“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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Whisky Ladies “Trans Tasman Tour” to New Zealand & Tasmania with a nod to Crazy Uncles!

The Whisky Ladies adventures continue… this time waaaaay down under with drams from  Tasmania and New Zealand.

Often with our Whisky Ladies sessions, there is a particular bottle which “anchors” an idea and we build a theme around it. In this case, over two years ago our host picked up from Australia Whippersnapper’s Crazy Uncle Moonshine. She then stumbled across in the UK a pair of New Zealand whiskies from a closed distillery… and thus a Kiwi plus Australian dram discovery in Mumbai theme was born!

And while we technically had 3 bottles, our core focus is whisky, so when we learned another Whisky Lady had been hanging on to a celebrated Sullivans Cove from Tasmania, it naturally had to join the mix! And I had a “back-up” Hellyers Road Pinot Noire…. just in case it was needed…which proved be handy as traffic conditions on that particular evening were atrocious!

So what specifically made it into our “Trans Tasman Tour” explorations?

We closed with regaling each other with personal tales of our crazy uncles toasting to their quirks, maddening qualities that sit side by side with remarkable generosity and sparks of brilliance… with the spirit that kick started the evening idea in the 1st place:

Those who successfully navigated Bombay traffic to reach on time were rewarded with a birthday bonus:

It was indeed a memorable malty evening of fabulous fellowship over a different dram or two or three or four or more! 

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