South Island Single Malt 21 Year
New Zealand Whisky Collection // South Island, New Zealand
Willowbank Distillery in Dunedin, which is now mothballed, is the flagship whisky in the New Zealand Whisky Collection. Willowbank, which opened in 1974 by the Baker family, was sold to the alcohol producer Seagram’s in the 80's who began to market the whisky as Lammerlaw, named after the famous mountain range of Central Otago. It was sold once again to Fosters in 1997, but the beer company saw no use for whisky and sent the stills to Fiji for rum production. The remaining casks remained stored, maturing in their American ex-bourbon casks until the New Zealand Whisky Company saw fit to purchase them, and reignite the whisky of New Zealand. They have released several bottlings of different ages, and in some cases, different cask finishes. This single malt, however, was left in those American oak ex-bourbon cask for 21 years.
Single MaltDistilled in pot stills from 100% malted barley, produced at one distillery, aged in barrels; if Scotch or Irish, must be aged for at least three years.
Cask TypeAmerican oak ex-bourbon
"The nose begins with soft vanilla travelling across a mild campfire smoke. This is quickly overtaken, however, by the prevalent new wood tones that also override the small flowers searching for the sunlight. The single malt is more astringent than its younger counterparts and some hay arrives at the end in an attempt to cover the now hard, wooden floors. On the tongue it tastes very tart and sour with some of the floral notes found on the nose coming through. Next, intense youthful berries make an appearance, but are trumped again by the wood flavors. The finish is slow and puckering, with small rays of vanilla fighting to breakthrough, but it cannot overtake the young fruit and overbearing wood which dominate this whisky. "