I think the best thing about our club is that I get to put before a lot of people each month a whisky that they may not have thought to try otherwise. This month we feature a whisky that (whilst whisky ‘experts’ have been singing the praises of for a while now) a lot of people have never heard of – or even contemplated a single malt whisky originating from where this one does. For November we feature a Taiwanese single malt whisky. Yep. You heard that right – Taiwanese. And we get it – there is going to be a fair contingent that are skeptical about a Taiwanese whisky. And so in age old tradition of ‘dipping your toe’ in the pool before diving in, we’re featuring Kavalan’s entry level offering – the Kavalan Distillery Select.

Kavalan say the NAS (no age statement) Kavalan Distillery Select is matured in “select malt neutral casks” and to be honest I’m not exactly sure what this means. The whisky definitely looks like it’s had some sherry influence as it’s a deep and satisfying brown. But then again – there is more than enough vanilla and spice present to suggest more than a little American oak has had it’s way with it as well. So I guess they are asking us to think beyond the cask type and just enjoy the flavours? Or something like that 😊

Nose: Pawpaw, guava, and banana plus wafts of camellia and jasmine flowers.
Palate: Smooth and creamy – but light – mouthfeel with a warming spice that give the impression of a higher abv. A big vanilla burst that wraps itself around chocolate and treacle, and there’s even some ginger in the mix.
Finish: Nice and long with allspice, and stewed fruit. Hints of fresh cut hardwood as it lingers and fades.


ABV: 43%
Bottle Size: 700ml
Region: Taiwan
Peated: No
Non-chill filtered
Cask Type: “select malt neutral casks”

Colour: Midnight Amber
Nose: Delicate and silky. Full with the scent of ripened tropical fruits, fragrant floral notes and warm vanilla.
Palate: Elegant, perfectly balanced and easy to drink. The rich and complex layers of butterscotch, toffee and vanilla are a further endorsement of our rigorous cask policy.

Kavalan Distillery Select


Interestingly, the Kavalan Distillery was established in 2005 – the same year as our club! It’s name comes from the old name of the province of it’s location in northeast Taiwan. Kavalan pays homage to the home of single malt whisky by using Scottish made pot stills for it’s whisky production.  It’s first new make spirit was produced in March 2006 and December 4th 2008 saw their first single malt release – the Kavalan Classic Single Malt Whisky. 2010 saw the awards begin to appear – starting with a first place in a Burn’s Night blind taste challenge organised by the Times newspaper. 2011 saw their first ‘International Wine and Spirit Competition’ (IWSC) title for ‘Asia-pacific Spirit Producer of the Year’. Awards and medals have poured in in every year since and continue to do so. “World’s Best Single Malt” and “World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt” from the World Whiskies Awards together with “Distiller of the Year” from the International Wine and Spirit Competition and “Distillery of the Year” from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition are just some of the trophies in Kavalan’s pool-room.

Kavalan Distillery Select

The Kavalan Distillery Select has become the darling of ‘rock star mixologists’ as it’s light flavour profile makes it perfect for addition to cocktails. Or so I’m told. What I do know, however, is that the 40% abv makes it a fantastic whisky for those stinking hot summer Sunday BBQs. As soon as the sun dips behind the trees and that arvo breeze comes through – one of these is lovely. I’ve found this light style of whisky a perfect candidate for a ‘quick chill’. And by that I mean 5-10 minutes in the fridge. Just enough to knock a couple of degrees off the ambient temperature (and not so much that you dull the flavours). Try it next time you think it’s too hot for a whisky. I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised.