Pōkeno The Whisky Club Edition
March 2023

Pōkeno The Whisky Club Edition

In the works since the distillery's inception comes this incredible first release from Pōkeno, a debut not to be missed from the world’s new whisky hotspot. Tropical fruits, malt biscuits and creamed honey will sweep you off your feet in this exclusive 46% American oak double cask creation.

New Zealand

Colour Golden honey

Nose Sweet citrus & melon, white peach, vanilla bean and white chocolate.

Palate Delicate citrus and banana, malt biscuits, butterscotch and lightly spiced bread and butter pudding with lashings of creamed honey.

Finish Tropical fruits, a slight nuttiness and rich crème brûlée.

Food Match As recommended by Founder Matthew Johns: Grilled crayfish with garlic and black pepper, followed by lemon meringue pie for dessert.


In an outstanding debut, comes this special edition release from Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pōkeno. Planned from the day this glorious New World distillery was built, this bright and harmonious fusion uses more than half of Pōkeno’s first release stock to capture flavours of delicate citrus with fresh tropical fruits, malt biscuits and creamed honey

Similar to the early golden days of Sullivans Cove a decade ago, when few people were willing to bet on these icons of Australian whisky, this is a thoroughly exciting and delicious first release from the distillery that’s going to put Aotearoa New Zealand on the map. 

Surrounded by volcanic mountains and nestled amongst the misty valleys of the Waikato region, Pōkeno was borne from whisky veteran and founder Matt Johns’ passion project of distilling locally in the style of the best Speyside Scotch. And with decades of whisky industry experience, Johns’ vision has triumphed: this family-owned and operated distillery is now the largest single malt distillery in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Pōkeno The Whisky Club Edition is an exclusive 46% ABV American oak double cask creation from heavily toasted ex-Bourbon, white oak barrels.  Non-chill filtered and no colour added, this unadulterated dram showcases their use of locally-sourced purified volcanic spring water and 100% New Zealand barley grown in the South Island.

The last distillery debut by the Club was the Morris Whisky with their sold-out Tokay Barrel which won Double Gold at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and took out the #2 spot for Whisky of the Year. And even more recently, the Club’s Bushmills Burgundy 2012 Cask recently went under the hammer in a European auction for more than $2000AUD in a jaw-dropping display of how coveted and renowned Club-exclusive whiskies are across the world. So trust us when we say you really don’t want to miss out on this debut from Pōkeno – because this is the next big thing in the whisky-sphere. Aotearoa New Zealand is the most requested new region after Japan from your fellow Clubbers, and this is the biggest shipment of whisky to ever leave Kiwi shores.

The best bit? You not only get to nab a debut bottle from a new distillery but a new region, right at the start of its ascension for just $110 - the same price you used to pay for Sullivans Cove back in the day before they won World's Best Single Malt at the World Whiskies Awards in 2014.

If you're not yet a Member of Australia’s biggest whisky community, join the Club free today to make sure you don’t miss out on our upcoming releases.


Price: $110.00

Age: No Age Statement

ABV: 46%

Maturation: First-fill American oak double cask

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Pōkeno Whisky Company's History

Pōkeno Whisky Company is the passion project of Matt and Céline Johns, who founded the distillery in 2017 with a dream of putting Aotearoa New Zealand on the whisky region map and producing some of the world's best single malt. This dream has become reality; it could be said that Aotearoa New Zealand Whisky is becoming the new Tasmanian Whisky.

Originally from the UK, Matt's whisky career kicked off in 1999 and saw him working at a couple of Club-favourite distilleries; Tullibardine and Glenmorangie. He brought his experience to The Land of the Long White Cloud and found the perfect location for the distillery, just south of Auckland on the North Island, in the small town of Pōkeno. As craft distillers, Matt and the Pōkeno crew are able to focus on quality over quantity, on doing things their way, not the easy way.

Set in a warm yet often misty valley, under volcanic hills that are home to the springs from which they (as well as Pure NZ Water, which is right across the road) get their water, Pōkeno is the perfect location for a distillery.

Laureate barley is sourced from three family-owned farms in the South Island's Canterbury region. The fertile soils of these farms produce premium barley, and the Pōkeno team work closely with the farmers to ensure its ongoing quality.

Head Distiller Rohan McGowan doesn't rush anything, taking his time with a long fermentation time of 72 to 80 hours to extract everything he can from the barley, and then double distils it incredibly slowly, maximising copper contact through the process to refine the profile and ensure that only the purest spirit is taken for maturation. 

The result? A front-ended, clean spirit with massive amounts of tropical fruits, and a viscous malty biscuit base.

The distillery itself is state-of-the-art, featuring four 3,000L stainless steel fermenters, a Scottish-made 4,000L wash still and 3,800L spirit still with an upwards-tilted swan neck, to help create a light and fruity whisky. Pōkeno is the largest whisky distillery in Aotearoa New Zealand, but even with its 100,000L per annum capacity only produces around 1/7th of what Starward does or about a week's output from a typical Scottish distillery.

The spirit is laid up in ex-Bourbon casks from Jack Daniels, as well as a variety of Sherry and Aotearoa New Zealand red wine casks. The distillery also has the luxury of an in-house cooperage.

All of this allows Pōkeno to create single malt whisky with exceptional body and flavour; whisky that captures the pure spirit of Aotearoa New Zealand. But they're not keeping it all for themselves; with plans to export some 95% of production to other countries, and we're thrilled to bring it to Australia for the first time.

Pōkeno The Whisky Club Edition Pōkeno The Whisky Club Edition

Distillery Facts

Region: North Island

Origin: 22 Gateway Park Drive, Pōkeno 2402, New Zealand

Founded: 2017

Water Source: Pure spring water from the surrounding volcanic hills

Washbacks: 4, Stainless Steel

Stills: 2 (1 wash, 1 spirit)

Capacity: 100,000 litres per annum

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