The New Zealand Whisky Company: Dunedin: Doublewood 15 Year (New Zealand Blended Whisky: 15 Year: 40% ABV)
Visual: Bronzed amber.
Viscosity: Quite fast thick streaks.
Nose: Sherried trifle. Drambuie. Treacle. Liquorice touch. Buttery shortbread. Marzinpan.
Body: Toffee. Raspberry. Twigs. Alcohol builds. Sour red grapes. Water brings out trifle, oak, custard and cherries.
Finish: Dry oak. Red wine. Strawberry jam. Water brings out oak and tannins. Sour red wine and cherries. Touch of apples.
Conclusion: This is whisky, but not as I know it. Join me as I take a fun wee trail into the unknown here.
The base feel, the toffee sweetness and general, well, whisky character is there. It is not a complete unknown. What is laid over that is an initially very sherry trifle character, very sweet and creamy.
This settles down into a darker feeling whisky, more sour wine and oaken character that comes with those kind of wine coming out from under that initial sweetness. Both the sweet and the sour takes show obvious red wine influence, but there are other touches such as the bright red cherries, sweet touches over an overall quite dry whisky. It shows a complex experience and range.
The alcohol feel is the odd part, in that initially I expected a kind of sherry character to it, but instead there is a kind of drambuie alcohol feel – it is here that it feels like it departs most from what I would expect of a standard whisky – an element that is not quite to my taste but doesn’t get in the way too much.
Overall it is very impressive. The different barrel ageing is a nigh completely different experience, but the base whisky holds well enough that it doesn’t feel like a gimmick. A sign that NZ can really have their own style of whisky and not just recreate what already exists. A good sign.
Background: Tried at Brewdog Bristol, this is a new one on me. Aged for six years in Bourbon barrels, then finished in French Oak New Zealand wine barrels (according to a quick google one source says Pinot Noir). That just fascinated me, so I grabbed a measure, wonder if craft beer sis has run into this one as she is a NZ fan.