NZ Joins the Greats of World Whisky – New Zealand Whisky News

25yoNZ Whisky

NZ Joins the Greats of World Whisky

Oamaru, New Zealand– Oct 7, 2014 – New Zealand has become the first nation outside Japan and Europe to mature and release a 25 year old Single Malt whisky. Following extensive barrel selection, the company has released a limited quantity of just 484 bottles onto the market.

“We are so grateful for the international support of the world’s whisky community over the last four years, which has given us the confidence to launch our 25 year old,” says company CEO Greg Ramsay. “We are already humbled by the pre-orders and glowing feedback of those who have taken their first sips.”

The 25 year old, made from 100 per cent malted New Zealand barley distilled in the lost Dunedin distillery, has been aging in American Oak, ex-bourbon barrels from Four Roses Distillery  for a quarter of a century. The rich flavours have softened and sweetened into a complex array of tropical fruits, butterscotch, toasted orange peel and a hit of sea spray.

The 25 year old is a salute to the craftsmanship of those early distillers, including Cyril Yates who played a hand in this newly released drop. “It’s got to be made properly all the way through from the farmer growing barley to the cooper sealing up the staves, and then it does the magical maturation in the barrel before coming out as liquid gold,” explains Yates who dedicated 40 years of his life to the New Zealand whisky industry.

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 in 1997 as part of a global rationalization” explains Kay Hansen, who in her four years working in the Oamaru Cellar Door and Bondstore, has been identified as having a rare talent for combining barrels for the batch production.

“Kay’s palate is no-nonsense; she doesn’t get all tied up in disappearing cinnamon, or a bounce of Marzipan. She combines barrels that complement each other with layers of sweetness, spices, a creamy mouth-feel and a moreish aftertaste,” comments Greg Ramsay. “I think Kay might be the first lady in the history of the world of whisky, entrusted in delivering a 25 year old Single Malt.”

Kay continues, “my barrel selection all goes back to what I enjoy seeing in visitors at our Cellar Door, often first-timers or ‘whisky virgins’ as I call them, and the look of total satisfaction as they discover the variety of flavours that only Single Malt provides. So I want to put together whiskies that are broad and open up with water, but without any particular flavour that is too dominant or in your face.”

Following an international design competition, the packaging for the 25 year old emerged. Greg Walko and Petra Kosik, hailing from a small Hungarian design studio took honours, trumping a strong international field. With its contemporary styling, the packaging brings a quarter-of-a-century-old drop into the modern day.

In London last year, the New Zealand Whisky Collection’s DoubleWood won the category for Best Australasian Blend, while the South Island Single Malt was awarded the DoubleGold at the San Francisco Spirits Competition.

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. The 25 year old is now available for pre-order at

More information about the New Zealand Whisky Company is available at

Serge & Charlie

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