Monday, September 30, 2013

can anyone please helps us TRANSLATE french

3 – The New Zealand Whisky : le single malt WillowbankUne des révélations de ces derniers mois chez les amateurs avertis. Et qui ne sera bientôt plus qu’un souvenir… Créée en 1974 en Nouvelle-Zélande, la distillerie Willowbank fut en effet mise à l’arrêt en 1997, avant d’être détruite en 2000. Un homme d’affaires australien, passionné de whisky, a racheté le stock – 600 fûts seulement – et l’embouteille sous trois catégories : Double Wood (pour les affinages), Cask Strenght (pour les bruts de fût) et South Island pour les vieux whiskys. A découvrir avant qu’il ne soit trop tard.

the chaos of a whisky CRUSH

daily blog & off to BenRomach

Scotland will be great and I have been speaking to benromach distillery guys about Thursday tour and can't wait.the distillery vibe and smells are always in my heart and I am truly dream

Our whisky for sale online across Europe

they sold out of Dunedin DoubleWood on the first day at whiskyLIVE but here is the link for Parisians to buy @thenzwhisky

posting on my own & GREAT AWARD

just found out how to do my own posts.had breeakfast,fantastic food.getting ready for huge day day.whisky is the best in the world but I could be really does us proud and the public tell us that by loving our whisky and the NZ whisky company did us proud by releasing a goldmine of fantastic whisky.

the best news so far from Paris, in the International Whisky Tasting, we got SECOND BEST whisky of the show!!!!

Sunday HolyDay at whiskyLIVE

Cyril yates.sunday,29th.what a great day today at the show.we had hundreds of fantastic and avid whisky tipplers at our stand.everyone loves NZ whisky.start with the 21 yr  old excellent bouquet with great notes and then onto our doublewood.big favorite.

the 1990 cask strength,63.5%.big on flavour with a great hit at the start and then mellowing and it moves around the palate.a small dash of water brings it out just a wee bit more and smooths it out.fantastic.we have winners.had a look around at the other exhibitors. marvelous. 

nz should be proud .  nz whisky company are superb.

1st day at WhiskyLIVE Paris

Photo(16).jpgFirst day at the whisky show,what an experience.i have never seen so many whisky drinkers in my life.many with connoisseur tastes about them.the 21 yr old was amazing and the  15 yr old double wood loved by a large majority of our crowd.some said it was soft and easy to drink.the 1990 cask strength,a strong vibrant drop,not for the fainthearted but for the person who liked a strong but hearty taste and a great body.i tried samples myself from my neighbors stalls and they were amazing.had a busy day finishing at 730pm and then had a fantastic meal with visitors organized by the convenor of the whisky show.bit tired now.up tomorrow to do it all over again.i know,its great and I love it.night all.cyril.

Friday, September 27, 2013

in Paris & Grain Whisky chat

Friday27th.greg and I arrived in Paris this morning after both having 36 hr flights and got straight into the parisienne style and had a good coffee and a chat about the forthcoming show for our whisky and for all the other exhibitors.went to the site for the show and had a good look around.amazing....we also had a launch ride down the seine looking at all the sights .lots of history.back to the site of whisky live to see the progress being made in the setup.bed by 2130.up for over 40hrs time for some rest.take care.cyril.

Greg and I had a great talk on our grain whisky and the variables which came with different years of production.the early grain,74 to 82 had a rough edge and the later years after the 4 column came into existence proved to be a winner as far as flavours and overall consistency entailed in the single and double woods.

twitter follow us on @thenzwhisky

from HongKong Airport

Friday 27th.sitting in hongkong at 2am NZ time or 10pm hongkong time waiting to board plane to Zurich at 2315pm.this airport is huge.i think momona would fit in one of the gate areas.just about got lost but the people working here are great.get to Zurich at 0610 and then on to Paris at 0735.bit tired.been up since 6am.might try and get some sleep on the later.take care.cyril.

