A bottle of whisky on a table next to banana breadA bottle of whisky on a table next to banana bread

Aotearoa New Zealand Whisky: What You Need To Know About This Emerging Region

February 23, 2023
 / 3 mins

Lorde, Mānuka honey, Whittaker’s, Split Enz, Flight of the Conchords…soon you can add whisky to the list of famous Kiwi exports. You heard it here first, folks. The land of the long white cloud is on the brink of a craft whisky movement. There’re fewer than 20 active Aotearoa New Zealand whisky distilleries and many more in the works. It’s safe to say Aotearoa New Zealand’s whisky scene is on the same trajectory as the Aussie craft whisky boom all those years ago.

Aotearoa New Zealand's whisky industry 
Scottish settlers introduced whisky distilling in the 1800s. But alas, the industry suffered from anti-competitive practices coming from the UK in the 1870s. And by the time bureaucratic paperwork was done, only a few distilleries were left operating. The last distillery standing, Willowbank, turned off its still in 1997.  
But in the last five years, we’ve seen New Zealand’s whisky industry make a comeback. And they take their whisky very seriously. 
In February 2021, New Zealand created a governing body (like those in Scotland and the US) which regulates the country’s whisky production through clear guidelines and strict requirements.

Australia V Aotearoa New Zealand's whisky industry  
Let’s compare Aotearoa New Zealand’s industry to the Australian industry 10-15 years ago. The Aussie craft whisky scene was still a very young industry all those years ago and there were only a handful of distilleries with mature whisky. Flashforward, and there’s now 400+ distilleries in Australia. Many of these are releasing whisky or laying down barrels for future releases. 
Back then, you could pick up a bottle of Lark, Sullivans Cove, Overeem or Bakery Hill for just over $100. If you tried to find one of those early releases now, you’d be paying at least five times that price in some cases (and counting) on the secondary market. Just imagine if you got your hands on one of those early Aussie releases. Back then, few people were willing to bet on these icons of Australian whisky. 
Over the last few years, we’ve seen the explosion of new whisky regions across the globe in places like India, Taiwan and the US. And whiskies from these places are taking out the top gongs at the major international awards.  
It’s only a matter of time before Aotearoa New Zealand’s whisky bursts onto the international scene. And Whisky Club Members get to be a part of the launch of this new whisky region.    

Why’s Pōkeno the pick of the bunch?  
Once you taste the distillery’s super clean spirit with abundant tropical fruit, sweet malt, and bright citrus notes, you’ll know why. Our Whisky Specialist Jonnie Edwards reckons it reminds him of classic Speyside whisky if it was made in Australia — think extra oiliness, rich tropical fruit and sweet citrus vanilla notes.  
Pōkeno whisky has created a beautifully clean spirit that is abundant with fresh tropical fruits, rich malt and sweet citrus. It’ll remind you of a combination of both a classic Speyside release coupled with the rich oiliness of a craft Australian single malt. The Whisky Club Edition Pōkeno has been extra matured in fresh American oak casks to bring through an elevated vanilla sweetness that really balances the tropical fruits, the delicate citrus and butterscotch notes. Bottled at 46% with zero chill filtration and zero colour added, this whisky is the first breath of a new region just about to spread its wings.  
Pōkeno founder Matt Johns is on a mission to put Aotearoa New Zealand on the map as a whisky producing nation creating some of the world’s greatest single malts.  
We can’t wait to see New Zealand take on the whisky world. If you want to be a part of New Zealand’s debut into the whiskysphere, join the Club free now to get your hands on a bottle of Pōkeno The Whisky Club Edition  

A bottle of whisky on a table with banana bread next to itA bottle of whisky on a table with banana bread next to it

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