NZ Whisky Co 1990, 1991, 15 year old and Water of Leith

NZ Whisky Co is producing some fine whiskies, including the South Island Single Malt 21 Year Old, the 1989 and 1988 bottlings (remember, these latter ones are single cask expressions so different bottles may taste different). The NZ Whisky Co range is vast, including a number of older whiskies which were distilled in New Zealand in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. This means that, with so many expressions, some may pale in comparison to other whiskies in the range. This post will provide tasting notes for the whiskies in the NZ Whisky Co range which we have simply not enjoyed as much as the others (hence the short notes on each whisky!)

NZ Whisky Co Water of Leith: Nose: Custard apple meets crisp cereal notes and honeyed oats as mild powdered vanilla and chocolate in interrupted by the piercing note of nail varnish and the waft of prune and dates. Taste: The whisky is thin on the palate, and breaks down quickly. It is astringent and drying, with hints of wood varnish, sultana and banana chips. Finish: A nagging bitterness lingers with fumes of alcohol and bitter cocoa, some pepper and golden syrup (Score: 75/100)

NZ Whisky Co 1990 23 Year Old: This whisky needs water, because it seems simply too aggressive and alcohol ridden with its high ABV of 60.3%. Nose: Cereal notes mingle with a distinctive farmyard theme, wet fabric, vanilla and harsh notes of varnished wood as watery hot chocolate, paw paw, banana chips and mild coconut partially soothes the harsh waves of character. Taste: Sharp oak cuts the palate, with bitter undertones. Wood all the way! Wood. Wood. Wood. Almost unpleasant, sorry to say. Finish: Bitter and burning, with black tea leaves, wood and alcohol evapourating from the tongue (Score: 69/100)

NZ Whisky Co 1991 22 Year Old 1991: This struck me as being better than the 1990 on both the nose and the palate – more character on the palate and more interesting on the nose with softer and more rounded sugars and vanillas. Nose: Banana chips and bread intermingles with sweet vanilla slice pastry as the smell of candle wax intrudes with dusty carpet, some Brazil nuts and yogurt coated raisins… and then comes the off note. That off note was difficult to identify, but it rekindled memories of a chicken coupe – that smell of sulphur, cracked egg, damp hay, and cereal notes with bird feed. This spoiled an otherwise lovely nose. Taste: Astringent and drying on the palate with wood notes, vanilla and alcohol as sugary dried fruit and chocolate develop. Finish: Drying, with cocoa and spice. There is not a lot to say about the taste of this whisky. (Score: 77/100)

NZ Whisky Co DoubleWood 15 Year Old: This whisky had a very interesting nose, but it was a let down on the palate. Nose: Rich sweet brown sugary caramel wafts up with vanilla pod, honeyed toasted oats, apple pie with caster sugar, cooked apricots, while chocolate coated hazelnuts and mild herbal notes. Beautiful nose. Taste: The whisky thins on the palate, and it becomes slightly astringent with notes of wood vanilla and a dry woody twang. Finish: Herbaceous and soapy, the whisky has an unusual finish that is not necessarily unpleasant but not hugely enjoyable either. (Score: 80/100)

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