Kavalan has launched its limited edition Artist Series Whiskies. Each of the four bottles in the Taiwanese brand’s new range was designed in collaboration with artist Paul Chiang, whose work was selected for interpreting classical music and the natural beauty of Taiwan.
The Kavalan Artist Series features four single cask, cask strength Whiskies: Puncheon, Virgin Oak, French Wine Cask, and Peated Malt. Each offering is inspired by one of the four elements, Ocean, Air, Sunlight, and Mother Earth. 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.
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, “Pisilian” or “Mountain Range of Taiwan.” Meanwhile, a total of 4,000 individual bottles will be released.
Paul Chiang has received acclaim across the globe, thanks to his embodying an uncompromising pursuit of ‘the ideal’ that attracted the attention of the Kavalan family.
“Art, like whisky, has the power to stir deep emotion. But this takes decades of hard work and commitment to mastering your craft,” said Kavalan CEO Mr YT Lee. “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.”
The Kavalan Artist Series Whiskies:
Aged in Puncheon casks, and described as “rare as deep ocean treasure,” this Whisky is “effortlessly smooth in texture with an ocean of complexity, and waves of tantalising flavour.”
Bottled at 50-63% ABV, Kavalan Artist Series Puncheon features aromas of biscotti bathed in crème de pêches, smooth vanilla, sweet white peach, and maple syrup. The palate offers waves of sweet toffee, white-fleshed nectarine, and tropical fruits and hints of rich nuttiness.
The bottle features the 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.
Bottled at 50-63% ABV, “Virgin oak barrels form the body of this Kavalan symphony in which sweet notes of tropical fruits and honey are generously infused,” says the brand.
On the nose, the Kavalan Artist Series Virgin Oak delivers aromas of smoked plum, purple grape, buttery vanilla, rich beeswax, wafts of crisp floral notes, apricot, and peach. The palate offers bursts of spicy oak, sweet honey, autumn pear and chestnuts, ripened guava, and cinnamon spice.
The bottle features the 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.
French Wine Cask
Bottled at 50-63% ABV, the Kavalan Artist Series French WIne Cask 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.
On the nose, the Whisky delivers Vibrant berry and blackcurrant, sweet pepper, apple, caramel, and ripened fruit aromas. The palate ofeatures tropical fruit, wild berries, dried fruits, soft tannins, and subtle spice.
The bottle features the painting, “Meditation on Eternity”:
The golden Sunlight in this piece represents 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.
Bottled at 50-63% ABV, Kavalan Artist Series Peated Malt uses malt smoked with deep-mined peat, infusing Kavalan’s signature tropical fruits with the peated smokiness. 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.
On the nose, the Whisky offers layers of honeycomb, smooth toffee, and sweet coconut. The palate delivers buttered toffee and peaty and earthy notes on a bed of red pepper, generous spice, and rich longan.
The bottle features the 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.
The Kavalan Artist Series is now on sale across Taiwan. Individual bottles will be priced at an NTD$12,000 ($420 USD) each.