Established in 1974, the Willowbank Distillery [aka Wilson’s Dunedin Distillery], originally used stainless steel stills before new owners Seagrams replaced them with copper. It was the most southern whisky distillery in the world before being closed [by Fosters] in 1997. The New Zealand Whisky Company acquired the remaining stocks. I believe there are current plans to build another distillery in the South Island.
N: A wide body on the nose that speaks of nutty>sulphury tones with smoked black cardamon pods and macadamia nuts - though the smokiness lifts off over time. The Foz observes its unique character, pointing out that this is clearly neither Scotch nor European in style.
T: More of those distinct smoked black cardamon pods, again with the smoke lifting over time. Develops with a slightly metallic chew, consolidated though somewhat congested, with a nutty metal funkiness, the smoke returning.
F: Smoke on the finish too, smoked barley>char it seems. Deep consolidated vanilla concludes.
C: Great credit to Malt n Copper for sharing this rarity. I’ve never tasted anything quite like it, one that’s hard to pin down given it’s unfamiliarity. I had it up to 86 though more like 84 without emotion [closed distillery, 6th dram, with friends,…], so let’s say 85 overall.
Scores a B-