September 2016: Brandies of the World

Brandies of the World, September 2016, by Lee Bullock

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Brandy, derived from the Dutch word brandewijn “burnt wine”, is a spirit made from fermented fruit juice that is distilled and aged in oak barrels. While most brandy is made from grapes, brandy is also produced from a variety of fruits such as apple or pear. These are typically named eau-de-vie, French for “water of life.”

I selected Brandies from different countries to highlight the varieties of “standard” Brandies available and see how they varied from country to country.

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June 2016: Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky  

Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky, featuring Kavalan, June 2016, by Marcelo Moreira.

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Kavalan was founded in 2005 and known as the first distillery built in Taiwan. The distillery features imported copper pot stills from Scotland, water sourced from the springs of Mountains of Taiwan, and several types of wood barrels to achieve specific flavor profiles. Kavalan was quick to become well-known, beating even traditional Scotch counterparts in competitions.

As for the distillation method, the whisky goes through double distillation, resulting in additional purity and leaving the still at a higher strength. For maturation, the temperature in Taiwan is higher than other areas where single malt whisky is traditionally produced. This results in the whisky extracting the flavors from the oak barrels at a faster rate. Thus, even at a younger age, Kavalan typically tastes more mature than other similarly aged, or even older, whiskies. Another interesting fact – Kavalan is named after the indigenous people who originally inhabited the northeastern corner of Taiwan.

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