New Zealand Whisky
Born out of creativity and a love of single malt whisky
When you think of exceptional whiskies and their origins, New Zealand might not leap to the forefront of your mind. Other renowned places like Ireland, Scotland, and perhaps the United States often take center stage. Yet, beneath the surface, New Zealand's whisky history unveils a remarkable and thriving culture that once flourished.Read about NZ whisky history
Mat Thomson - Founder, Maker, Distiller
"We figured if it didn’t sell, we’d drink it ourselves"
- Mat Thomson, Thomson Whisky
Some of our favourite NZ whiskies
Many New Zealand distilleries focus on small-batch, handcrafted production methods, emphasising quality over quantity. Some experiment with unique cask types and maturation techniques, contributing to the diversity of their whisky offerings.
Click each bottle to explore more.
Thomson Whisky Manuka Smoke Single Malt
Pokeno Whisky Origin
Cardrona Full Flight Single malt
Waiheke Whisky DYAD Chardonnay
Thomson Whisky started as a side project in Auckland in 2009. It began as an independent bottler, carefully selecting old-stock New Zealand whisky from the Willowbank Distillery, Dunedin. The aim was to bring out some beautiful old liquid, bottle whiskies that New Zealanders could be proud of, and to share their whisky journey with anyone who liked the good spirit.
Today, Thomson Whisky create premium craft whiskies and gins, using traditional methods for contemporary ends. With two hand-beaten copper pot stills and two gin stills in operation, their distillery hums with all natural ingredients, elbow grease and the centuries old process of spirits distillation. It’s about a passion for the spirit, people and climate, and a total respect for the process.
Thomson Whiskies are made using just three ingredients: water, yeast and malted barley. They’re aged in a range of casks, including ex-bourbon barrels, New Zealand wine casks and some miniatures. Their smoke comes from native Manuka wood and South Island Peat. Their gins use fresh botanicals and they're heavy handed on the juniper, resulting in weighty, flavourful spirits.
Thomson Whisky Manuka Smoke Single malt
Made from 100% NZ grown malted barley, smoked using native Manuka wood, and distilled through our copper pot stills.
Natural smoke, cinnamon, clove, Manuka oils.
700ml, 46% ABV
The New Zealand spirit is forged through a unique marriage of culture and climate. It's an intangible phenomenon that produces tangible greatness and enables Kiwis to fearlessly punch above their weight on a global stage. And it's this spirit that inspires us to experiment with flavour to create world-class- but distinctively different - single malts.
There is no compromise in anything we do, and I would like to thank you for joining us on this journey of discovery, not just of our whisky, but of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Pokeno Whisky origin
Pokeno Origin celebrates our unique place in the world. Produced from the finest local barley, and unrushed through fermentation and distillation to enhance body and flavour, we mature it only in first fill bourbon casks.
It is an incredibly sweet and round whisky, with beautiful citrus, honey, grapefruit and creamy toffee notes, giving way to a complex and lingering finish.
700ml, 43% ABV
The family-owned artisan Cardrona Single Malt Distillery sits high in the Cardrona Valley between Wanaka and Queenstown. The driving force behind the enterprise is Desiree Whitaker: 'Our spirits are made from scratch by traditional handcrafted methods, using only three ingredients: malted Scottish two-row barley, pure alpine water and yeast. The whisky distillation is conducted in a large, hand-beaten copper pot crafted by renowned Scottish whisky family, the Forsyths. Following the various stages of production and distillation, the whisky will be aged in oak casks for ten years.'
The Cardrona Single Malt Whisky, award winning progress reports of our natural, cask strength celebration of five years in oak. Includes Growing Wings Solera, a marriage of select ex-Oloroso Sherry butts and ex-bourbon barrels brought together. Single cask releases are limited throughout the year.
Full Flight Solera
Full Flight is the final expression of The Cardrona Single Malt Whisky coming of age. Aged for seven years in a marriage of specially selected ex-Oloroso Sherry butts and ex-Bourbon barrels, Full Flight is decadently rich and delivered at natural cask strength.
