Kavalan make world class spirits and are famous for their whiskies, which have won awards as the worlds best. We earmarked the distillery near Yilan, as a must visit when in Taiwan and enjoyed exploring the facilities. We thought this whisky experience would be hard to top, however when in Taipei we came across the Kavalan Whisky Bar situated in the Zhongshan district.
The Kavalan Whisky Bar is on the second floor of a building with a brew pub and steak house.There is a somewhat secret entrance, where you press a “Taiwan shaped” button on the wall and a whisky cask opens up for you to enter. The bar is dimly lit, dark and mysterious, the staff impeccably presented and offer you a seat at the bar, table or booth. On the left as you enter there are numerous casks lit up as a feature, they are a functional feature filled with the Kavalan elixir. The bartenders, Bryan and Ryan are extremely professional and accommodate by answering our many questions.
We chose to sit at the bar where there are numerous bottles for tasting. We are offered some traditional Taiwanese bar snack of puffed rice and nuts. Then, we browse the menu, Sarah is not one for whisky and enjoyed a refreshing gin cocktail made with Kavalan’s very own gin. There are a range of unique whisky cocktails available, with the bartenders in the process of formulating a cocktail featuring ingredients highlighting the elements and ingredients of Taiwan, the mountains, rivers and the coast.
Being the whisky enthusiast I could not pass on trying whisky directly from the barrel. The award winning Vinho Barrique already a favourite from the bottle, however directly from the cask is a whole different level. We didn’t think it was possible for Kavalan to have more flavour, however straight from the cask was an absolute flavour bomb, to start the oak and spice from the cask is very noticeable, then comes the rich berry and caramelised sultana flavors and this whisky very long on the palate. It felt like I sat on this dram for an age, very powerful, engaging and more importantly delicious.
The Distillery reserve peaty cask and Rum casks were also available straight from the barrel, amongst others including sherry and port. The peaty another favourite, again another powerful dram, a sweet peat, super woody to start, it mellows and sweetens with some bitter chocolate notes, it also reminds me of the soloist bourbon barrel with the sweet finish.
It has only been open a month, so we were excited to be an early customer. The Kavalan bar is a must when visiting Taipei. With whisky direct from the barrel it is truly a unique experience, that sets this bar apart from many others. We highly recommend a visit to the Kavalan Bar to experience this world renowned Taiwanese whisky.
Kavalan Whisky Bar
104, Taipei City, Zhongshan District, Section 2, Nanjing East Road, 1號
Opens 8pm daily