I was surprised to find that there are as many New Zealand made gin’s as there are. I have tried to find, buy, sample and review all of the New Zealand gin’s that I have been able to track down.
How do you decide on what makes a good gin? The bottle? The price? The aroma? The taste? Everyone is different in their taste and budget.
I have collected what information I can and done some tasting, to give you an idea of what you can expect from the different New Zealand made Gin’s.
Here is a list of the Gin made in New Zealand, and as much information I can gather about them.
UPDATE: A new website listing for sale Gins Made in New Zealand – CraftGin.co.nz
List Of Gin Made In New Zealand.
|1st Cut Gin - Batch One||$60.00*||45.0%||700ml||$2.57|
|1st Cut Gin - Wai-iti||$65.00*||45.0%||700ml||$2.79|
|1st Cut Gin - Motueka||$65.00*||44.0%||700ml||$2.79|
|1st Cut Gin - Nelson Sav||$65.00*||42.0%||700ml||$2.79|
|Rogue Society Gin||$79.95||40.0%||700ml||$3.43|
|Lighthouse - Hawthorne Edition||$78.40||57.2%**||700ml||$3.36|
|Blenheim Bay Gin||$55.90*||42.5%||1000ml||$1.67|
|Black Robin Gin||$76.00||40.0%||750ml||$3.04|
|Matakana Moonshine Gin||$30.00?||37.5%||1000ml|
|Broken Heart Gin||$54.75||40.0%||700ml||$2.35|
- plus shipping when buying direct
** Navy Strength
GIN – Top 10 New Zealand Made Gin
This was going to be my top ten gins that are made in New Zealand. Well there are not many more than 10 New Zealand made gins, so I am going to list them all, with tasting notes. I have tried to taste each of these gins several times, with other gins, so that I can get a different perspective each time I taste them, and so dominant flavours don’t overwhelm and disadvantage any particular gin. Each gin has been smelled and tasted at full strength, and then smelled and taste when cut back with some water to open up the botanicals some more. None have been tried with tonics yet. I plan to do a tonic tasting at some stage and then maybe do something about Gin & Tonics (G&T’s), maybe even find the most New Zealand G&T.
|Lighthouse Hawthorn Editon - 3/5 clean eye catching label, common yet attractive bottle||4/5 the intensity of the full strength really helps this gin.||4/5 juniper is prominent, in a woody way, there is citrus in a lemony, peely, with hint of pith. Earthiness||11/15 not the highest overall score, but definitely best gin. I can now understand why Bill Foley purchased Lighthouse. It is the best Gin made in New Zealand. The full strength delivers the bigger flavours.|
5/5 most impressive gin bottle currently of the NZ gin. Cork closure.
|4/5 citrus, and woody notes, corriander. nearly leather but a freshness||4/5 the earthy, cedar box woodness is intriguing, it has depth and length. hints of wasabi, vegetal, woody sappy, green branch.||13/15 great presentation, aroma, and taste. Pricey but it delivers on all fronts.|
|Black Robin Gin - 4/5 elegant packaging, especially with the tissue paper around the bottle when purchased. Beautiful bottle and label. Cork closure||5/5 a floral, yet New Zealand fresh bush, Manuka flower/berry character. Offers the most unique NZ character of any NZ made gin||3/5 the flavour isn't as good or as intense as the aroma||12/15 looks good in the bottle, best NZ character in the aroma, intensity of flavour lets it down a bit. Maybe on the pricey side when thinking about the flavour. There are many imports that offer way better value and flavour.|
|Vaione Pacific Gin 4/5 very attractive bottle, emboss, possible slightly green tint to the glass. Screw closure||5/5 inviting bold fresh citrus aroma, lime leaf||3/5 very aggressive flavour, but there seems to be a botanical in there that that is a bit awkward, or out of balance. waxy? bubblegum, hubba bubba original. Burnt essential oil, citronella.||12/15 Big botanicals, can handle mixers. Good overall package, price and value|
|Broken Heart Gin - 3/5 clean attractive bottle, with the red being eye catching. Similar bottle to Lighthouse.||3/5 orange, banana bread, musty citrus peel. Something isn't right in the botanicals||3/5 botanicals seems to be old or oxidized. orange peel seems musty, lets the flavour down.||9/15 old musty botanicals, let this possibly interesting gin down.|
|1st Cut Gin - 3/5 solid robust bottle, label has a cool craft brewing feel about it with stamp and handwritten numbering. Cork closure||3/5 what fermentation base? barley/grain/malt/ceral, a sweet malt note, juniper||3/5 floral, spicy, sweet maltiness.||9/15 good botanicals, and 45% gives it the grunt to make a really tasty G&T|
