Kiwi whisky is all about discovery and revelation; in case your introduction to New Zealand whiskies is Pōkeno, phonetically talking, Paw Que No.
Pōkeno whisky honors the pure spirit of Aotearoa (New Zealand) by utilizing solely volcanic spring water from the North Island distillery’s surrounding hills and family-farmed South Island barley. With over 25 years of expertise within the world whisky business, Matt Johns, along with his spouse Celine, wished to create a number of the world’s most interesting single malts utilizing solely New Zealand components and put All-Blacks whisky on the map.
At their state-of-the-art distillery at Pōkeno, an hour from Auckland, with head distiller Rohan McGowan they benefit from the freedom to ferment for longer, distill extra slowly, and experiment to extract the utmost physique and taste from the New Zealand barley. McGowan says, “Over the previous couple of years, there’s been a rising appreciation of the function that fermentation and distillation play within the growth of physique and taste earlier than the spirit is barrelled. With our deal with high quality over quantity, we had been capable of ferment for at least 72 hours after which double distill extremely slowly, maximizing copper contact by way of the method to refine our profile after which be sure that solely the purest spirit is taken for maturation.” 80% of Pōkeno single malt is matured in first-fill casks, leaving the barrel to boost somewhat than dominate the flavour profile of every whisky.
PŌKENO ORIGIN is absolutely matured in first-fill bourbon casks. PŌKENO DISCOVERY is a mix of spirits aged in first-fill bourbon, oloroso, and PX sherry casks. PŌKENO REVELATION twins the opposite spirits in fully-aged, first-fill bourbon and New Zealand purple wine casks till their maturity.
Whisky distilling in New Zealand was born with the arrival of Scottish settlers within the 1830s. Many Scots settled within the Otago area, and the business flourished till the 1870s when draconian authorities rules made it onerous for distillers to outlive. In 1974, the Baker household opened the Willowbank Distillery in Dunedin, New Zealand, producing fashionable whiskies, Wilsons, and 45 South. The world’s largest distiller, Seagrams of Canada, purchased Willowbank within the Nineteen Eighties. Its flagship single malt “Lammerlaw” (named after a close-by mountain vary), was extremely regarded. However in 1997, Seagrams bought Willowbank to Australian brewer Fosters. It was mothballed or “shuttered,” as New Zealanders say, in 1997 and its stills had been despatched to Fiji.
In 2008, Greg Ramsey of The New Zealand Whisky Assortment bought 443 barrels of mature-aged leftover inventory from Willowbank (aka Dunedin Distillery). Merchandise now embrace The Otago 20-year-old, a uncommon collectible just like the discontinued Milford’s and Preston’s. Different rarities embrace Dunedin DoubleWood, Dogger & Ditch, and The New Zealand Whisky Assortment 1988 Single Malt.
Thomson Distillery opened in 2014. Its Manuka Smoke “Progress Report” is made out of 100% New Zealand-grown malted barley, smoked over Manuka wooden, and nonetheless distilled by way of a hand-beaten copper pot. Their Two-Tone Launch makes direct reference to the 2 varieties of casks used throughout maturation. One is European oak which previously held New Zealand purple wine. The opposite is American white oak used solely for whisky (in all probability bourbon).
Thomson Whisky’s French Oak & Smoke is a restricted version bottling handcrafted by the distillery. The whisky is smoked with South Island peat after which matured in an area Pinot Noir cask. As with different releases, it makes use of 100% NZ-grown malted barley for the mash.
Based in 2015 by Desiree Reid with mentorship from the previous head of distilling at Maker’s Mark, Dave Pickerel, and the assistance of chief distiller Sarah Elsom, Cardrona relies within the South Alps of New Zealand’s South Island, New Zealand. The family-owned and operated, grain-to-glass distillery makes Rising Wings and Cardona single malt utilizing water sourced from Mount Cardona. | Picture courtesy of The Whisky Trade