It's been a very busy few months in the distillery! It's been exciting, cramped, and full of hard work and new experiences.
Explorer Series Bourbon
We recently released our first ever Explorer Series spirit - American Bourbon, finished in a NZ Pinot Noir barrel. It's been amazing. This has been the first time we've had a whisky for release and it's been a lot of other first: 1st time emptying a full barrel; 1st time bottling in our new 500ml bottles; 1st time being in a retail store etc..
The Bourbon itself turned out great! It's full of flavour and the finishing cask added a lot of character to the whisky. We're in the long stretch now of trying to get it out to the public, so tell your friends and share your images @herrickcreek
New Bottles & Labels
If you follow along on social media, you would have seen our new line of bottles. We are now only selling 500ml and 250ml bottled spirits and they come in a uniform shape and label size.
The Moonshines have seen the biggest change from their previous glass bottles to these new ones, but we think they look great! We hope you think so too.
Nine Fathoms Gin
Gin is a tricky product for us - we work really hard to get a perfect profile. We've been working on batch NF2 since August and it's only just about to be finished. Distilling a neutral grain base, then incorporating 9 botanicals is a monumental task for such a small space and limited equipment.
Keep an eye out for the new batch in a couple weeks.
The Bourbon has been really exciting but what's maybe more exciting is our own releases of whisky coming soon. We're working on 3 different versions at the moment as test batches.
1. Triple Grain Whisky - we put down two small barrels of this awesome stuff last year and we think it's reached peak barrel age so it's been pulled. It's mellowing in a tank as we speak, waiting for release. It's incredible fragrant, which we attribute to the malted grains - they are all malted. Corn, wheat, & barley.
2. Single Malt Whisky - This test batch will never be actual "NZ Single Malt Whisky" as it wasn't distilled in a full copper still (read on for news!). However, we tried a mash bill that we believe in and racked it in a used small barrel, from the triple grain whisky batch. We hope to leave it in the barrel for at least 2 years and take samples and see if we've chosen the right blend of barley.
3. Blue Corn Whisky - Blue. Corn. How great is that? It's impossible to find this corn in mashable quantities in NZ so we grew our own paddock of it with the help of Watts Contracting, just North of the Waimak. This will be a limited release and a test batch and will be racked into a used triple grain whisky barrel as well.
Lots happening with whisky. We are also mashing more triple grain whisky soon and filling a couple more small barrels for more testing.
Like I mentioned, we've been growing Blue Hopi corn over the summer and we're in the middle of harvesting and drying now. We won't be planting this again next year though, as we also planted select Bloody Butcher corn plants (red corn) to propagate seed. I'm really excited that we have enough to plant potentially 3x as much as we did this year with the blue corn.
Why are we doing this? We think heritage varieties deserve a chance in NZ and that they will make a very unique whisky. Only time will tell!
If all this wasn't enough, we have a new 100% copper pot still in production. It's about 4x the size of our current test still and will allow us to fulfil the requirement for NZ Single Malt Whisky production. We also hope it will improve our production capability and spirit quality.
Keep an eye on social media for updates on that.