Kavalan Distillery, Yuanshan Township, Yilan County, Taiwán

While Taiwanese tea is well-known amongst the whole world, only few know the brewing industry in Taiwan. On the awarding list of World Whiskies Awards 2015 and 2016, the best single malt whiskey is neither from Scotland nor Ireland, but Kavalan Whiskey Distillery in Yilan, Taiwan. Time Magazine even picks the headline “Sorry, Scotland. Nice try, Japan” in their article to cover this whiskey from Taiwan.

In 2016, Kavalan Whiskey Distillery topped the list again with its newly introduced Amontillado as World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt Whiskey. Before all this happened, the impression of Kavalan within many Taiwanese people’s mind is limited on Mr. Brown Coffee, Boer Tea, or European castle theme cafe at Yilan Toucheng. As whiskey is not popular in Taiwan, not many have heard the name of the distillery. Thanks to the award, now tourists of Yilan hardly forget to include the factory in their schedule to see its grain storage tank, distillation site and huge cellar.

Starting from the entrance, you would see lots of scrapped oak barrels being placed along pathway and painted in different patterns. Oak barrels had been treated with high temperature flaming, and therefore give the deep color to whiskey. Only the spirits that had experienced storing in these barrels could be called as ‘whiskey’. If you are lucky, you could see staffs on the other side of huge glass doing heat treatment on oak barrels. Through the touring route in the winery, you will be able to see the instruments of distillation; sometimes, you could even observe the process of workers pouring wine into barrel and sealing them off.

As what people called as ‘single malt whiskey’ means the whiskey is exclusively brewed by a single distillery, so the sealed barrels would be directly transferred to the storing cellar until fully fermentation. Till then, the barrel would be re-opened and the whiskey inside would be bottled. After the touring and back to the hall, you are welcomed to sip a taste of various kinds of whiskey brewed here for free. For visitors do not take alcohol, the second floor provides an glass-walled area, allowing them to gaze on this proud-worthy distillery of Taiwan with a cup of coffee.

Epic Taiwan Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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