New Zealand Whisky - Defined
As of February 2021, the Distilled Spirits of Aotearoa group has agreed on and implemented guidelines for the definition of what New Zealand Whisky and New Zealand Single Malt Whisky can be. As a member of this group, we have decided to accept the definition laid out and change our processes to eventually be compliant with it.
Herrick Creek Whisky
Our brand was founded on providing great and unique whisky for New Zealand, that isn't pretentious or over-priced.
We're focusing on two main styles of whisky: The first is a Bourbon-style spirit using classic Bourbon mash bills and ageing techniques, which includes over 50% corn and ageing in small new American oak barrels. As small barrels like this don't allow us to age for two years without become over-oaked (tannic), we won't be able to call this New Zealand Whisky based on the new definitions. We will be calling it an aged grain spirit, for now.
Our second whisky style will be a New Zealand Single Malt Whisky, using only malted barley from here in Canterbury! This whisky is a mix of three malted barley variations that is copper pot distilled and will be aged for at least two years, as per the new definitions. Our test batches have found this to be a classic Scotch-style spirit with a strong smoke influence that has a classic New Zealand twist.
Finally, occasionally we will be doing Corn Whisky, something that remains undefined here but in America must be at least 80% corn and aged in used oak barrels. To classify this as a New Zealand Corn Whisky, we still need to abide by the ageing rule of at least two years in the barrel, which is our goal. These whiskies will use different corn varieties and be very limited, potentially one-off batches. Keep an eye on social channels for more!
Each year we're working to cultivate, grow, and harvest heritage corn varieties right here in Canterbury.
2020-21 - Blue Hopi Corn
This year we planted about 1400 Blue Hopi Corn plants on the shores of the Waimak and harvest about 500-600 good cobs. Enough to create a small batch of Blue Corn Whisky - the first every in NZ. Look for a 2023 release.
2021-22 - Bloody Butcher Corn
After growing enough plants to cultivate the seed in 20/21 we can now plan upwards of 5000 Bloody Butcher corn plants in the Spring. 2024 release.
2022-23 - tbd
Cultivation in 21/22 for planting in 22/23. 2025 release.
If you want to stay up-to-date, the best way is via our newsletter or Facebook & Instagram. Feel free to send any questions and feedback you have!
Hopefully, we will be able to increase our whisky production capacity in the future and the new rules won't be as much as a hurdle for us smaller guys, but for the moment, we're really glad that New Zealand Whisky has its own definition and looking forward to the future of the industry.
B1 - Corn/Wheat/Barley Malt - Triple Barrel - 3/9/2020
B9 - Single Malt - ex-Corn American Oak - 29/3/2021
B10 - Corn/Wheat/Barley - New American Oak - tbd