Taiwanese Whisky Scoops Top Award

Kavalan, Taiwan’s premier Whisky, has been named “Distiller of the Year” at the 2017 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC), the highest possible accolade at this prestigious awards programme for any spirits producer in the world.

The Distiller of the Year is the IWSC’s top prize and takes out the biggest of all the “Spirits Producers of the Year” ranging across Gin, Vodka, Brandy, Rum, and Liqueur as well as Whisky.


Kavalan CEO Mr. YT Lee said the IWSC Distiller of the Year Award recognizes the one spirits distillery that wins the highest overall score across all categories and regions.

“We’re passionate about making world-class Whisky; we’re humbled to receive this award, and we’re committed to making even finer Whisky in the future,” added Lee.

Master Blender Ian Chang said he would like to thank the late Dr. Jim Swan, Kavalan’s technical expert, and friend, for his inspiration.

“Dr. Swan would normally be sat beside us. I know he would be so proud of this achievement. This highest honor is to Jim,” Chang said.


Kavalan has won the IWSC’s Spirits Producer of the Year Award six times in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and now in 2017. The Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Single Cask Strength also collected the 2017 IWSC “Trophy” for the best Whisky produced outside of Scotland.

As the pioneer of Taiwanese Whisky, Kavalan has successively won the industry’s highest awards. Its Solist Amontillado Sherry Single Cask Strength was named the “World’s Best Single Cask Single Malt Whisky” in 2016 by the prestigious World Whiskies Awards (WWA) and its Solist Vinho Barrique won the 2015 “World’s Best Single Malt Whisky.”

Taiwan’s first Whisky distillery has been pioneering the art of single malt Whisky since 2006. Kavalan is aged in intense humidity and heat yet benefits from sea and mountain breezes and the spring water from Snow Mountain, which combine to create Kavalan’s signature creaminess. The distillery takes its name from the indigenous name for Yilan County, where it is based and is backed by 30 years of beverage-making under the parent company, King Car Group. It has collected more than 250 gold awards and is available in more than 60 countries.

According to the company website: “Kavalan takes the old name of Yilan county where the distillery is located in northeastern Taiwan. The pure water and fresh air make this part of the subtropical island the ideal environment for the production of Whisky.”

“Kavalan Distillery is an entrepreneur’s dream come true. Mr. Tien-Tsai Lee, the founder of King Car conglomerate had long dreamed of producing a Taiwanese Whisky, yet it was not until 2002 when Taiwan joined the WTO that his goal could be achieved. The distillery brings together a professional Whisky R&D team with a world-class master blender, Ian Chang, as well as the expertise of renowned Whisky specialist, the late Dr. Jim Swan. The team implements the highly specialized distilling and blending skills that King Car Group has cultivated for more than 30 years through beverage experience and knowledge.”

Jim Murray, author of the legendary Whisky Bible and world-renowned connoisseur of the beverage, said that Kavalan can be closely compared with particular Speyside styles after just two years of aging. Murray remarks that even in a subtropical climate like that of Taiwan, it is still possible to produce top-quality Whisky, something proved by the consistency of Kavalan’s output.

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