It didn’t take us long to twig that Manuka smoke and whisky were flavours that worked beautifully together. Back in 2005, before Thomson Whisky existed, we started a few experiments smoking barley in our Weber BBQ and distilling the spirit through our small custom built still. Those early trials matured for a few years, watched with interest and occasionally sipped. In 2014 we upscaled the recipe on our production still at the Thomson Whisky distillery, and the spirit spoke for itself.

Believed to be the world’s first commercial batch of Manuka smoked whisky, we worked closely with well known craft brewing supplier Gladfield Malt of Canterbury, to create the Manuka smoked malt. Gladfield designed and engineered their own smoke facility to control the smoke level and flavour in the finished malt. Responsible for the germination, smoking and kilning of the barley grain prior to fermentation, it was a first for Gladfield Malt as well.

Thomson Manuka Smoke single malt is maturing in ex-bourbon barrels and some new French oak adding to its depth of flavour. You can track the maturation progress of the spirit by sampling our Manuka Smoke Progress Report releases. We’re launching these in limited edition batches as an ‘update from the barrel’.