Today, Scotch whisky accounts for a whopping 20% of the UK’s food and drinks exports. The £4.6bn annual income from whisky is more than that gained from the next five biggest exports put together. Extraordinary figures indeed, but ones that are hardly surprising given the way people from around the world look at Scotch whisky.
No matter where you go in the world, odds are you’ll be able to find a bottle of our precious liquid gold, and you’ll probably be able to find a local to drink it with too. In some instances, in the furthest reaches of the globe, you may have to settle for a bottle of Famous Grouse, or Johnnie Walker Red might be the only thing on the shelves, but rest assured – if you look, you will find something.
Unlike Scottish Salmon, British chocolate, cheese, beer and shellfish (Britain’s top five exports after Scotch), which will be much harder to come across the further from Europe you wander, Scotch is a thing of its own – the king of spirits that has been centuries in the making, created with expertly honed techniques, skills and nuances passed down through the ages, continuously improved upon along the way.
Many have tried to emulate Scotch and many have failed, with the obvious exception of the Japanese who created something relatively, but not wholly, similar. We are also seeing good quality, and tasty, variants of whisky in Australia, Taiwan, Canada and even Sweden, but while some of these are indeed delicious in their own right, they’re simply not capable of drawing the attention of millions around the world in the same way that Scotch is, and they probably never will be.
This isn’t because Scotch is inherently better than the expressions from other whisky producing nations, though die-hard fans would argue that it is. It really comes down to everything that goes along with Scotch whisky – the history, the stories, the culture, the romance, the mastery. These are things that have taken hundreds of years to create and develop and it is these things that give Scotch its place in the heart of millions of us around the world.
Taiwan and Scotch
If you were to take a guess at the biggest markets for Scotch whisky around the world, you’d probably mention the US, China, France and Canada, but would you think Taiwan would be right up there? Many wouldn’t, but it’s true. Taiwan has a love affair with our precious spirit, and that love is only growing stronger by the day.
The country imported an enormous $454 million worth of whisky in 2017, up 6% from the previous year. These aren’t just cheap blends either. In fact Taiwan has a particular aversion to blended whisky – it doesn’t even feature in the top 10 countries in the world in terms of consumption. For them, it’s all about single malt.
Of course, we aren’t the only ones who have noticed this – distilleries are well aware of the burgeoning market too and this has resulted in a whole array of limited edition expressions being released specifically for the Taiwanese market.
It would be easy to suggest that less time or effort is put into these whiskies, as they aren’t for local markets, but that simply is not true. Everything from single cask first-fill sherry drams to extremely old small batch releases are available from the best distilleries in Scotland.
Notable Taiwan Exclusives
Literally hundreds of Taiwanese exclusives have been released by Scottish whisky producing experts and if you can get your hands on these, they’re well worth trying. The Taiwanese market now offers Scotch-lovers a chance to try whisky that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to get hold of, even in Scotland – a strange but exciting fact.
The Glenlivet 13 Year Old Sherry Cask, Macallan Boutique Collection, Dalmore 20 Year Old, Glenfarclas 180th Anniversary bottling and the hugely popular Macallan AERA non-age-statement whisky are just some examples of the enthralling range of expressions on offer in the country, and each and every one of them is an example of Scottish craftsmanship and mastery.
The Future For Scotch In Taiwan
The Taiwanese single malt market is growing year on year and that means that we are likely to see even more of these exciting releases in the weeks, months and years ahead. If you’re a fan of Scotch whisky, limited releases and getting your hands on drams that none of your friends or drinking buddies can, then it’s a market that’s well worth keeping an eye on.
These are whiskies that are being released in Taiwan, but it doesn’t mean that only the Taiwanese are allowed to enjoy them.
So how do you get hold of these expressions outside of Taiwan? At Whisky Foundation we have access to a wide variety of exclusive and limited edition releases and we ship worldwide, so just order your bottle and we’ll deliver direct to your door.
With masses of rare, limited and small batch whisky on offer – Taiwan really is the promised land for exclusive Scotch.