Northland’s Black Collar Distillery has returned home from London with a round of medals after triumphing at the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC).
The distillery, based in the Bay of Islands, picked up gold in the vodka category, scoring a highly impressive 95 out of 100 for its Black Collar Vodka to see off a host of international competitors. Black Collar was the only New Zealand brand to strike gold in the London event.
The distillery completed a hat-trick of medals when Black Collar Gin and Black Collar Rum, making their IWSC debuts, were awarded bronze in their respective categories.
“To have all three spirits win a medal in London was brilliant,” said Jonathan Mclean (pictured), the distillery owner. “After last year’s silver medal at San Francisco, we wanted to tweak our vodka a bit, make it better and win gold; we’ve done that and we’re really happy with the result.”
The IWSC judges commended the Black Collar Vodka for its “class and elegance”, adding: “The start on the nose is elegant, grassy and clean, with some lime blossom notes. It is fresh and easy to drink and cooling on the palate – a perfectly balanced and very well-polished example.”
The gin and rum were judged to be “perfectly well-made spirits which made for an enjoyable drinking experience”.
Black Collar Distillery was only launched in October 2017, and Mclean was quick to praise the input of Northland Inc, the region’s economic development agency, which has been providing the business with advice and guidance for the past 15 months.
“Northland Inc has been really fantastic for us, providing brilliant insight into how we could improve and backing it up with some excellent contacts in specialist areas where we needed help,” he said. “I feel that Northland Inc provides a vital service to business in the region, and I would encourage all businesses in Northland – no matter what their size or their growth plans – to get in touch with them.”