And according to the New Zealand Whisky Company’s spokesman, it it well deserved praise.
“Made from some of the purest ingredients on earth, [our whisky] has been picking up awards wherever it goes,” he says. “It is showing some of the world’s most refined whisky palates that there is so much more to a fine dram than what comes out of traditional strongholds like Scotland and Canada.”
Concluding in London this week, the International Test Match series had its inaugural battle earlier in November with New Zealand’s Dunedin Doublewood, South Island Single Malt and 1990 Cask Strength pitted against some of Scotland’s most famous brands – Johnny Walker Black, Glenfiddich Single Malt and Ardbeg Uigeadaul. In a stunning upset NZ swept the field with two wins and a tie before taking out the Welsh Penderyn Distillery last week in a further upset.
“In the first round Penderyn Madeira finish was narrowly pipped by South Island Single Malt,thanks totheearthy and peaty nature of the South Island whisky. The second round was also very close, with NZ Doublewood, finished in New Zealand red wine casks, perfectly matched against Penderyn port wood finish,” says Ramsey. “New Zealand whisky made it a clean sweep with some breathing space in what was the whisky equivalent of a rugby second row, with two outstanding cask strength whiskies going head to head. Penderyn brought out their biggest hitter with a stunning single cask, cask strength Penderyn matured in port wood and released last year to mark Welsh football team Swansea City’s promotion to the Premiership. But it was seen off by New Zealand’s 1993 cask strength offering, which was chosen as the whisky of the night.”
But in an ironic twist of fate, the winning whiskies come from a now defunct distillery. Closed in 1997, the remaining New Zealand Whisky Company stock was set aside to mature and sweeten in a South Island seaside village. Thankfully, the acclaim has been such that there are plans to revive what was the last functioning distillery in NZ.
The final clash is to be held against England’s St George’s distillery.