Thomson Whisky brand logo from New Zealand.

Thomson Whisky Distillery

  • New Zealand
  • Manuka Smoke “Progress Report” Single Malt, Two-Tone Release, French Oak & Smoke Single Cask Release
Phone Number
  • +64278287271
  • 8 Riverhead Point Drive, Riverhead 0820, New Zealand

Assorted Thomson whisky bottles on display with plants.

History of Thomson Whisky Distillery

Thomson Whisky Distillery was established in 2009 in Auckland, born out of creativity and a passion for single malt whisky. It began as a side project in a spare room, launching as a single malt whisky brand that was initially perceived as an unconventional venture.

The Founders: Mathew and Rachael Thomson

The distillery was founded by Mathew Thomson, a visionary who had been experimenting with home distilling and smoking barley using Manuka wood since 2005. This experimentation played a crucial role in developing a distinct flavor profile for their whiskies. Mathew, along with Rachael Thomson, has been instrumental in driving the distillery’s vision and operations.

Early Developments: Independent Bottling

Initially, Thomson Whisky started as an independent bottler. They carefully selected old stock New Zealand whisky from the Willowbank Distillery in Dunedin, which had closed in the late ’90s. Their aim was to bring out high-quality whisky that New Zealanders could be proud of.

Unique Flavor: Manuka Wood Smoke

A significant aspect of Thomson Whisky’s development was the use of Manuka wood smoke. This unique approach to smoking barley contributed to a new world of flavor and helped in creating a distinctive New Zealand whisky.

Expansion into Production (2014)

In 2014, Thomson Whisky made a significant leap by launching its own production distillery. The distillery, equipped with a 900-litre hand-beaten copper pot still commissioned from Portugal, was set up onsite at the Hallertau Brewery on the outskirts of Auckland. This allowed for access to high-quality resources and expert brewing knowledge.

Current Status: Craft Whisky and Global Recognition

Today, Thomson Whisky creates premium craft whisky and gin using traditional methods and natural ingredients. The distillery has two hand-beaten copper pot stills and two gin stills, emphasizing all-natural ingredients and traditional spirits distillation processes. Thomson Whiskies have garnered several awards, marking the brand as one of New Zealand’s most awarded distilleries.

Contribution to Craft Distilling Movement

The distillery is not only known for its premium products but also for its contribution to the craft distilling movement in New Zealand. The Thomsons take pride in creating craft whisky for the modern enthusiast and in taking their products to the global stage.

Commitment to Quality and Innovation

Thomson Whisky Distillery continues to innovate while respecting traditional distilling methods. They focus on using quality ingredients like water, yeast, and malted barley, aged in a range of casks, including ex-bourbon barrels and New Zealand wine casks.

In conclusion, the Thomson Whisky Distillery represents a blend of innovation, tradition, and quality, marking its significant presence in the craft distilling landscape of New Zealand and beyond.

Awards Won by Thomson Whisky Distillery

  1. Manuka Smoke “Progress Report” Single Malt
    • Award-Winning Heritage: Recognized for its excellence, this whisky stands out in the world of spirits.
    • Unique New Zealand Barley: Crafted from 100% locally grown malted barley for a true Kiwi essence.
    • Distinctive Manuka Wood Smoking: The use of Manuka wood in the smoking process imparts a unique flavor, distinguishing it from other whiskies.
    • Traditional Distillation: Distilled in a hand-beaten copper pot still, adding to its unique character and taste.
  2. Two-Tone Release
    • Multi-Award Winner: This whisky has garnered multiple accolades, a testament to its exceptional quality.
    • Innovative Maturation Process: Aged in two types of casks – European oak from New Zealand red wine and American white oak for whisky – creating a one-of-a-kind profile.
    • Complex Flavor Palette: Offers a symphony of tastes including salt, caramelized fruit, red berries, apricot, and spice, making every sip an adventure.
  3. French Oak & Smoke Single Cask Release
    • Exclusive High-End Edition: A limited edition release, adding a touch of exclusivity.
    • South Island Peat Smoking: The use of peat from New Zealand’s South Island for smoking gives it a distinctive flavor.
    • Pinot Noir Cask Maturation: Matured in local Pinot Noir casks, contributing to its unique taste profile.
    • Rich Flavor Blend: A luxurious mix of candied prunes, vanilla, and peat smoke, creating a memorable and indulgent experience.

What To Do Nearby Thomson Whisky Distillery

Heletranz Helicopters (6.6 miles from The Riverhead): This attraction offers an exhilarating helicopter experience, providing a unique perspective of Auckland’s stunning scenery from above. It’s a great way to add some adventure to your visit.

Good Planet (0.7 miles from The Riverhead): Located quite close to the distillery, Good Planet is an amusement and theme park with various rides and activities. It’s a fun place, especially if you’re travelling with family or looking for some light-hearted entertainment.

ExperienceKart (7.8 miles from The Riverhead): This is a transportation service that offers unique experiences around Auckland. It could be a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the surrounding areas.

Red Carpet Tours (8 miles from The Riverhead): For fans of cinema, particularly the “Lord of the Rings” movies, this tour is a must. It takes you to various filming locations and provides an immersive experience into the world of Middle-earth.

Salt Cave Halotherapy & Wellness Centre (7.9 miles from The Riverhead): If you’re in need of some relaxation and rejuvenation, the Salt Cave offers therapeutic treatments that can help you unwind after a busy day of sightseeing.

Soljans Estate Winery (2.3 miles from The Riverhead): A short drive from the distillery, this winery offers wine tastings and tours. It’s a great spot to enjoy the local wine culture and scenic views.

Huapai Golf Club (1.2 miles from The Riverhead): For golf enthusiasts, the Huapai Golf Club offers a challenging and picturesque course to enjoy a round of golf.

The Hunting Lodge Winery & Restaurant (5.1 miles from The Riverhead): This is another excellent local winery where you can taste various wines and enjoy a meal in a beautiful setting.

Canoe & Kayak Adventures (7.6 miles from The Riverhead): For outdoor enthusiasts, these canoe and kayak adventures offer a great way to explore the local waterways and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

Browns Bay Beach (9 miles from The Riverhead): A little further away, Browns Bay Beach is perfect for a relaxing day by the sea, with lovely views and a peaceful atmosphere.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Thomson Whisky Distillery?

Heritage Bar & Eatery Riverhead: This Indian restaurant has a rating of 4.2 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +64 9 412 9555. Their address is 22 School Road, Riverhead 0820, New Zealand.

The Beekeepers Wife: This restaurant has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. They can be contacted for reservations at +64 9 869 4659. The Beekeepers Wife is located at 1047 Coatesville Riverhead Highway, Riverhead 0820, New Zealand.

The Landing at The Riverhead: This restaurant has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. The contact number is not provided. Their address is 33 York Terrace, Riverhead 0820, New Zealand.

What hotels are near Thomson Whisky Distillery?

Kumeu Kottage: This 4-star hotel has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. Unfortunately, the contact number is not provided. The address is 181 Old Railway Road, Kumeū 0892, New Zealand.

Ramada Suites by Wyndham Albany: This 4-star hotel has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. You can reach them at +64 9 974 4568. The address is 9 Kaipiho Lane, Albany, Auckland 0632, New Zealand.

SkyCity Hotel Auckland: This hotel has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, their contact number is +64 9 363 6000. The address is 72 Victoria Street West, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand.