Chang and Dr. Jim Swan, an international whisky expert and consultant to Kavalan, have quickly established a reputation for their innovative incorporation of various types of wood casks. Accounting for the tastes of Taiwanese drinkers, Kavalan whiskies boast fruitier flavor profiles, thanks to modifications such as stainless steel fermentation tanks, oil-based fuel instead of peat, and ex-sherry, port and bourbon barrels for aging; all Kavalan whiskies are cask strength, non-chill filtered and natural in color.
“The world of whisk(e)y is evolving quickly and we at Anchor are extremely honored and excited to bring arguably the most interesting range of whiskies to discerning American consumers,” says Anchor Distilling Company President David King. “The Kavalan range of whiskies is truly world class and stands shoulder to shoulder with the best products out there.”
Kavalan Classic Whisky (43% ABV / $89.99 SRP) – The first whisky produced by the distillery, Kavalan Single Malt expresses the quality and the character of the brand. Nose: Clean, elegant, floral (pleasant and refreshing fragrance of the butterfly orchid), fruity and seductive; hints of honey, tropical fruits (mango in particular), pear drop, vanilla, coconuts and suggestions of chocolate. Palate: A hint of sweet mango juice with that spicy complexity and gentle warmth on a medium, oily and citrus finish.
Gold Best in Class – International Wine & Spirits Competition 2011
Kavalan Concertmaster Whisky (43% ABV / $99.99 SRP) – Concertmaster uses Portuguese ruby, tawny and vintage port wine casks, complimenting Kavalan’s distinctive flavor profile to compose a harmonic symphony. Nose: Tropical fruitiness with honey, vanilla, coconut and candy floss. Palate: Rich bodied with natural sweetness and complexity.
Gold- Beverage Tasting Institute 2013
Kavalan King Car Conductor Whisky (46% ABV / $ $119.99 SRP) – King Car Conductor is one of the latest releases from the Kavalan distillery and the first expression named for the conglomerate. Nose: A touch of papaya, banana and green apple; pleasantly floral. Palate: Sweet, rich, vanilla, banana, coconut, a slight bitterness to balance.
Gold- San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2012
Kavalan Ex-Bourbon Cask Whisky (Limited Supply / 55-60% ABV / $159.99 SRP) – Ex-Bourbon Cask is a complex, multi-dimensional single malt whisky, with vanilla, fruit and coconut highlights. Matured in hand-selected American ex-bourbon casks and bottled at cask strength. Nose: Clean and fresh tropical fruitiness with pleasant vanilla, coconut and spices. Palate: Well-balanced natural sweetness, vanilla and oak spices, round and complex with silky smoothness.
Gold Outstanding, Worldwide Whiskey – International Wine & Spirit Competition – Single Malt 2013
World Whisky of the Year Whisky Advocate Award 2013
Kavalan Vinho Barrique Whisky (Limited Supply / 55-60% ABV / $159.99 SRP) – Vinho is fully matured in used American oak wine barrels that have been toasted and re-charred to bring out fruity vanilla notes from the whisky and wood overlaid on a delicate background of complex fruitiness; bottled at cask strength. Nose: A rich fusion of vanilla and caramelized sugars with dark chocolate on top; ripe melon and mango together with kiwi and a delicate blend of citrus fruits burst; pepper is also present in the background waiting to be noticed. Palate: The taste ends with clean and complex flavors embodying all that is best in the finest malt whiskies and a long aftertaste.
Gold Outstanding – Worldwide Whiskey – International Wine & Spirit Competition – 2013
Double Gold San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2013
Kavalan Sherry Cask Whisky (Limited Supply / 55-60% ABV / $184.99 SRP) – Sherry Cask is matured in Oloroso sherry casks and bottled at cask strength. Clean and complex with multi-layers of dried fruit, nuttiness and spices with some marzipan and vanilla touches to it as well. Palate: Rich, oily and full with pleasant dried fruit and spices that linger on in the mouth plus a hint of fine coffee.
Best Rest of the World Single Malt Whisky – World Whiskies Awards 2011
Gold (Supreme Winner) Malt Maniacs Awards 2013
Gold San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2013
Kavalan Fino Sherry Cask Whisky (Limited Supply / 55-60% ABV / $424.99 SRP) – Fino Sherry Cask is matured in top fino sherry butts, providing a mild sweetness that excites the palate; it is bottled at cask strength. Nose: Rich aroma of sherry, with its creamy toffee and rich fudge qualities, and the slightest hint of chocolate blends with the fruity character of the spirit; the fruitiness is a complex, multi-layered blend of mango and over-ripe citrus fruit flavors that ends with a touch of green apples. Palate: Natural sweetness on the tongue is accentuated with a gentle fudge flavor; complex fruity flavors are layered with dry smoked wood aromas.
Best New World Whisky – Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2012
Double Gold San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2013
Platinum, 100 Points – Beverage Tasting Institute 2013