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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Cardrona Distillery, New Zealand

I first heard of this new distillery while listening to WhiskyCast in December 2015. It turned out that they had just opened and it so happened that I was going to be on vacation in Queenstown, a short but very impressive drive away, over Christmas. A few emails later and I had a tour set up for December 26th, within just a few days of their official opening. The site is impressive and well designed and will also house a small museum focused on the town of Cardrona however that was still in development when I visited. The highlight was that I also got to spend some time with many of family who built it and experience their passion and excitement for what they are doing here. If their product is half as enjoyable as their hospitality (and I see no reason why not based on the excellent site and investment they have made) then we will have very nice Kiwi whisky in a few years’ time.

After the tour there was a lot to try (I had to take samples as I drove there) including their excellent Reid Single Malt Vodka, which is one of the best white spirits I have tried in a long time and a good solution to the “how do we make money for first three years of a whisky distillery” problem, the Rose Rabbit Orange Liqueur (not my thing but for sure someone’s thing) and their Single Malt new make. I have tried a lot of new make spirit but do not consider myself qualified to project on how well a new make will mature and develop but I have posted tasting notes for all of three of these Cardrona products on the website.

So if you find yourself in the Queenstown region of New Zealand and perhaps need a break from flinging yourself off a bridge with just an elastic bungy cord tied to your legs and are tired of gorging on the region’s stunning Pinot Noirs can I suggest you add this to your NZ Bucket List along (and blue cod “fush and chups”). You will thank me.

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Hacienda Patron (Virtual Tour), Jalisco, Mexico

Hacienda Patron (Virtual Tour), Jalisco, Mexico

As this is my first “virtual distillery tour” (or VDT) I decided to check out Hacienda Patron as I actually had some in the house so I could raise a glass at the end for my official “tasting” as well. The price is right at “free” and it seems that this was a good choice for VDT#1. The link below takes you to a virtual 2.41 minute immersive tour that starts in Agave fields and ends in the Hacienda bar. The video is short, 2:41 minutes, shot with a drone and is based on a “bees eye” view (the bee being the symbol of Patron) as it flies through the hacienda. It is very smooth (like Patron) and allows you to view in full 360 and pause and look around. The tour technology and platform is very impressive and a high bar for the other virtual tours I will be taking. There is also a short video you can watch on the making of the tour so a behind the scene look at the behind the scenes. Very meta (although I am not 100% sure what meta means but I think it is the correct usage and I have been dying to use it on the blog).

While it was very slick it was not very insightful or technical regarding the actual making of Tequila, the process or types of tequila produced, aging times or other geeky stuff that I like to write down in my notebook and never look at again on my physical tours. I did notice the very small pot stills (compared to typical Scotch whisky stills) but this is definitely not one for “anorak and notebook brigade”. There were some aspects of the physical tours still present, namely the distillery Bingo words that came up in just 2:41 included “handcrafted” and “labor of love”. I will post my Patron tasting notes as well and you can take the tour yourself at: https://www.patrontequila.com/en-gb/our-story/oculus.html

Es Bueno. Gracias.

What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

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