Oamaru, New Zealand– May 8, 2014 – He’s believed to have visited more whisky distilleries than anyone on earth and Jim Murray’s 2014 Whisky Bible boasts over 4,500 whiskies. But few score 94 points or higher, receiving Murray’s highly sought ‘liquid gold’ status.
In the latest edition, The New Zealand Whisky Company’s South Islan Single Malt 21 y.o. scored 95 points, placing it in the highly coveted category. This is the first time ever that a New Zealand whisky has appeared in a category that has catapulted some distilleries, such as Amrut, from unknowns to the world stage.
The Barrel Room at the New Zealand Whisky Company
“This is a salute to the craftsmanship of the Dunedin distillers,” says company CEO Greg Ramsay. “Being recognised as one of the world’s great whiskies by Jim Murray, that’s the ultimate endorsement of your product.
” Murray tastes every whisky and scores each dram out of 25 for nose, taste, finish and balance, totaling 100 points. His influence on the whisky world is unrivalled, with the bible now in its tenth year, including an additional 1,100 new whiskies in 2014.
“There are over 4,500 different brands and expressions listed in this year's Whisky Bible and from every corner of the planet,” says Murray. “Those which score 94 and upwards represents only a very small fraction of them. These whiskies are, in my view, the elite: the finest you can currently find on the whisky shelves of the world. Rare and precious, they are Liquid Gold.
” The South Island Single Malt is the company’s flagship single malt, aged for 21 years in American Oak, ex-bourbon barrels. It’s mid gold, with copper lights and enjoys a very mature nose- older than its age statement . And according to Murray’s latest bible, “you would be forgiven for thinking this was a 30 or even 35-year-old Speysider; almost a grassy maltiness melding into the light, exotic fruit and freshly chopped celery. Clean, delicate and elegant beyond words.
If someone asked me how I would like my 21-year-old non-peated malt to come to me, it would probably be something like this: a top of the range 40-year-old. Proof that the country in which a whisky is made is totally irrelevant. Great whisky is great whisky.
The New Zealand Whisky Company is a success story that signals a revival of the whisky industry in New Zealand. The whisky was once distilled by Seagram’s in Dunedin before the distillery was sold to Fosters in 1997 as part of a global rationalisation.
Fosters mothballed the distillery and inexplicably closed it. But fortunately, more than 400 barrels of this whisky remained, and were bought by the New Zealand Whisky Company, set aside to mature and sweeten. Since then, the company has worked hard to revive the century-old industry and the whisky has been met with wide acclaim.
In London last year, the New Zealand whisky Collection’s DoubleWood won the category for Best Australasian Blend, while the South Island Single Malt was voted the best aged Single Malt from Down Under. As well as regaining the foothold once held across New Zealand by Wilsons, the whisky is now exported from Oamaru and available across Canada, the UK, Australia and Europe.