Thomson Saison Cask #39 (The Whisky Exchange)

Thomson Saison Cask #39 (The Whisky Exchange)

Apart from a couple of rare Willowbank bottlings, we’re not seeing a lot of New Zealand whisky here in Europe. I have a few Cardrona samples on my desk though, I hope to try them soon. For now we’ll look at Thomson Whisky.

Thomson is a young distillery at the heart of New Zealand’s distilling scene. They are known as experimenters, using techniques from across the drinks-making world to create special spirits.

In this case Mat Thomson drew from his brewing background and used a saison yeast to create the wash for this whisky. On top of this the whisky aged in French oak (Tronçais) previously filled with New Zealand Pinot Noir wine. This single cask bottling is exclusive to The Whisky Exchange.


Thomson Saison (53,4%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, cask #39, 277 btl.)

Nose: very winey. Sour cherries, rhubarb jam, cranberries and citrus top notes. Mint leaves, blackberry leaves and forest fruit tea. Then a rubbery notes comes out, as well as dunnage earth, leathery notes and vegetal oil. Hints of cigar boxes and cinnamon in the background.

Mouth: sweeter than expected. Blackberry syrup, brown sugar, hints of wholegrain bread and more forest fruit jam. Firm tannins too, as well as bay leaf, herbs and caramelized nuts. Then sweet barley and cocoa appears, becoming chocolate pralines, alongside toasted wood. Some savoury notes, drops of rum and more rubber now.

Finish: quite long, with a funny fragrant note (bubblegum?), red apples, wood spice and tannins.

I’m not sure pinosky was the experiment we were waiting for. For me the saddest part is that I couldn’t tell you whether saison yeast is interesting. You simply can’t tell with such an active Pinot cask. Overall I expected (much) more. Exclusively available from The Whisky Exchange.