Kaoliang, a signature tipple of Taiwan made from sorghum, recently claimed top honors at the annual New York-based Ultimate Spirits Challenge�one of the most prestigious competitions of its kind in the world.
Yushan Cellaring 6-Years-Old Kaoliang Liquor scored 97 out 100 to win the Chairman's Trophy, the highest award of excellence in the category of Soju, Shochu and Baijiu�three types of grain-based alcohol produced in South Korea, Japan and mainland China, respectively. Packing a powerful punch of 58 percent alcohol, the spirit is distilled by state-run Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp. in Taipei City.
Boasting a refined nose of freshly baked wheat bread and ginger cookie, Yushan also possesses a powerful palate characterized by wet clay, mossy earth and green lychee fruit. Its high alcohol is deftly incorporated, and the finish is long but smooth, according to USC March 29.
Equally praiseworthy are six bottlings produced by Fufong Winery International Liquor Corp. in central Taiwan's Chunghua County, Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc. in outlying Kinmen County and TTL. The spirits all made USC's prestigious 10-entry Finalist list with scores ranging from 94 to 97.
The 15-category challenge consists of five scoring classes: 95 to 100, Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation; 90 to 94, Excellent, Highly Recommended; 85 to 89, Very Good, Strong Recommendation; and 80 to 84 Good, Recommended. Each entry is allowed to breathe before being blind-tasted over multiple sessions by the judging panel made up of leading alcohol industry experts and critics from around the globe.
Kaoliang bottlings from Taiwan also outperformed in the USC's Cocktail Commendation section. Kinmen Aged Ta-Chu Liquor 3 Years Old and Kinmen Cellar Reserve 3 Years Old, both produced by KKL, were the only two entries to earn the highly coveted five-star rating.
KKL Chairman Huang Ching-shun said May 2 that the secret to the company's ongoing success is a commitment to consistently distilling high-quality products. This is why Kinmen Kaoliang is earning international accolades, he added.
Usually a clear spirit, Kaoliang gets its name from the Chinese word for sorghum. It is a staple at special occasions in Taiwan such as weddings and family reunions, and must pass stringent quality testing by local professional spirits experts before it can be bottled and sold.
Source: Taiwan Today