Vignettes in Whisky Trip to Taiwan – part 3/3 By Mark Dermul, Belgium

Trip to Taiwan – part 3/3

By Mark Dermul, Belgium

Apart from being a whisky blogger and vlogger, Mark Dermul from Belgium also works part time as whisky expert for the auction platform Catawiki. In that capacity he was recently sent – together with two colleagues – to Taiwan on a whisky business trip.

This is his report.

Part 3 of 3.

Whisky Bars

Doing business in Taiwan is mired in cultural do’s and don’ts. Luckily, the Taiwanese people are very open, honest, welcoming and forgiving, so we did not worry too much. But a lot of business starts with a meal, continues in a bar and is concluded with some karaoke, it seems. We had lots of fun. Allow me to point out a few bars of interest that we visited.

Backyard Jr is a lovely little whisky bar (little to be taken with a grain of salt for their range is eye-watering) in the famous Breeze Center near the famous Taipei 101 shopping center.

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I unfortunately did not note the name of the karaoke bar, but we were treated to Balvenie 21 Year Old and the Taiwan exclusive Macallan Aera. Very nice.

The aforementioned whisky bar in the Hotel Kuva Chateau is a must-visit if you are in Taoyuan. Their whisky list of over 2.000 open bottles is very well organized. Every bottle has a code, to help the bartender locate it in the bar that comprises some four walls.

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In Taichung, you have a grand view of the city from the Lounge One bar on the 29th floor of one of the modern skyscrapers that dot the city skyline. A life band of jazz musicians entertains while you sip your favorite malt or bourbon. I had a Glen Ord 18 and Bunna XXV.

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Apart from these whisky bars, where we enjoyed a few great sips, the best drams were had while visiting some collectors (who by now have become friends). While they will not be named for privacy reasons, I can say I’ve had some of my most amazing whisky’s in their den. A shortlist, if you’ll allow me:

  • Macallan 25yo (b 1980s)
  • Springbank 1966 (b 1997)
  • Macallan 14yo Moon Import (b 1980s)
  • Rosebank 1967 Signatory (b 1998)
  • JJ&S Liqueur Dublin Whisky (b 1960s)
  • Glen Scotia 8 Year Old (b 1950s)
  • Port Ellen 14 Year Old 1979 Wilson & Morgan (b 1993)
  • Caol Ila 15 Year Old The Manager’s Dram (b 1990)
  • Lagavulin 13 Year Old 1979 Wilson & Morgan (b 1993)
  • Laphroaig 10 Year Old Bonfantimport (b 1970s)
  • Talisker 1955 Gordon & Macphail (b 1992)

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Nuff said…

Sightseeing

All this beautiful liquid would almost make you forget that Taiwan is also a beautiful country in its own right with many sights to see.

People who know me, know that I am not one to be dumbfounded easily. But when visiting the monuments and temples in Taiwan, I have to admit, I was truly humbled. Not just by the buildings, but also by what they signify, the people who pray in them and were very inviting, the fantastic gardens and parks.

I was impressed with the Shing Tien Kong Temple (Five Saviours), the Dalongdong Baoan Temple and mostly with the Confucius Temple. The Square of Democracy with the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is just stunning. Goosebumps, anyone?

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Tapei is a bustling city that captivates, especially at night (it is a city that never sleeps), while Taichung was more open, less busy and thus actually – to me – more enjoyable. But one thing is for sure… I am definitely in love with Taiwan and its people and hope to one day return here.

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After a week – that truly seemed much shorter – in Tawain, I can honestly say that we did good business, made plenty of new friends, had the best food ever, drank liquid history and to top it all off, I was able to pick up two new bottles of Auchentoshan at the airport. Ha! This trip was perfect.

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I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Mr Wang and his staff, Mr Hsien, Mr Lin, Ms Lin, Mr C and all the staff at both the Landis, Tempus and Kuva hotels for their gracious generosity and hospitality. You have made this trip one that will be long remembered. Xièxiè!

I also wish to thank my colleagues at Catawiki for the opportunity to travel to Taiwan.

Last but not least I would like to thank my better half Sofie, who continues to support me in all my crazy whisky and other adventures. Thank you, sweetheart.

May the Malt be with you!

The 1st part was published on February 17th and the 2nd and February 24th.

V1

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