“Trans Tasman Tour” – Willowbank 22 year (1989) 52.8%

The Wilson’s Dunedin or Willowbank Distillery was established by the Baker family in 1974 on the South Island of New Zealand. It had the remarkable distinction of being the most southerly distillery in the world and produced the Milford and Lammerlaw Whisky brands. It closed in 1997 with The New Zealand Whisky Company owning the remaining stock, stored in a seaside warehouse in Oamaru.

Thanks to a purchase in the UK, the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai had the pleasure of trying not one but two bottles. We began with the older one – the 22 year cask strength whisky.

New Zealand’s Willowbank 22 year (1989/2012) Barrel No 58, Bottle No 25, 52.8%

  • Nose – Surprisingly fresh, doesn’t feel like 22 year, mint, herbs, one even mentioned lettuce leaves! Then lemon balm, garden fresh, cucumber, yet chased with something a bit piquant
  • Palate – Very smooth, spices, pencils, Bull’s eye candy, a bit khkatta, some tannins
  • Finish – Mint candy yet has a burn too
  • Water – Nutty water, fruit and spice, some bitter fruits, nuts, some chokecherry or aamla Indian gooseberry

I don’t think anyone knew what to expect with this whisky. And I don’t think we quite knew even when having it. We certainly didn’t anticipate a 22 year old to be quite so “young” seeming…

Water certainly made a difference. For some, the found it much better with water. Another mentioned it reminded them of Malvani fish curry. Not what one would normally associate with whisky!

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