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Spring 2021

Volume 5, Number 1

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President
Terry Moore
Summerville, SC
tr_moore@bellsouth.net
(843) 297-6691
 
President Elect
Thomas Taylor
Summerville, SC
rebelslt@gmail.com
(540) 377-6865
 
Treasurer/Secretary
Jaime Moore
Summerville, SC
Jaime_moore@bellsouth.net
(843) 408-5419
 
Member At Large
Ron Napier
Front Royal, VA
RonNapier@hotmail.com
(540) 636-1103
 
Member At Large
Brandon Lutes
Ladson, SC
Brandon@LutesPropertyServices.com
(843) 906-6551
 
Welcome to the Whiskey DRAM Fellowship Spring 2021 Newsletter. The past 16 months has caused many of us to rethink gathering with family, attending Rotary events and how we approach our careers. We hope you and your loved ones are well and see the light of hope now that vaccine roll-outs are wide-spread in many parts of the world.

As expected, the Rotary International Convention, scheduled for June 12-16 of this year will now be a virtual event in response to the ongoing threat of COVID-19. The Fellowship has applied for a "virtual booth" in the House of Friendship; we are not sure as yet as to what that will offer us as far as connecting with members. Details will be shared as we have more information. We are planning another world-wide tasting via Zoom during that time to coincide with the Convention.

In spite of world events, our Fellowship continues to flourish and members are hosting whiskey events throughout the world. Whiskey Pulls and Tastings/Pairings make for excellent fundraising opportunities. Read on for how you can participate in an event in Media, Pennsylvania in June.

Since we cannot be in Taiwan together, we thought the next best thing would be to highlight Taiwanese Whiskies and the distilleries that produce them - the Nantou Winery and Whisky Distillery, Kavalan Distillery and the Taiwan Sake Factory.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that the 2022 Convention in Houston, Texas will become a reality!

Cheers and best wishes,
Jaime and Terry Moore

 

COCKTAIL TIME


The Taiwanese Highball


1 oz Taiwanese whisky
4 oz soda water
Take a chilled tumbler and add ice cubes. Pour in whisky and slowly add soda water. Stir slowly to incorporate. Add lemon zest or a lemon wedge (juiced into the highball) as garnish if you wish.

MORE THAN JUST WHISKY AND SODA
UNDERSTANDING THE TAIWANESE HIGHBALL

Sure, you can look at it as simply a mix of whisky and soda — a 1:4 ratio, stirred slowly so as to not let the gas escape the soda water, preferably into a chilled glass that helps reduce the rate of dilution —  but the story of the highball goes much deeper than that. It can shapeshift, depending on where you are and what sort of establishment you’re in. It walks the line between high cocktail art and everyday drinking. It can stand on its own as a cocktail or it can be used as a replacement for beer.

Think about it, outside of soda water, which contributes to the drinkability (and length of a whisky), would you really want to mask the flavor of a great whisky with lemon?

In Taiwan, everything from the quality of the ice to the glassware to the type of whisky is thought through. These highballs are usually priced between $6 and $9 and are meant to be as much of an experience as a five-ingredient cocktail would be. In terms of garnish on these highballs, opinions vary. Some call for a lemon wedge while others do not. For highballs with nice whisky, you risk losing the flavor of the whisky if you use lemon, but ultimately it is up to you, the drinker.

Arguably the more popular highball is the highball that’s used as a replacement for beer. This highball is the kind you get at a typical informal after-work restaurant and, usually, you don’t get to choose the whisky that goes into it.

This kind of highball is what is driving the highball consumption in Taiwan. I think the way of this growth is similar to what you experienced with cider in the United States.

These highballs are cheaper than the others, ranging from $2.75 to $4.50, roughly. They’re meant more as thirst quenchers than anything and are usually paired with the food you’d be getting at the restaurant.

In Taiwan, we traditionally do not have before or after dinner drinks. Therefore, because drinking is strongly associated with eating, we tend to prefer drinks with a subtler taste at a lower proof. 

What it all comes down to, then, the highball can perform in just about any setting you need it to, making it pretty much the perfect beverage. You just need to make sure you have a couple of types of whisky on hand, so you can choose how much you want to class it up on any given night at home.

HOW TAIWANESE WHISKY BECAME
A GLOBAL FAVORITE

With the increasing popularity of fine whiskies amongst Taiwanese drinkers, this meant it was only a matter of time before the country became a serious player in the world of whisky production. Taiwan is one of the world's largest single malt markets -- tied with France behind the US -- and is thus a very developed and sophisticated market. The Taiwanese brand's most popular varieties are matured in sherry casks, making it particularly appealing for those making the leap from wine to whisky.

