The Taiwanese take ten awards at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC) is considered one of the most influential in the industry. Held annually since the year 2000, spirit companies producing rum, whisky, tequila and more submit their spirit for entry to compete against others in a blind tasting with a panel of esteemed judges.

One of the favorites at the 2018 competition has been Taiwanese single malt whisky, Kavalan. From a competitive 2,200 entries, they have taken away ten awards including ‘Best in Class’ and nine Double Golds.

As a nation of prestige whisky drinkers, it is surprising that Kavalan is the first whisky distillery in Taiwan. Owned by King Car group with almost thirty years of experience making various beverages, whisky production commenced in 2006, in the Yilan County, from where the distillery takes its name.

Kavalan is a single malt whisky, the malted barley they use is imported from Europe. Peat has been used during the malting process so expect at least a hint of smokiness. Their production water is taken from both the Central Mountain and the Snowy Mountain ranges. The fermentation requires a combination of yeasts and is carefully monitored to last just the right amount of time at the perfect temperature to enhance their yield.

The distillation is carried out using two copper pot stills. The spirit is then matured in high-quality casks. The maturation process is unique in Taiwan, the casks sit in extreme heat and humidity with only the breeze from the sea and mountains to keep them cool, accelerating the flavors from wood to whisky.

Expressions that won double gold awards at SFWSC were mainly cask strengths of approximately 57% alcohol. They were also single cask whiskies that had been matured in oak mainly used for various sherries, wines or rum.

These are just the latest awards for the distillery who even won ‘Distiller of the Year’ at 2017’s International Wine and Spirit Competition.

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Jennifer is a writer for various websites mainly on the topics of travel, leisure, and whiskey mainly around Europe. She is originally from England, now living in Spain. When she isn't writing or reading, she can be found swimming or snorkeling during the summer and hiking in the mountains, equipped with a rucksack and tent during the winter months. You can visit her at, and