Whisky Focus - Kavalan Takes Top Slots At Whisky Competition In Japan

Kavalan Takes Top Slots At Whisky Competition In Japan

10th July 2020
Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique crowned Best of the Best at Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition 2020.

Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique Best of the Best Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition 2020Kavalan Taiwanese single malt whisky has raised a few eyebrows in Japan by taking 4 of the Top 10 slots at the recent Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition 2020 including the top 3 slots.

Kavalan's Solist Vinho Barrique topped the gruelling blind tasting by prestigious Japanese judges in search of what they consider to be the world's best single malt.

To find the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition's "Best of the Best", 128 single malts were whittled down to the best 14 contenders, which were assessed again by 13 select judges.

Incredibly in the final "Best of the Best" Top 10 ranking Kavalan placed first, second, and third.

The Top 10 Single Malts Best of The Best TWSC 2020 are:
  • 1. Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique (Best of the Best)
  • 2. Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask
  • 3. Kavalan Solist Oloroso Sherry Cask
  • 4. The Essence of Suntory Whisky Yamazaki Distillery Refill Sherry Cask
  • 5. Komagatake 1991 28 Years Old Single Cask No.160
  • 6. The Essence of Suntory Whisky Yamazaki Distillery Montilla Wine Cask
  • 7. Tomatin 30 Years Old
  • 8. Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry
  • 9. Glenfiddich 21 Years Old
  • 10. Glenfiddich 18 Years Old Small Batch Reserve

The accolades didnt stop there, Kavalan also scooped "World Distillery of the Year" and "World Single Malt - NAS" for its Solist Oloroso Sherry.

CEO Mr Y.T. Lee commented on the results, saying: "We are honoured to have been judged in this way by the prestigious Japanese whisky industry".

Mamoru Tsuchiya, Chair of the TWSC Executive Committee, said: "This year's results once again represent a strong showing from Taiwan, such as Kavalan ... Taiwan has demonstrated their whisky-making prowess."

Kavalan received the most Superior Gold's given to individual whiskies, clinching three of only eight. The complete Kavalan medal haul from TWSC 2020 was:

Best of the Best

  • Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique

Best World Distillery of the Year

  • Kavalan Distillery

World Single Malt Whisky Category Winner - NAS

  • Kavalan Solist Oloroso Sherry

3 Superior Gold

  • Kavalan Solist Vinho Barrique
  • Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon
  • Kavalan Solist Oloroso Sherry

8 Gold

  • Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish
  • Kavalan Concertmaster Sherry Finish
  • Distillery Reserve Peaty Cask
  • Distillery Reserve Rum Cask
  • Kavalan King Car Conductor
  • Kavalan Oloroso Sherry Oak
  • Kavalan Solist Fino Sherry
  • Kavalan Solist Port

Judges for the TWSC competition which was established in 2018 were selected from an elite group of Masters of Whisky, Whisky instructors, famous bartenders from throughout Japan, spirits industry importers, sellers, makers, and journalists.

Judging of the competition would have normally have been done by a panel of around 180 judges but as I am sure you can imagine this had to be somewhat scaled down this year due to the Covd-19 pandemic. This year each entry was decanted into 20ml sample bottles, before posting to a trimmed down panel of just 37 judges.

Not to lessen Kavalan's achievement in the competition in any way, the scaled down number of judges can result in personal preferences in certain styles or brands of whisky come more to the fore in the results but they certainly do reconfirm what many whisky drinkers who have had the pleasure of Kavalan single malt, their limited release Solist range as well as their others bottlings are worth seeking out.

You will find the current Kavalan whisky range including many of their TWSC competition winning whiskies available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

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