We will stay on the Southern Hemisphere to explore another smoke flavor. In New Zealand they use Manuka wood.

The Manuka tree, or kahikฤtoa in Maori, was also called “tea tree” by Captain Cook and is known as “Rosenmyrte” in Danish. What we probably know Manuka best for is honey. The nectar from the flowers, turned into honey with the help of bees, has been used for hundreds of years as medicine and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s a rather interesting and different whisky, and when I tasted it for the first time back in 2016, I wondered what on earth they had been up to down on the other side of the world. I noted at the time that it smelled a bit like “wet wild animal.” It has a quite intense smoke flavor, but at the same time, it is not as overwhelming as some peat smoke can be. It’s a smoke you need to get to know.

When we were in New Zealand in February 2024, one of my big wishes was to visit the Thomson Distillery. We had miscommunicated, and I arrived on a public holiday when I knocked on the door. It would have been fun to meet Mathew & Rachael Thomson, who own and run the distillery, and talk to them about their whisky and the wild experience it offers.

However, it didnโ€™t stop me from buying a bottle of Thomson Manuka Wood Smoke Single Malt to take home, and now I can sit in Denmark and enjoy the wild smoke and imagine the fantastic landscape of New Zealand.

There is no wonder that malt is smoked over Manuka wood, as it provides an intense experience of something wild, something harsh, and a gentle sweetness.

๐Ÿ…ผ๐Ÿ†ˆ ๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ†‚๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ…ธ๐Ÿ…ฝ๐Ÿ…ถ ๐Ÿ…ฝ๐Ÿ…พ๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ…ด๐Ÿ†‚

Wet possum or wet forest floor, cloves, honey, coriander, cinnamon
Oily, cloves, dark Manuka honey, gentle smoke, white pepper, rose, smoked venison, pecans, almonds
Short to medium, smoked meat, a hint of rose

๐Ÿ…พ๐Ÿ†…๐Ÿ…ด๐Ÿ† ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ…ป๐Ÿ…ป
No, I haven’t smelled a wet possum, but I have smelled yarn from a possum, and my imagination of how the wet wild animal must smell is roughly what I detect. It could be a wet deer, and I have smelled that ๐Ÿ˜‰ . It is an exciting whisky that is different and not with a traditional taste, which might deter some, but by golly, it is lovely.

By Whisky Adventurer

Behind the name Whisky Adventurer is Lars Modvig Hesselberg. In short, I enjoy immersing myself in all aspects of the whisky world. I enjoy the stories, the people, the scents, the development, the taste, the variety, the big ones, the small ones, the distilleries and much more. Telling and passing on knowledge and experiences through speech, writing and pictures is a big part of the whole experience for me.