Kavalan, the pioneering force behind Taiwanese whisky, has launched its “Kavalan Artists Series,” a new range of expressions that aims to highlight the fine art of whisky.
The first edition introduces four bottles in collaboration with Master Artist Paul Chiang, who draws creative energy from his homeland, and whose work was selected for interpreting classical music and the natural beauty of Taiwan.
The single-cask, cask-strength whiskies — Puncheon, Virgin Oak, French Wine Cask, and Peated Malt — are inspired by the four elements, Ocean, Air, Sunlight, and Mother Earth, each of which plays an essential role in the creation of Kavalan whisky. The distillery will release a total of 198 collector sets, which come with four 700ml bottlings. In addition each set includes a uniquely numbered and signed edition of one of two silkscreen prints by Paul Chiang titled, “Pisilian” or “Mountain Range of Taiwan.” Meanwhile, a total of 4,000 individual bottles will be released, bottled at 1,000ml for individual purchase.
Peated Malt is Kavalan’s second Shave, Toast, and Rechar (STR) whisky and follows on from the WWA ‘World’s Best Single Malt’ winner, the *Solist Vinho Barrique.
Paul Chiang has been internationally acclaimed across Europe, the US, and Taiwan, embodying an uncompromising pursuit of ‘the ideal’ that attracted the attention of the Kavalan family.
Kavalan CEO Mr YT Lee said each painting was a labour of love.
“Art, like whisky, has the power to stir deep emotion. But this takes decades of hard work and commitment to mastering your craft,” Mr Lee said.
“Take ‘Puncheon’, which depicts the sea, sky, and stars. Paul painted this work after returning to Taiwan after 30 years, settling on the coast in Taitung. You can feel the euphoria of that time and the beauty of rediscovery.”
“We want to bring together great art and our rarest whisky to connoisseurs an expression of the finest artistry. We are honoured to be collaborating with Paul on the inaugural edition.”
PUNCHEON 50-63% ABV
Painting – Pisilian (Morning Stars over the Coast)
The indigenous name, Pisilian, refers to a stretch of Taiwan’s eastern coastline, connecting Kavalan’s home in Yilan County with Taitung County where Paul Chiang is based. Kavalan’s story, or dream, starts in the Ocean under a starry sky. From here, moisture rises and eventually condenses above Snow Mountain, creating Kavalan’s legendary water source.
Aged in Puncheon casks, and as rare as deep ocean treasure, this whisky is effortlessly smooth in texture with an ocean of complexity, and waves of tantalising flavour.
Roasted biscotti bathed in crème de pêches, smooth vanilla, sweet white peach, and maple syrup.
Waves of sweet toffee, white-fleshed nectarine, and tropical fruits and hints of rich nuttiness.
VIRGIN OAK 50-63% ABV
Painting – On Wings of Song
Named after a Felix Mendelssohn piano piece, Paul Chiang’s circular brushstrokes imagine effervescent air particles and the beating of wings, creating the sensation of air in motion. The Kavalan dream takes flight in Air, and this painting can be seen as an artistic rendition of whisky’s maturation process.
Virgin oak barrels form the body of this Kavalan symphony in which sweet notes of tropical fruits and honey are generously infused.
Smoked plum, purple grape, buttery vanilla, rich beeswax, wafts of crisp floral notes, apricot, and peach.
Bursts of spicy oak, sweet honey, autumn pear and chestnuts, ripened guava, and cinnamon spice.
FRENCH WINE CASK 50-63% ABV
Painting – Meditation on Eternity
The golden Sunlight in this piece represent sparks of hope, lighting the path toward the Kavalan dream. The fiery red denotes both the intensity of purpose and the heat of the sun, the same life-giving warmth that uniquely enhances Kavalan’s ageing.
Matured in red wine barrels from the finest wineries in Bordeaux, France, this opulent whisky has a rich aroma with full-bodied texture. Soft tannins and a warming mouthfeel help bring out the rich complexity of flavours.
Vibrant berry and blackcurrant, sweet pepper, apple, caramel, and ripened fruit.
Tropical fruit, wild berries, dried fruits, soft tannins, and subtle spice.
PEATED MALT 50-63% ABV
Painting – Jinzun / Summer
The final piece in the set is both homecoming and rebirth. The green, yellow, and blue represent Taiwan’s East Coast’s lushness and the vibrant flavours and scents of Kavalan whisky. This Mother Earth bears the fruits of labour for both Kavalan and Mr Chiang and the seeds for new growth. The Kavalan dream becomes a reality.
Using malt smoked with deep-mined peat, Kavalan’s signature tropical fruits are infused with the peated smokiness in this one-of-a-kind drop. An earthy depth and complexity is exquisitely layered with fruit and accentuated by Kavalan’s unique Shave, Toast, and Rechar (STR) technique on the barrels, for a unique maturation.
Layers of honeycomb, smooth toffee, and sweet coconut
Buttered toffee and peaty and earthy notes on a bed of red pepper, generous spice, and rich longan.
The Kavalan Artist Series is now on sale across Taiwan. Individual bottles will be priced at an RRP of NTD$12,000 each.
*Please note that Kavalan’s award-winning “Solist” Series is sold under the name “Cask Strength” Series inside the US market only for trademark reasons.