Dunedin Distillery – DoubleWood 10 Year Old
Review: Dunedin Distillery – DoubleWood 10 Year Old (82/100)
(Part of the New Zealand Whisky Collection)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 14, 2013
In 2011 the Dunedin Distillery – DoubleWood was the first whisky launched as part of the New Zealand Whisky Collection. This whisky was distilled at the now defunct Willow Bank Distillery near Dunedin, on South Island (New Zealand). The distillery was mothballed in 1997, but some of the remaining barrels of whisky were left aging in a seaside bond house until they were purchased by Greg Ramsey who formed the New Zealand Whisky Company.
The Dunedin DoubleWood 10 Year Old was produced from stocks which were aged in American-Oak barrels for 6 years and then finished for 4 more in North Island (French oak) wine barrels. The whisky is a blend of 70% Single Malt whisky, and 30% premium grain whisky, bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.
I was sent a small 150 ml sample such that I could share my thoughts with respect to the whisky here on my website:
In the Bottle 4.5/5
I appreciate how the New Zealand heritage of the whisky is highlighted in the bottle presentation with a map of the country shown upon the front of the bottle. Because the idea of whisky coming all the way from New Zealand is (for now anyway) a bit of a novelty, I suspect curious shoppers will give this whisky more than just a glance. The white illustration of New Zealand on the black foil which covers the cork topper is also a nice touch.
In the Glass 8.5/10
Poured into my glencairn glass, the whisky displays a rich amber colour as well as a distinct red tincture in the glass. When I tilt and twirl the glass, I see lots of tiny leglets forming which form skinny legs and drop back down into the whisky. The initial aroma from the glass is a mixture of wooded scents with the light accent of fieldberries (blackberries and currants) and red cherries.
As the glass breathes I notice some alpine scents with woody thickets (alders and willow), some green ferns and moss, and perhaps a hint of heather. The impression of fielberries and cherries continues to wander through the breezes accenting the alpine woodland but not dominating it.
In the Mouth 49/60
The whisky begins its entry into the mouth with sweet toffee and malt flavours which are followed quickly by a firm oak presence which spices up the palate. We taste caramel toffee, some dry fruit (dates, raisins and dry currants), and of course those blackerries and cherries which we noticed in the breezes earlier. There is a lot of spiciness within the whisky, perhaps a result of the oak, or perhaps a result of a spicy grain whisky placing its imprint onto the flavour profile. The spiciness livens the mouth feel, although it also brings about a sense of astringency or sharpness within the flavour of the whisky.
The whisky does not change much over time as I allow it to breathe. Some baking spices build with impressions of cinnamon and tobacco, and a light floral character becomes recognizable; but for the most part the whisky tastes much the same on the first sip as it did when I finished the glass 20 minutes later.
In the Throat 12/15
The exit is dry and spicy, punctuated with flavours of caramel, fresh and dry fruit, and a lightly bitter accent of grapefruit pith. As noted earlier, the whisky seems to carry just a shade more astringency or sharpness than I would personally like, and this comes across a light burn in the throat. It is not necessarily uncomfortable, in fact some may like this extra zing in the finish.
The Afterburn 8/10
I enjoyed my sampling sessions. The Dunedin Distillery – DoubleWood is an interesting whisky with a nice complex flavour. The whisky is quite sippable; but it also carries a light sharpness and a mild bitterness in the finish which (for me) made the whisky much more enjoyable as a cocktail mixer. It was unfortunate that my sample was rather small (150 ml) such that my explorations into mixology were rather stifled. However, I did create a nice recipe which was absolutely delicious (see below).
My score of 83/100 recognizes the interesting complexity and the sipping potential of the whisky, while at the same time recognizing my desire to mix more cocktails.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
This recipe is based upon my own Autocrat Cocktail. However, when made with the Dunedin Distillery – Doublewood Whisky, I prefer to call the recipe South Island Fashion.
South Island Fashion
2 oz Dunedin Distillery – DoubleWood 10 Year Old
1 tsp Agave Syrup
dash Angostura bitters
Add the Whisky, the agave syrup, and the bitters with ice in a Metal Shaker.
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Place a frozen blackberry into a chilled glen cairn glass.
Strain the mixed ingredients over the blackberry but do not add the ice.
Twist some orange peel over the drink.
(This will release the oil from the orange zest into the drink)
Discard the peel.
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)