Southern Hemisphere whiskies have done it again – with the New Zealand Whisky Collection taking home a swag of medals from a prestigious new whisky competition in the United Kingdom, and Australian craft distilleries also being honoured.
It was announced last night that the New Zealand Whisky Collection won gold, silver and two bronze medals at the Wizards of Whisky World Whisky Awards – an international tasting competition chaired and organised by world whisky expert Dominic Roskrow. Hobart’s Lark Distillery and Sullivans Cove were among Australian distilleries to also receive gongs, with Sullivans Cove named Australasian Distillery of the Year.
The New Zealand success comes hot on the heels of two New Zealand Whisky Collection whiskies being crowned world’s best at the recent Midwest Whisky Olympics in Chicago, United States.
“This is another huge endorsement of the quality of New Zealand Whisky,” said company CEO Greg Ramsay. “We have only just started entering these whiskies in awards, and we are being bowled over by the amazing response they are getting. Sales have gone through the roof.
“The South Island of New Zealand and Tasmania are especially idyllic for crafting and maturing high quality whisky. The contribution Bill Lark from Tasmania is making to re-establishing a vibrant New Zealand whisky industry must be applauded too.”
The New Zealand Whisky Collection comprises 400 barrels of stock from the country’s last distillery, which closed in 1997. They have since been maturing in a towering seaside bondstore in picturesque Oamaru.
The 1993 Cask Strength won Gold in the Wizards of Whisky Australasian category, Silver was awarded to the Dunedin Distillery DoubleWood, and the South Island Single Malt 18 year old and 21 year old both won bronze.
The company’s New Zealand manager, Deb Preston, said: “ International awards will hopefully show New Zealanders that the whiskies they used to know as Wilsons and 45South were always very high quality whiskies, and ater a decade of sitting quietly in the Oamaru bondstore, the softening and sweetening has produced a truly world-class product.”
Wizards of Whisky organiser and renowned whisky expert Dominic Roskrow said there were so many entries that it was one of the strongest Australasian categories judged in international awards. “In the end, only 12 medals were awards, four of them going to New Zealand and one of the Golds went to the New Zealand whisky company.
It’s a major achievement.”
Mr Roskrow said the result could have been even better, as the distinctive tasting Dunedin Doublewood which is available nationally around Australia, split the judges, with three scoring it gold and three bronze. “Exciting new flavoured whiskies do this – but I am sure, in time, as people begin to fully understand the whisky, New Zealand will become a major player on the world whisky stage,” he said.
Cyril Yates, who worked at the former Willowbank distillery for 25 years, said the gold medal for the 1993 Cask Strength was very significant to him, and something all his former work colleagues can be proud of. “In 1993, the Dunedin distillery was really going well, and tourists and locals flocked to our visitor centre to see our production process and taste our range. But then, before we knew it, the stills fell silent and it has taken 20 years for the spotlight to fall on some of the best whisky we ever made,” he said.
For more information about the New Zealand Whisky Collection, or for further imagery go to the media kit at http://www.thenzwhisky.com