Mt Atkinson Coffee and Thomson Whisky come together with a coffee concoction.
Worldwide, empty Whisky barrels are very rare, even more so in New Zealand. That’s why when Mat Thomson of Thomson whisky mentioned he had a very freshly emptied Manuka Smoke barrel sitting in the Distillery I shot round to pick it up straight away.
This was the start of the long process of our Whisky Barrel Aged Coffee coffee. This exciting collab meant we got to rub shoulders with the artisan craftsman himself Mat Thomson, as he showed us through their Whisky distillery and the hands on process of creating a beautiful spirit. Thomson Whisky founded in 2014 started the same way you’d start a band, they “just started tinkering”. For Mat it was about giving it a go and creating the best spirit they could whilst sharing their journey with anyone who liked whisky. They wanted to give New Zealanders a whisky they could be proud of and now Thomson whisky is for sure one of our favourites.
Making craft whisky for the modern enthusiast. Artisan. Premium. Progressive.
The Thomson Whisky Distillery is located in Riverhead, North West of Auckland, Where they blend whiskies and distill single malt. Using a hand-beaten copper pot still, just three ingredients form the basis of the whisky they distill; quality malted barley, pure water, yeast. This Whisky is then aged in a range of casks.
By traditional methods for contemporary ends –for Mat and the team, it’s all about a passion for the spirit, creativity, and respect for the process. As one of only a few commercial distilleries in New Zealand they hugely contribute to the craft distilling movement in Aotearoa.
We filled the barrel with Colombian Supremo green coffee beans and rolled it around the coffee roastery for 8 months. The coffee draws out the beautiful manuka smoke whisky that is still soaked in the wood of the barrel. You can see this process because the wooden staves that form the barrel shrink as the liquid is drawn out.
Time does its thing, and the organic nature of the green coffee causes the whisky flavours to infuse deep into the bean. After 8 months of rolling the barrel, we took a sample. It is a tricky thing to roast as it no longer behaves like normal coffee, but we were stoked with the result! A seamless combination of dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee and of course the smokiness of whisky.
We recommend to enjoy this coffee is as cold brew over ice. Because it has been a delicate infusing over time, you don’t want heat in the process of brewing.