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90 points

Kavalan single malt, 40%

When the news arrived that a distillery was being built in Taiwan, the whisky world pretty much dismissed it. When Kavalan appeared at a precocious 42 months, it sat up and took notice. Owned by food and beverage conglomerate King Car, Kavalan started producing in 2006 with blender Ian Chang at the helm — and a hotline to consultant Dr. Jim Swan. Taiwan’s tropical climate pushes the maturation cycle along at a ferocious rate, but the key here is its complexity. Maybe it’s auto-suggestion, but I could swear there’s ginseng in here, as well as honeycomb and black cherry pie filling. Fresh and clean, the spirit is rich and accompanied with great wood. Mature whisky in three years? It’s an accountant’s dream!

Reviewed by: (Winter 2010)