We’ve suggested that the next big player in the whisky world would be China, and that prediction is one step closer to becoming true this week. Drinks giant Pernod Ricard (Absolut, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet) just announced the introduction of The Chuan Pure Malt Whisky, a new release distilled and bottled at Pernod Ricard China’s whisky distiller in Emeishan, Sichuan Province. (UPDATE 12/15: Global Drinks Intel has noted that some of the liquid in the bottles includes whisky, of an undetermined age, which hails from Scotland.)
“The inauguration of The Chuan Distillery is the culmination of a pioneering adventure,” said Alexandre Ricard, Chairman and CEO of Pernod Ricard. “We have blended the natural beauty of the Emeishan landscape in China with the skill and craftsmanship of our distillers to produce a whisky to be proud of. It will shape a new and unique experience for whisky enthusiasts for many years to come.”
Why the Next Big Player in Whisky Might Be ChinaIn the largest spirits market in the world, locally crafted whisky marks a new trend
The Chuan was crafted near Emei Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site with widely varying weather (ideal for whisky maturation). The whisky utilizes both European and Chinese barley and is aged in three types of oak from three continents: bourbon casks from America, sherry casks from Spain and proprietary 单岭 Chinese Single Oak casks, which reportedly “imbue The Chuan whisky with a long finish of sandalwood and mandarin peel on the palate.” The timber for these casks is logged from northeast China’s Changbai Mountain.
Bottles start at around $124, and there will be a PX Sherry finished version and a “bottle your own” version available for a bit more, according to Just Drinks. Pernod Ricard also announced the opening of The Chuan Malt Whisky Distillery Experience Centre on the grounds of the Emeishan distillery.
Will whisky be a thing in China? While the spirit has seen double-digit growth in the country, baijiu still accounts for about 98% of spirit consumption. The Chuan isn’t the first whisky from China, and so far it might not even be one you can try on this side of the world. However, new releases from the Hunan distillery Goalong are trickling into the U.S. market as of earlier this year.
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