The Asian-style whiskies are so popular because they don't have to adhere to any rules or restrictions unlike Scotch, which has very stringent requirements regarding what actually makes the whisky a Scotch. The Asia producers are able to be inspired by single malts while still experimenting. Experimentation can lead to incredible results, and that's why people are interested.

KAVALAN SINGLE MALT WHISKY


In 1959, the company started producing mosquito repellant, moving to Root Beer, then to wine and finally to whisky distilling. "We didn't want our whisky to taste like medicine," explains Lee Yu-Ting, Kavalan CEO. "It's very easy to go down, smooth and sweet like honey."

The early years were admittedly difficult, says Lee, who knew his brand could not compete with whisky aged 12 to 21 years. So instead, they aimed to learn as much as they could and didn't rely just on local ingredients. Though production takes place in Taiwan, the distillers are from Scotland, the pot stills from Germany and the barrels from Europe and America. 

The distillery is south of Taiwan's capital, Taipei. The area's high temperatures averages 33 degrees Celsius, (91 F) in the Summer. The sweltering humidity accelerate the interaction of the liquor with the wood barrels. The maturation process is cut down by a third, from four to six years versus the 15 or 25 years of its Scottish counterparts. While the process is faster, the amount of whisky produced is much less and the "angel's share," or amount evaporated during the process, is much more. Scotch typically loses 2% in evaporation, whereas Kavalan loses 12%.

Kavalan was a dark horse when it first came on the global scene 11 years ago -- until the Taiwanese whisky beat three Scotches and one English brand at a blind tasting held on Scotland's famed Burns Night in 2010. "They said it was impossible," recalls Lee.

Kavalan hopes to produce 9 million liters this year, making it one of the largest single malt whisky distilleries in the world, comparable in size to the oldest official Scottish distillery, Glenlivet.

Produced in the countryside of Taiwan and now available in 60 countries, Kavalan has since won more than 220 awards. Today there are 18 different varieties of Kavalan -- from sweet to dry. At the sprawling Napa Valley-like distillery, there's a tasting bar along with a DIY blending station, where one can play mad scientist with test tubes and blend a bottle to taste.

Kavalan hosts a free daily distillery tour. For more information, visit www.kavalanwhisky.com.

 

Kavalan Concertmaster - Port Finish $55
A half-litre bottle of port-finished whisky from Taiwan's Kavalan, marrying their fruity young whisky with extra maturation in casks to create a balance of rich and fresh flavours.

Kavalan Classic Single Malt - $100

The flagship single malt from Taiwan's Kavalan. Only operating since 2005 they have wowed the world with their young but full flavoured whisky, concentrating on their signature flavours of tropical fruit.

Kavalan Bourbon Oak  - $93

Kavalan's Solist Bourbon releases are known for being big, bold and rich. The Bourbon Oak is selected from the same parcels of casks, but diluted with Kavalan spring water to 46%. It's still rich in flavour with notes of vanilla, coconut and tropical fruit.

 

Nantou Winery and Omar Whisky Distillery


Nantou Winery makes Omar Single Malt Whisky in Nantou, Taiwan. It is a combined facility in which they make whisky and wine. The history of Nantou Winery started in 1978 where the winery focuses on making wine, blended whisky Scotch and Taiwanese Brandy. They did not have single malt Whisky at all. The winery was owned by the government of Taiwan and operated as a public company. 

In 2007 the Omar Single Malt was born. The reason was a humanitarian one – in 2007, the farmers in Taiwan experienced a massive harvest in barley which they had nowhere to sell. In those days, Taiwan was facing exportation issues, and the farmers found it difficult to sell their harvest overseas. In an attempt to help the farmers, the government started Omar Single Malt as a brand and bought up all the barley from the farmers. At the same time, the government also started buying equipment for single malt Whisky distillation. One of the newly-hired distillers was also sent to Scotland to learn the art of distillation necessary for Taiwanese single malt Whisky.

By 2008, the distillery started distilling new-make Whisky for the Omar brand. The graduated distiller who went to Scotland came back to Taiwan and taught his fellow distillers the art of making Whisky. The distillers placed the new-make into both sherry and bourbon casks of varying shapes and sizes.

