New Zealand’s first commercial batch of Manuka smoked whisky was distilled by Thomson Whisky last month, breaking new ground for the global whisky industry.
Believed to be the world’s first Manuka smoked whisky, once released to domestic and export markets, it will further emphasise New Zealand producers are capable of making diverse whisky styles.
The single malt is being made from barley grown in the South Island and kilned using New Zealand Manuka wood. Rarely produced in New Zealand, smoky or peated whiskies normally hail from Scotland, and have cult followings of self-proclaimed ‘peat eaters’. The new Thomson product will impart a smooth natural smokiness reminiscent of peated Scotch, but will be entirely unique to New Zealand with its distinct Manuka notes.
Well known craft brewing supplier Gladfield Malt of Canterbury is working closely with head distiller Mathew Thomson to perfect the brand new Manuka smoked malt for the brewing and distilling markets. Gladfield have designed and engineered a custom smoker to impart the best Manuka and smoke flavours into the finished malt. Responsible for the germination, smoking and kilning of the malt prior to distillation, it is a world first for Gladfield Malt as well.
Mathew Thomson says debuting the Manuka smoked malt has taken collective expertise, extensive testing and trials.
“A very good measure of passion and innovation has gone into this whisky and we’re excited about the possibilities that can result from it.”
As one of only a handful of commercial whisky distilleries in New Zealand, Thomson is proud to be producing an original and world first whisky in our home country.
The distilling took place at Thomson Whisky Distillery, based at Hallertau Brewery in North West Auckland, where the brand is laying down barrels of single malt for maturation using a traditional copper pot still. The craft distillery was launched in April this year to support future demand for the company’s single malt whisky. The brand won Gold and Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2014 for its 21 year old and 18 year old single malt bottlings.
Thomson Manuka smoked whisky will mature in ex-bourbon barrels for three to five years adding to its depth of flavour, and will be available to Thomson Whisky fans once matured.