Situated at the cross boundary of Yi-Lan mountains, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the King Car distillery has been creating something that many thought would never happen: Taiwanese whisky. Naming their brand after the indigenous people that originally inhabited that area, the Kavalan, was a way to show how genuine King Car Group wanted to be with their new project. They wanted to make whisky truly inspired by Taiwan for the people living there, and to introduce the world to the unique ideas and directions their expressions can take.
King Car Group are not a new company, although no one would blame you if you’ve not heard of them before. They have been producing food and beverages for over 30 years, but only produced their first bottle of whisky in 2008. Honouring the tradition of Scottish whisky production, King Car imported two copper stills from Scotland to distill their whisky, along with a master distiller to oversee the processes. While their equipment is conventional, their Kavalan is unusual as it matures in the cask quicker than most whiskies, due to Taiwan’s vastly different climate.
Since then, the Kavalan range has been winning awards left and right, for their single malts and Solist selection, which are all casked in different, imported barrels – including the World’s Best Single Malt Whisky at the World Whiskies Awards 2015. It even made the national press in 2010 when, in a blind taste test for The Times, Kavalan beat out three Scottish whiskies, shocking the judges. The whisky was unavailable in countries other than Taiwan and parts of China until mid-2013, when it was finally released for worldwide enjoyment.