Due to the climate of Taiwan, Omar has a high angel share of 6-7% during the maturation period. The typical maturation period is 4 to 5 years. Omar strictly complied to the Scottish rules of a minimum three years before the liquid becomes Whisky. While the Whisky did not mature in the barrels for very long, the higher temperature encourages the liquid to interact with the oak in higher intensity, making the liquid age faster. As a rule of thumb, the distillery counts a year in Taiwan as equivalent to 3 years in Scotland where the temperature is consistently lower.

In 2013, two cask strength Whiskies matured in a bourbon barrel and a sherry cask respectively were born. Both Whiskies received high acclaim from the local market. Omar Distillery entered these whiskies for competition the following year, and both of them did well in those contests. They received gold and silver in ISC and two silvers in IWSC in 2014 amongst others.

In 2015 and 2016, Omar received more awards. Most of them are from the Malt Manics Association (MMA) where Omar won the Best Sherried Whisky and Best Bourbon Natural Casks Whisky for both years. MMA  also named Omar dDstillery as the Supreme Winner in 2015 and 2016.

Omar Single Malt - $95
A rich and sherried Taiwanese whisky from the tiny Nantou distillery. A very small producer who can only distil for a few months a year due to high temperatures, its spirit is robust enough to handle both the heat and an active sherry cask. The result is a juicy whisky that balances dried fruit, fresh fruit and spice.

Omar Sherry Single Malt - $118

Omar single malt was launched in 2015. This is the bottling aged in a sherry cask, resulting in a full-bodied and intense whisky with notes of caramel, toast, dried fruit and a hint of smoke.

HOW DIFFERENT IS TAIWANESE SAKE TO JAPANESE SAKE?

Tucked away just south of Wufeng town center, this award winning sake distillery offers the chance to sample some of the best Sake outside of Japan. While it doesn’t offer a tour of the factory itself, the showroom itself feels like a mini museum.  A large back wall outlines the sake production process and the staff are happy to explain many of the 1950s distillery machinery that dot the showroom’s interior.  

The Wufeng Farmers Association uses the Tainung No.71 variety of rice, popularly known as Yichuan Fragrant Rice. The Wufeng Farmers Association began to teach local farmers to grow Tainung No.71 rice in 2002. Wufeng is famous for its fragrant rice which has allowed it to produce some of the best sake in Taiwan. 

The sake produced by the Farmers Association in Wufeng, Taichung County, is not only exclusive to all of Taiwan, but is the only Taiwanese sake which corresponds to Japanese quality standards. The Wufeng Sake Brewery is the only brewery which produces the original sake in the tradition of the Japanese folk art.

The production process of sake consists of up to 14 steps. The original rice is milled and polished, steamed and sprinkled with koji mold spores, which break the starch in the rice into sugars to be fermented by yeast cells. The product is left inside a vat to ferment for six months, and then finally poured into bottles.

Yushan Bourbon Single Malt - $87

A tribute to the highest mountain in Taiwan, Yushan Signature is a single malt whisky from Nantou distillery that has been matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks. The palate is delicate and sweet, with notes of creamy vanilla and white flowers.

FELLOWSHIP NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Charter member Mark Anderson from Rotary Club of Beecroft, Australia reported that his club recently hosted a Whisky Degustation. The idea was to pair food with different Whiskies. We choose the Glenlivet® and the brand ambassador for Australia and New Zealand, joined to walk us through each of the expressions. The evening was a black tie event held at a lavish venue, with a five course meal and five different expressions of the Glenlivet paired with the food. We charged $150 per head and the distillery donated a number of bottles for a fundraising raffle. We had 50 guests for our first event and raised $5,000 for The Rotary Foundation and other Club projects.

The menu included Cured Ora King Salmon / smoked herring roe and Twice cooked Muscovy duck Maryland / pink peppercorn crusted breast / maple parsnips / charred spring onion / burnt orange reduction and other selections.

We have now decided that due to the success of the event that we plan to hold the same event 2-4 times per year. The great thing about single Malt Scotch Whisky is the depth of expressions within a brand and we are blessed her in Australia that many brands have brand ambassadors.

Note: The Rotary Club of Beecroft just held an event on March 12th with the pairing from Aberlour Whisky. Keep an eye out for the next event on the club website https://rotarybeecroft.org.au or contact Mark Anderson at 0408 622 698 for further information.

STARTING A CHAPTER


As interest in the Whiskey DRAM Fellowship grows, members have contacted us about starting their own Chapter.  We hope you find this information to be helpful. And, as always, feel free to email the Fellowship with any questions.
 
