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) through the use of 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 international whisky trade, Matt Johns, along with his spouse Celine, wished to create among the world’s best single malts utilizing solely New Zealand substances 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 improvement 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 no less than 72 hours after which double distill extremely slowly, maximizing copper contact by means 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 moderately 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 pink wine casks till its 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 trade flourished till the 1870s when draconian authorities rules made it exhausting 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 Eighties. Its flagship single malt “Lammerlaw” (named after a close-by mountain vary), was extremely regarded. However in 1997, Seagrams offered 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 embody The Otago 20-year-old, a uncommon collectible just like the discontinued Milford’s and Preston’s. Different rarities embody 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 means 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 pink wine. The opposite is American white oak used solely for whisky (most likely 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.
“Simply Hatched” Single Malt is one other well-received New Zealand whisky. Began in 2011 by Desiree Reid with mentorship from the previous head of distilling at Maker’s Mark, Dave Pickerel, and water drawn from Alvin’s properly dug by her father, the primary spirits had been produced in 2015. The family-owned and operated, grain-to-glass craft Cardrona distillery Cardrona makes all its spirits on-site. Its whiskies embody Rising Wings Solera Sherry & Bourbon and Central Otago Pinot Noir.