What Whisky should I buy in New Zealand? | 2021 NZ Whisky
Buying Whisky in New Zealand can be a bit difficult. There are higher excise taxes than other countries and fewer importers, which means higher prices and smaller selections.
New Zealand Whisky tends to focus primarily on Single Malt styles using only Malted Barley. Most of the barley used comes from Canterbury and many distillers are using either used Bourbon barrlels, or used NZ wine barrels.
The climate in NZ is warmer than Scotland but cooler than the US which means ideal aging times will vary. The industry is still so young that there aren't many expressions above the 4-5 year mark, but it may be that this is an ideal length for NZ whisky, depending on their location in the country.
NZ Whiskies are different to overseas whisky, but their unique flavours like manuka and ashy peat make for incredibly interesting whiskies. Take some time with them, be open to new tastes, and try something from New Zealand!
Each distillery has their own expressions and they may change, so click through and have a read at each one!
Whisky in NZ - Currently Available
- Herrick Creek Bourbon - 2021 Explorer Series - Christchurch
Our Bourbon was imported from the USA and finished in a New Zealand pinot noir Barrel is one of the most unique Bourbons you'll find in NZ. It's a high wheat Bourbon and the barrel finish adds red fruit on the nose and palate. Keep an eye on future NZ-made whisky releases.
50% abv, $75, Free delivery
- Kiwi Spirit's Waitui Whiskey - Golden Bay
Kiwi Spirit Distillery make their own mead and age the mead in oak, then once the barrels are empty, they fill them up with their Single Malt whisky and let them sit for 8 years! Amazing honey flavours and a truly unqiue NZ whisky. They also grow their own agave to make a "tequila-styled" spirit called Tekiwi.
40% abv, $199
- Lammermoor Whisky - Otago
Grown, malted, and distilled all at Lammermoor Station - this is a true seed to glass distillery. Aged in Otago Pinot Noir barrels, this NZ Single Malt has amazing malt and dried fruits notes. Well worth a bottle!
46% abv, $145
- Divergence Whisky - Workshop Spirits - Christchurch
Divergence whisky is a highly awarded whisky made in Christchurch from Canterbury barley. Aged in quarter French oak casks for over 3 years, this is a must try NZ Single Malt whisky.
46% abv, $110-$150
- The New Zealand Whisky Collection - Dunedin
These guys bought most of the remaining stock from the Willowbank Distillery in 2010. They house the oldest whiskies in NZ and offer them in a multititude of expressions. The Oamaruvian and DoubleWood are just a couple amazing offerings of classic NZ whisky. Keep an eye for future releases of their own NZ-made whisky.
- Cardrona Distillery - Otago
Down in the beautiful Cardrona valley, this distillery is making NZ Single Malt Whisky from Scottish barley, on Scottish stills, in the Scottish fashion. Their facility is second to none and their tours are well worth the trip. The whisky is changing each year and currently they've got their 5 year old released. It's an amazingly complex whisky and it's bottled at barrel strength so you can enjoy maximum flavour.
64.6% abv, $150
- 1919 Distilling Kirikiriroa Release - Auckland
The first whisky release from 1919 - it's an expression on NZ grain and NZ wine barrels. A single barrel whisky release, worthy of any glass! keep an eye out for future releases as well.
44% abv, $150
- Thomson Whisky - Auckland
Matt and Rachel Thomson have been working to create amazing NZ Single Malt whiskies for years and have created quite a few iconic NZ whiskies. The Thomson Two Tone is a popular favourite, alongside the very unique South Island Peat and Manuka Smoke whiskies. They also do occasional single barrel releases.
- Batch10 Whisky - Puhoi
Batch10 imports their bourbon from Kentucky and then blends it with NZ Manuka Honey for a sweet and uniquely NZ Bourbon. Their Manuka Smoked Bourbon uses the same Bourbon but they "smoke" the Bourbon using a secret process.
36%-45% abv, $70-$85
- Broken Heart Spiced Whisky - Queenstown
Broken Heart imports a Scottish Single Malt and rests it in their used Spiced Rum casks. An easy drinker with a very unique spiced finish.
40% abv, $90
Future NZ Whisky to keep your eyes on
- Herrick Creek - NZ Corn Whisky - Christchurch
We're working on NZ whisky made from primarily corn, including select releases made from heritage corn varieties, like Blue Hopi and Bloody Butcher. Single Malt whisky is also in the works - all distilled on our 200L copper pot still.
- Auld Distillery - Southland
Seed to glass whisky being made on-farm in Southland. Barrels are being filled!
- Reefton Distilling Co. - Westland
Reefton Distilling is getting set up in their new facility where they will begin making Moonlight Creek NZ whisky soon!
- Waiheke Whisky - Waiheke Island
Single Malt whisky made on Waiheke Island and aged for 10 years! Keep an eye out for their first release soon.
- 1919 Distilled & The New Zealand Whisky Collection