In January this year I posted an article about my visit to The New Zealand Whisky Company, including a number of tastings (the article is still one of the most popular articles on this blog). I particularly liked the South Island Single Malt 18 & 21yo.
In London, the New Zealand Whisky Collection’s DoubleWood won the category for Best Australasian Blend, while the South Island Single Malt was voted the best aged Single Malt from Downunder.
At the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in late March, the DoubleWood also gained a gong, picking up a Silver Medal to complement the Double Gold for the South Island Single Malt.
CEO Greg Ramsay:
“Winning one of the few DoubleGold medals on offer saw our South Island Single Malt recognized as one of the world’s great whiskies. We are humbled by our results in such high caliber competitions; it really honors the craftsmanship of the Dunedin distillers, and the commitment to quality by our Oamaru team, and our production partners in Christchurch."
The San Francisco World Spirits competition involves 1,400 spirits, 34 judges performing blind tastings, and has been running for 13 years. International General Manager Troy Trewin:
“This is an enormous result considering our first shipment has just arrived in the USA for the Mid-West market out of Chicago. We’ve now had enquiries from Californian and New York distributors too."
“It really sunk in just how significant the DoubleGold was, when I saw which other distilleries were awarded, and the great whiskies which only gained Gold or Silver behind us. There was the South Island Single Malt, awarded DoubleGold alongside Talisker, Glenmorangie and Bushmills Single Malts, and ahead of the likes of some of Scotland’s favourites like Aberlour and Dalwhinnie.”
The South Island Single Malt will now go on the event’s DoubleGold 14 city roadshow, showcased to buyers, whisky writers and connossieurs from across the beverage industry around the US.
The New Zealand Whisky Company is a success story that signals a revival of the whisky industry in New Zealand. The whisky was once distilled by Seagram’s in Dunedin before the distillery was sold to Fosters in 1997 as part of a global rationalisation. Fosters mothballed the distillery and inexplicably closed it. But fortunately, more than 400 barrels of this whisky remained, and were bought by the New Zealand Whisky Company, set aside to mature and sweeten. Since then, the company has worked hard to revive the century-old industry and the whisky has been met with wide acclaim.
As well as regaining the foothold once held across New Zealand by Wilsons, the whisky is now exported from Oamaru and available across Canada, the UK, Australia and Europe.