New Zealand will be hoping for a clean sweep over the UK in an Autumn International Test Match series with a difference that concludes in London on Monday.
Fresh from stunning triumphs over Scotland and Wales, the New Zealand Whisky Company is taking on St George’s distillery in the final of three Whisky Test Matches.
The series coincides with the All Blacks tour of Europe. While New Zealand is famed for its rugby side, it has been far less known for its whisky – until now.
“Made from some of the purest ingredients on earth, the New Zealand Whisky Company has been picking up awards wherever it goes,” said company spokesman Grey Ramsay.
“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.”
The New Zealand Whisky Company’s whiskies are also extremely rare, as they come from a distillery that is no longer in production – when it closed in 1997, it was the last distillery left in the country. The remaining stock was set aside to mature and sweeten in a South Island seaside village. It is now being released around the world, to such huge acclaim that plans are afoot to start production again.
The inaugural Autumn International Whisky Test Match earlier this month pitted New Zealand’s Dunedin Doublewood, South Island Single Malt and 1990 Cask Strength against some of Scotland’s most famous brands – Johnny Walker Black, Glenfiddich Single Malt and Ardbeg Uigeadaul.
It was a stunning upset as New Zealand emerged the victor with two wins and a tie.
Then last week, New Zealand also triumphed over Wales in a battle with the Penderyn Distillery range at an event hosted by leading UK whisky writer, Dominic Roskrow.
"In the first round Penderyn Madeira finish was narrowly pipped by South Island Single Malt, thanks to the earthy 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," Mr Ramsay said.
"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."
Mr Roskrow is hosting the final clash against England's St George's distillery on Monday at the Broadway Bar and Grill, Fulham. There is no charge for the event but a voluntary donation to Movember will be taken. For more information, contact Dominic Roskrow on firstname.lastname@example.org .