|Blenheim Bay - 3.5/5 amazing weight in this bottle. Label is OK a little traditional. Screw closure||1.5/5 not sure what it is but I get rubber dishwashing gloves with soap on them, little lime note.||2.5/5 this is massive and robust in the flavours, but they come across as soapy, perfumy and floral, but overwhelmingly so.||7.5/15 I'm thinking that the intensity of this gin would lead it to being ideal for a G&T. Cut back the intense flavour with tonic, and it could be a winner.|
|Christies Gin - 2.5/5 ok bottle, has a 42 Below feel? plain with little information on the bottle or label. Screw closure||2.5/5 average aroma, orange pulp and citrus, with a hint of spice||2.5/5 citrusy/juniper, nice citrus, clean, balanced and subtle over all||7.5/15 its a fair offering at a good price. Gin for people that don't really care about the flavour of gin.|
|Matakana Moonshine Gin - 1/5 this is the stock standard alcohol bottle, and very basic slightly unprofessional label, lets down an otherwise reasonable gin. Doesn't take much to do something a little better, and increase the perceived value of the gin. Screw closure.||2.5/5 low aroma, hint of lime/citrus||3/5 balanced, nothing over powers, but nothing stands out, oily mouthfeel, spicy dry finish||6.5/15 the presentation could easily be better, it is a pretty good gin, nothing stunning, but must get points for best value.|
|South Gin - 3.5/5 distinctive and iconic bottle, clean yet plain. Screw closure. Bottle shape makes for nice and easy pouring.||2/5 kind of a neutral gin aroma, nothing really stands out, clean spirity nose||1/5 kind of ginny actually not too much, the point of interest would be the mouthfeel and texture, it is soft full and creamy. very low in the botanicals.||6.5/15 middle of the road, its not about the flavour, good to add a great tonic too. Not the greatest value, nice bottle|
|TeKiwi Gin - 2/5 ok nearly a little retro, comes across a bit low value. A bit of embossing or high-build on the label would help||1/5 what is that aroma? it reminds me of a dirty damp brewery, black mould, and maybe the use of iodophor somewhere in the process?||1/5 the flavour is just like the aroma, very unpleasant. Off flavours mask any hints of juniper or other botanicals||4/15 there is something wrong with this gin. Could it be just this bottle? Or just this batch?|
What Botanicals Do They Use To Make New Zealand Gin?
Below is what I have been able to gather about what botanicals are used in each of the New Zealand made gins. Most of these details have come from their bottles and websites. It seems as though some want to keep the ingredients a bit of a secret, and others are proud of what they are using. I find in some cases they say they use certain ingredients, but it doesn’t really seem to be adding much to the aroma or flavour of the gin. (I’ll update as more information comes to hand)
|1st Cut||Rouge Society||Viaone||South Gin||Black Robin||Christies||Lighthouse|
|Grains of Paradise||X|
Where Do They Make New Zealand Gin?
Gin as in many other spirits these days, is all about the brand. It would seem that there are brands more so than distilleries. I’ll try and find out where these contract distilleries are and what brands they are producing. Just because it is interesting.
|Company||Gin||Still Location||Office Location|
|Liquid Alchemy||1st Cut Gin||14 Vivian Place, Nelson||same||@NZDistiller||Liquid Alchemy|
|Greytown Fine Distillates||Lighthouse Gin||outskirts of Greytown||P.O.Box 113, Greytown 5742||n/a||Lighthouse Gin|
|Prenzel||Blenheim Bay Gin||28 Sheffield Street, Riverlands Estate|
|Schnapp Dragon Distillery||TeKiwi Gin||25 Commercial Street|
Takaka, Nelson 7142
|Vaione||Vaione Pacific Gin||Onehunga||PO Box 11562,|
Ellerslie, Auckland 1542
|In The Bush Limited||Matakana Moonshine Gin||Matakana?||Matakana?||n/a||Matakana Moonshine|
|The Gin Company||Rogue Society Gin||Southern Grain Spirits|
9A Peraki St, Kaiapoi, Canterbury
|Level 2, 104 Richmond Road, Ponsonby, Auckland||n/a||Rogue Society Gin|
|Simply Pure Limited||Black Robin Gin||Tauranga||Herne Bay, Auckland||@BlackRobinGin||Black Robin Gin|
|Broken Heart Spirits Limited||Broken Heart Gin||??|| 3 Whitechapel Road, Arrow Junction, |
|@BrokenHeartGin||Broken Heart Spirits|
|Bacardi/42 Below||South Gin||??||Lion Co||n/a||n/a|
|Lion||Christie's Gin||??||Lion Co||n/a||n/a|
|Waiwera Spirits Ltd||Mahurangi Gin?|
Waiwera Silver Gin?
|Silverdale, Auckland?||??||n/a||Waiwera Spirits|
?? do you know where these gin’s are manufactured?
How Much Gin Is Sold In New Zealand?
~6% of spirits sold in New Zealand is Gin
12.6 million litres total spirits sold in 2013 = 756,000 litres of gin (~1,080,000 x 700ml bottles)
How Much Gin Is Exported From New Zealand?
There are 34 Spirit manufacturing enterprises in NZ
New Zealand exported US$46.8m in spirits in 2010 2% was Gin = US$936,000 (so not much)
Do You Know Of Any Other New Zealand Made Gin?
Send me an email with the name of the Gin and where I might be able to track down a bottle.