Dark fruits on the nose, and sticky treacle in the mouth. Opens with water.
375ml, 62.8% ABV
50 ml Thomson Whisky South Island Peat Single Malt
10 ml Creme de Peche
150 ml East Imperial Dry Ginger Ale
Garnish: Mango Slice
Add all ingredients to a highball glass, pack with quality ice and garnish with a thin slice of fresh mango.
Waiheke Whisky began as a dream long before The Waiheke Island Distillery was officially established in 2010. Founders Mark and Ro Izzard together with friends set out to make a distinctly New Zealand Single Malt Whisky, using New Zealand grown barley, New Zealand peat and some good old fashioned Kiwi ingenuity. Years prior Mark and friend Richard Evatt, started out making alcohol with sugar wash from honey frames (Richard is a bee keeper). This progressed to making small volumes of wash using NZ grain and then to distilling. Tony Denny, with great experience in malting, brewing and wort production helped the team learn how to mash properly and get some consistent processes in place.
Through a partnership with Canterbury-based Gladfield malt, Waiheke Whisky has pushed the limits of heavily peated malt in New Zealand, using peat from Tussock Creek in Southland. Both American and European oak cask are used for maturing the spirit on the island, which come from distilleries and wineries both overseas and close to home.
Predominantly aged in ex-Bourbon, this whisky has been finished for 2 years in an ex-Mudbrick French Oak Chardonnay barrel. The barrel was a wet fill; meaning the Chardonnay wine is removed and the whisky is introduced almost immediately to prevent contamination.
Nose: Melting butter, oak, sherbet lemons, honey. Palate: sweet miso, lemon and butter. Finish: toasted hazelnuts, bready malt and our trademark salinity.
700ml, 46% ABV
50 ml Thomson Whisky Rye & Barley
10 ml Liquid Honey
Dash of Lemon Juice
Top with East Imperial Yuzu Tonic Water
Garnish: Lemon & Mint
Add whiskey, honey and citrus to a shaker tin. Pack with ice and shake hard for 7-10 seconds. Fine strain into a highball glass and top with East Imperial Yuzu Tonic Water. Garnish with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.
The New Zealand Whisky Collective
In 1997 the last whisky distillery in New Zealand was closed down and the hundreds of barrels of Cask Strength whisky was auctioned off or mothballed.
In 2010, we bought the last 80,000 litres in 443 barrels from what had previously been stored in an old airplane hangar. The whisky now resides in the towering seaside bonds store in Oamaru. These are exceptionally rare drams from what was once the world’s southern-most distillery.We wanted to see the Whisky industry flourish around the country again and our goal has always been to re-start distilling in Dunedin.
That dream has finally come true, with our very own distillery, which was installed at Speight’s Brewery in Dunedin. Our new distillery has been producing beautiful new-make spirit since February 2021.
New Zealand whisky evangelists and winemakers Warren and Deb Preston identified Oamaru’s historic Harbour Precinct as an ideal seaside climate for whisky maturation. Next, they did something profound. They decanted over 200 barrels of Dunedin distilled single grain whisky out of American bourbon barrels and into French oak NZ wine barrels. The Dunedin DoubleWood was born.
Super intense. Balsamic, prunes and sour cherries. The palate is as big, if not bigger than the nose. Raspberry jam, strawberries, dark chocolate. Lots of spices and a tad dry.
500ml, 55.88% ABV
50 ml Premium Whisky
150 ml East Imperial Dry Ginger Ale
Garnish: Brambles (Blackberries)
Fill glass with quality ice, whisky and top with East Imperial Dry Ginger Ale. Gently stir and then garnish with 3 brambles.
50 ml Premium Whisky
150 ml East Imperial Soda Water
Garnish: Lemon Coin
Fill glass with quality ice, whisky and top with East Imperial Soda Water. Gently stir and then garnish with a small lemon coin.
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