Intro: Friends of ours dropped by with a gift tasting set of three New Zealand whiskies they had picked up on a vacation there. The distillery is the 'New Zealand Whisky Company'.
According to the blurb on the website.....In 1997 the last New Zealand whisky distillery, Willowbank Distillery - established in 1974 on the South Island of New Zealand by the Baker family- shut down. It was the most southerly distillery in the world, producing highly regarded Milford and Lammerlaw Whiskies.
After it closed down, the stills were sent to Fiji to produce rum and the hundreds of barrels of Cask Strength whisky were auctioned off or mothballed. The remaining stock is now owned by The New Zealand Whisky Company that stores it in a seaside warehouse in Oamaru and gradually releases it.
The flagship whisky release is the Oamaruvian. Aged for six years in American Oak, ex-bourbon, and finished for ten years (!) in French Oak, ex-red wine barrels. Hand selected.
Nose: Wonderful blend of aging fruits, with some nutty aromas. Very alluring..
Palate: Sensational: Wonderfuly smooth and rich on the tongue, with just the right level of dried fruit sweetness on a nutty cereal base. The red wine aging becomes more evident and then some spices and some mild heat kicks in giving a great balance.
Finish: Long and powerful as you would expect from a good port finish, but with the spices (nutmeg) becoming more prominent, before finally fading away.
Overall: If the sample represents what is in the actual bottles, get one.
Rating: A (Your results may be different). The other two samples were a 21 year old bourbon cask, that was very nice. Also a 'Doublewood' of simililar aging history to the Oamaruvian, but was almost sickly sweet, despite being cut with some unmalted barley grain whisky. Perhaps from the casks that were 'hand rejected' for the Oamaruvian. :}