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Pōkeno Whisky Wins Big With Exploration Series At San Francisco World Spirits Awards

Winter Malt Triple Distilled Small. Photo/Supplied.

Pioneering New Zealand single malt whisky producer, Pōkeno, has secured an impressive haul of awards at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards – one of the largest and most prestigious international competitions for the spirits industry – taking home two Double Gold Awards, a Gold and two Silver medals.

The highly-coveted Double Gold Awards, which are only given to spirits that unanimously receive gold medals from all judges in a blind tasting, were awarded to the Triple Distilled and Winter Malt expressions from Pōkeno’s special edition Exploration Series. The third expression of this series, the Totara Cask, which is the first single malt whisky ever to be matured in a Totara wood barrel, received a silver medal.

2024 SFWSC Double Gold Medal. Photo/Supplied.

Two of Pōkeno’s signature single malts, Origin and Discovery, were also recognised with Gold and Silver medals respectively.

Pōkeno founder Matt Johns says the recognition not only places the whiskies among the world’s elite, it endorses the ‘discover different’ philosophy that drives them to experiment and push boundaries.

“We developed our Exploration Series as a showcase of our innovation and creativity, and so to receive two Double Golds and a Silver is a fantastic reward. The World Spirit Awards’ recognition helps us stand out against other fantastic whiskies from around the globe and continues to give us credibility when it comes to distributing internationally.”

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“New Zealand’s growing participation in the New World whisky movement can be seen in the number of distilleries being built here and the quality of single malts being produced. For us, it’s great to play a lead role and represent New Zealand and New World whisky on the global stage.”

The Pōkeno Triple Distilled has rich vanilla and butterscotch notes, with hints of citrus and pepper clove, and a long, rich finish that comes from maturing in the finest first fill bourbon barrels. The Winter Malt has more bitter dark chocolate and cocoa bean notes, hints of creamy fudge flavour, and a long, sweet and smoky finish built on a unique selection of New Zealand malts.

This isn’t Pōkeno’s first triumph this year, having picked up Category Winner, and Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards at the 2024 World Whiskies Awards, and a coveted Liquid Gold Award in Jim Murray’s 20th annual Whisky Bible.

Pōkeno is currently distributed to 25 countries worldwide. To support the brand’s global growth, Matt has this year hosted presentations and tasting masterclasses in Abu Dhabi, Germany, and Japan, and next week will head to South East Asia to exhibit at Whisky O in Taiwan and then Vinexpo Hong Kong.

Matt Johns. Photo/Supplied.

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