KAVALAN WHISKY

A Taiwanese  beat a trio of top Scottish blends in a connoisseurs’ blind taste test organised to mark Scotland’s annual Burn’s Night festivities.

The Taiwan-distilled Kavalan brand, described as a “Far Eastern incomer”, came top in a test against three Scottish and one English whisky in a historic hostelry in Leith, north of Edinburgh.

“Oh. My. God,” author and whisky connoisseur Charles MacLean told The Times when the unexpected result was confirmed.

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The newspaper organised the test itself, in what it called a “piece of mischief-making” inspired by the launch of an English whisky, “St. George’s” last November.

Its hope was to catch the experts out with the tipple from Scotland’s traditional “Sassenach” English rivals — but to their surprise it was the Asian whisky which came up trumps.

“It’s tropical fruits. Tropical fruit jam,” said MacLean, chairman of the panel, after Kavalan — which is not marketed in Britain — came out top with 27.5 points out of a possible 40 maximum.

Langs, a three-year-old Scottish premium blend, scored 22 points, followed by King Robert — also from north of the border — on 20 and the English three-year-old malt on 15.5.

Last came quadruple-distilled Scottish blend Bruichladdich X4+3, on only 4.5 points, described by MacLean as “not cooking oil. Not diesel oil. Sewing machine oil.”

In a commentary the Times noted: “Asians are not only some of the world’s most sophisticated consumers of , but have begun distilling malts that compete with the best Scottish distilleries.”

Burns Night, named after 18th century poet Robert “Rabbie” Burns, competes with St. Andrew’s Day as a focus for traditionally whisky-fueled celebrations in Scotland and by Scots around the world.