We had some great news earlier today that we will soon be stocking some exciting new drams from New Zealand.
Below is a little history on New Zealand whiskies, and also some of the drams that we shall be taking stock of very soon.
The History Of New Zealand Whisky Company
Distilling in New Zealand goes back to the earliest Scottish settlers in 1838, and the distilling industry thrived around New Zealand, and particularly in the Dunedin and surrounding Otago region right through until the 1870s, when government influence saw many close down.
The Willowbank Distillery was opened by the Baker family in 1974 after approaches to the New Zealand government allowed more favourable regulations. The Bakers commenced distilling whiskies and marketed blends including Wilsons and 45 South.
The large Canadian multi-national Seagrams improved the still and processes after purchasing the distillery in the 1980’s, marketing the Single Malts as Lammerlaw, named after a nearby mountain range, the source of the pure water from which the whisky was created.
Production ceased in 1997 as Seagrams rationalised their world wide business and the business was sold to Fosters who mothballed the company in 2000, and sent the silent stills to Fiji to make rum!
The New Zealand whisky company purchased the last 600 barrels of mainly Lammerlaw malt and the whisky has been maturing in the towering seaside bondstore in Oamaru’s famous heritage precinct ever since.
The company has recently released the oldest whisky ever matured in New Zealand, the 24year old ‘1987 Touch Pause Engage’ Cask Strength Single Malt designed to commemorate New Zealand’s greatest sporting triumph.
Cask Strength Single Malts
Hand bottled, straight from the wood at the cellar door in Oamaru. "They form one of the world's largest collections of aged, unique whisky". With no two barrels exactly the same, these always have a pleasant surprise up their sleeve. With abv's anywhere from 49-60%, these single malts will satisfy the inquisitive pallet, and provide that scarce quality of knowing no one will ever enjoy that same whisky again. Available in the following releases:
1988: 23 year old / 53% Vol - “Smooth vanilla tones”
1989: 22 year old / 53% Vol - “Fruity, Vanilla, Smooth.”
1990: 21 year old / 53% Vol - “Vanilla, fruitcake, floral”
1993: 18 year old / 53% Vol - “Sweet honey, burnt wood”
The 1987 / 54% Vol - "Touch Pause Engage"
This superb Single Malt, captures the triumph of a nation. Distilled in 1987 in Dunedin, the spirit has been aging in oak barrels for 24 years, quietly softening and sweetening into the delicate dram it is today.
1987 was a landmark year in New Zealand, as it was the year of the first Rugby World Cup, won by the triumphant All Blacks.
This is bottled at Cask Strength, with ABV’s anywhere from 49-60%
Dunedin Distillery Doublewood / 10 Year Old / 40% Vol
Aged In American-Oak barrels for 6 years and then finished for up to 7 more in French-Oak North Island Wine Barrels, which gives this whisky it’s rich burgundy hue, with distinctive depth of character across the palate.
This is a master blend of 70% Single Malt whisky, and 30% premium grain whisky, bottled at 40% abv
"A beautiful explosion of creamy malt and subtle vanillas up front, building across the palate revealing notes of dried fruit and soft nuts”
“A sweet balanced sense of alcohol leading to a big, warm finish. This Whisky has enjoyed a perfect matching of casks”
“Delicate fruit and floral notes over a delicious hint of toffee and sweet offerings”
Milford 15 Year Old Single Malt / 40% Vol
“Sugar Sweetness; Gentle peat adds lovely depth”
“Rich, clean malt, that superb fizz, accompanying that delicate smoke.”
“Charming, and always busy on the pallet”
The South Island Single Malt / 18 Year Old + 21 Year Old / 40% Vol
The South Island Single Malt will mark the re-birth of Single Malt Whisky for The New Zealand Whisky Company. The new, contemporary label, featuring a 3D like image effect of the ‘Water of Leith’ Distillery, is sure to catch your eye sitting among the standard fair of Scotch whisky labels.
The South Island Single Malt will be a available in an 18 and 21 year old, bottled at 40% abv.