This New Zealand whisky was distilled at the closed Willowbank distillery in Dunedin (also known as Wilson / Milford / Lammerlaw). It was the world’s souternmost distillery until its dismantling in 1997. The stills were sold to a rum company and all remaining casks were bought by the Australian whisky lover Greg Ramsay and his associates.
Although it was bottled in 2017 (like all of the New Zealand Collection expressions, or so it seems) this 1988 single cask has recently been released as a Whisky Exchange exclusive.
New Zealand 29 yo 1988 (55,3%, New Zealand Malt Whisky Co for The Whisky Exchange 2017, cask #47, 206 btl.)
Nose: fruity spirit with lots of floral overtones (iris and subtle whiffs of potpourri) and a backbone of sawdust and oak polish. Tinned peaches, pineapples and bananas, hints of vanilla cake and frangipane. Star anise and cinnamon, a little mint as well. Quite exotic and fragrant.
Mouth: going back and forth between exotic fruits (mango, passion fruit) and punchy oaky notes (grass, cinnamon, gentian). A subtle lactic touch (banana / vanilla yoghurt perhaps). Some chilli heat, ginger and menthol. A slight mineral note too.
Finish: long, tense and woody, with green tea, underlying buttery notes and liquorice.
Interesting whisky, aged in a rather assertive way. Rich and fairly unique, also quite exotic, not unlike some Irish whiskeys but with less finesse. Expensive though – the downside of buying whisky from a lost distillery. Only available from The Whisky Exchange.