The Whiskey DRAM Fellowship, sanctioned by Rotary International, is the governing body over all Chapters. Anyone that wishes to join a Chapter must first join the Fellowship and submit dues as follows: $35 Annually, $100 for a Lifetime Member, $125 for a Lifetime Member plus Spouse/Partner.
This entitles the member of the Fellowship to a Whiskey DRAM lapel pin, the quarterly newsletter, invitations to events and socials, opportunities to net(work) at the Whiskey DRAM House of Fellowship at the annual Rotary International Convention, an invitation to our Board Meeting, and an invitation to off-site events/socials held in conjunction with the Rotary International Convention.

Below is the list of suggestions and to-do's to successfully start a Chapter:
1. Notify the Whiskey DRAM President of your intentions.

2. Decide on an appropriate name for the local Chapter, typically covering one Rotary District.

3. Contact all the known Whiskey DRAM members in your designated area. This list can be obtained from the Whiskey DRAM Secretary - Jaime Moore can be reached at jaime_moore@bellsouth.net.

4. Hold a whiskey event, perhaps a tasting or dinner paired with whiskies. (It has been our experience that there are many restaurants willing to help you with such an endeavor.) Invite all the Whiskey DRAM members and every whiskey loving Rotarian you can contact from all the Clubs in your area to attend. Have an interesting format or program that will appeal to most of the attendees. Have fun with this!

5. Ask all the attendees to become members of the Whiskey DRAM Fellowship and at the same time, the local Chapter. Local Chapters can charge their own dues but from polling other Rotary Fellowships, Chapters typically do not assess an additional fee. However, any event held by the local Chapter are paid by the attendees directly to the Chapter. NOTE: All local Chapter members must be Whiskey DRAM members.

6. Encourage prospective members to become a Lifetime Member ($100 USD) or Lifetime Member plus spouse/partner ($125 USD). As a Lifetime Member, there is no annual billing, which means less administrative work and more commitment from the new member.

7. Plan at least four whiskey events during the Rotary year and promote the event to ensure good attendance and to sign up more members. Local events can be publicized in the Whiskey DRAM newsletter and on the Whiskey DRAM website. Use our Facebook Page to advertise your event; we encourage postings and photographs! You should also advertise in your District's newsletter and calendar of events. Send before and after event information to Terry Moore at tr_moore@bellsouth.net.

8. Arrange to have one or more whiskey event fund raisers so you can do a Rotary service project.

9. Name a charity of choice. Consider donating your Chapter's excess funds at the end of the fiscal year to a Rotary cause. For example, Whiskey DRAM's charity of choice is Rotary International sanctioned clean water initiatives.

10. Have a booth at all Club and District functions advertising Whiskey DRAM and your local Chapter.

11. Inform your District Fellowships Chairperson about Whiskey DRAM and your local Chapter members and ask for help in promoting the Fellowship.

12. Inform the District Governor about Whiskey DRAM and your local Chapter and ask for his/her help in promoting the Fellowship.Suggest offering a whiskey reception at the District Conference hosted by the local Whiskey DRAM Chapter.

13. When you have a decent number of members in your Chapter, hold an election of officers, elect a Board of Directors and adopt a set of By-Laws patterned after the Rotary Fellowship Standard By-Laws (recommended). The Whiskey DRAM By-Laws are on our website and are an excellent guideline.

14. Include a provision in your By-Laws to indemnify (hold harmless) the Whiskey DRAM Fellowship (Drinking Rotarians And Members) and Rotary International for the actions of the Chapter. Do a risk analysis of your Chapter's liability and obtain event insurance coverage, etc. as needed.

15. If you plan to collect money to fund your Chapter's activities (socials/events), you will need to set up a bank account once you have procured the proper tax identification number (if necessary). It is recommended that two Board Members be listed on the bank account.

16. Encourage your members to attend the Rotary International Conventions and participate in Whiskey DRAM activities and events.
 

SHARE YOUR WHISKEY ADVENTURES WITH US

This is YOUR newsletter!  The COCKTAIL TIME, WHAT ARE WE SIPPIN' and RECIPE sections are included for you to share your whiskey adventures.  Members are encouraged to contribute to the newsletter by sending us tasting notes, mixology, food pairings, fellowship photos, as well as recipes using selected whiskeys.  Please send these to jaime_moore@bellsouth.net.

Terry and Jaime Moore

HOW TO REACH US:
Rotary Whiskey DRAM Fellowship
c/o Terry Moore
230 Marion Avenue
Summerville, SC 29483
USA
 
Website:  www.whiskeydram.org
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/WhiskeyDrinkingRotariansAndMembers/
Twitter: @WhiskeyDRAM
Email:  RotaryWhiskeyFellowship@gmail.com
 
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