Tsai Ing-wen drinking whisky at a National Day drinks reception, 2016

Taiwanese whisky is whisky made in Taiwan. The most prominent Taiwanese whisky producer is the Kavalan Distillery. In 2015 the Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique was named the best single malt whisky in the world at the World Whiskies Awards.[1][2] A significant whisky market, Taiwan is the third largest consumer of single malts in the world.


Kavalan single malt whiskey

From the Japanese colonial period until 2002 the right to produce alcohol was a government monopoly held by the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation. After liberalization in 2002 private distilleries began to spring up.[3] Taiwanese whisky first gained prominence in 2011 when a Taiwanese whisky beat three Scotches and an English whisky at Scotland's Burns Night.[4] In 2015 the Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique was named the best single malt whisky in the world at the World Whiskies Awards.[2] Seeking to imitate Kavalan's success the government owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation who had long ago abandoned whisky production entered the market with the Omar brand.[5]


As it is a young producer there is no standard style for Taiwanese whisky dictated either by law or tradition leaving producers free to experiment and innovate.[4] Due to Taiwan's subtropical climate whisky matures two to three times as fast as it would in Scotland or Ireland.[6] Taiwanese whisky often has notes of subtropical fruit and in general has a creamy character, however, there is quite a bit of variation.[7]

As a market

Taiwan has a developed and sophisticated whisky market. Taiwan is the third largest market for single malt whisky after the US and France.[4] Pernod Ricard has described the Taiwanese whisky market as “discerning and advanced” and has produced special edition whiskies for the Taiwanese market.[8]

Taiwan is the only whisky market which drinks more single malt whisky than blended whisky.[9] The Taiwanese scotch market is so large that it has historically shaped Taiwan and the UK's relationship.[10]

In Taiwan whisky is largely served at banquets and is often brought from home. Up until the 1990s cognac was the drink of choice at banquets but it has been replaced by whisky and to a lesser extent grape wine as tastes expand.[11] Whisky collecting has also become popular.[12]

See also


  1. ^ "The world's best whisky? It comes from Taiwan". www.telegraph.co.uk. The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b Kai-Hwa Wang, Frances. "The Best Single Malt Whiskey in the World Is From Taiwan". NBC News. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  3. ^ Forgan, Duncan. "How Taiwan became a serious rival to whisky stalwarts like Scotland and Ireland". cnaluxury.channelnewsasia.com. CNA. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Liu, Marian (15 September 2017). "How a Taiwanese whisky became a global favorite". www.cnn.com. CNN. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ Jennings, Ralph. "Subtropical Taiwan Suddenly Boasts Two World-Renowned Brands Of Whiskey". Forbes. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  6. ^ Quinn, Martin. "How Taiwan became a global powerhouse in whisky production". theconversation.com. The Conversation. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  7. ^ Centrone, Ian (17 July 2019). "How Taiwan Became a World-Class Whisky Region". www.tastingtable.com. Tasting Table. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  8. ^ Coleman, Liam (25 February 2020). "The Glenlivet honours Taiwan whisky market with Taoyuan Airport exclusive". www.moodiedavittreport.com. The Moodie Davitt Report. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  9. ^ Koutsakis, George (6 October 2019). "Can Taiwan's premium gin producers take on the world – and Taiwanese drinkers who prefer foreign liquor?". www.scmp.com. SCMP. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  10. ^ Dixon, Max. "Whisky or Weapons? Britain's Changing Tone on Taiwan". thediplomat.com. The Diplomat. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  11. ^ Fulco, Matthew (15 January 2018). "Taiwan's Growing Thirst for Wine". topics.amcham.com.tw. Topics. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  12. ^ Sheng-ju, Wu; Kuan-jen, Wang; Madjar, Kayleigh (24 January 2023). "FEATURE: Whisky becomes a collectible in Taiwan as connoisseurs snap up rare bottles". taipeitimes.com. Taipei Times. Retrieved 24 January 2023.