on way to Hong Kong & Paris

Well I am on the way to hongkong,1st stop,then on to Zurich and then Paris.boy was I a bit worried when I got to Auckland.found my way around though.excited plus.big step but loving it.will arrive just after 9pm.then on to Zurich just here we come.take care everyone.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WhiskyLIVE Paris

We land Friday morning, and by midday Saturday, we'll be pouring NZ Single Malt down froggy throats! Can't wait to see our Single Malt from Otago, in amongst so many legendary whiskies. Take a look at 
Whisky Live is an international event that travels throughout the world all year long, from Shanghai to New York, via London and Johannesburg. Since 2003, Paris has been hosting this event every year during the month of September.
This year, nearly 120 exhibitors from the world of whiskies and spirits are once again expected to attend this key gathering.
Whisky Live Paris 2013 will allow you to discover the world of whiskies and spirits while expanding your knowledge in various ways:
  • Through the tasting of new products, famous traditional blends and collector edition whiskies in an area dedicated to the greatest spirits.
  • Through personal encounters and workshop discussions with exhibitors and renowned experts. Such exchanges contribute to the richness of the event.
  • Through associations and experiences: this year, the emphasis will be on experiences combining culture, history, creativity and tasting. Discovery will abound through pairings with fine food and the exploration of the world of mixology will take shape in many forms.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One Day To Go

Wednesday 25th September.
Hi guys,one day to go and the nerves are on fire.

bit of a dither packing but getting it sorted for the the biggest trip that this young fella has had. hey....who said old fella.just kidding :-) !ha!ha.

The whisky shows will be amazing with all the different people there and the large variety of whisky that will be there,the atmosphere that will be in the air,everyone there for the same reason.

To see the world's top class whisky and of course New Zealand’s top class 25 year old which will be launched in Paris.The best in my mind but of course i am biased but i do know our whisky is great.

For me to get offered this trip is truly fantastic and my thanks go out to the NZ Whisky Company and Greg Ramsay for giving me the honour of going. He wants me to upload a piccy of me packing....will see what i can do...Take care everyone.

Production Notes (for distilling geeks)

THIS POST (mainly on technical production) FROM Greg Ramsay, from the New Zealand Whisky Company:

These are a few tidbits from emails and Q&A's from our distributors, to & from Cyril (and me) over time, in relation to the production process

-Seagrams took over in 1981,i think they paid 3 million for the distillery,don’t quote me on that.

1) do you know why Seagrams took over? they recognised a regional production base, with a lower cost of production, servicing an unmet demand for legal NZ whisky, and a good production base from which to export to Aus (particularly gin) and Asia (for low cost bulk whisky)

The pot stills had a stainless base with a copper neck through to the condensers above which ran through to the spirit safe.There was a few minor repairs to the copper neck but nothing major.
Farras engineering joked to me that the indentations in the repairs would add more flavour to the spirit.

2) is there any truth in the story about the stainless steel stills?  Jim Murray writes about it in his early 1990s book, when he actually visited and spent some time at the distillery, (see link to article here)

An early Dunedin Distillery, in 1867 (about when Cyril started)

peating levels if peated, no technical info on this, however we can glean from Jim Murray’s mid 1990s book ‘Whisky’ which has a double-page feature on his visit and time at the Dunedin Distillery, as well as distiller Cyril Yates (who worked from 1972 until 1996 in the distillery as a Senior Foreman) that the distillers were getting increasingly confident with their use of Peat from the late 80s, and that the younger the whisky is/later the whisky was made, the peatier it becomes.

techy info on the fermentation times, i could get this from Cyril, but he may be doing his shift work over next few days and not be on email/have time. Any info Cyril on fermentation temperatures, volumes, ABV etc. would be terrific.

where the bourbon barrels came from, Four Roses distillery, Kentucky

what sort of barley was used (all this stuff is really important), Southland barley malted in Dunedin by Maltexo (one of the original developers of distillery). Please note, that even the DoubleWood, while being a blend is a blend of 70% malted barley, combined with 30% grain spirit from a continuous column still (which also spat out their base spirit for their gin). All the grain brought onto the property was still barley, but unmalted. I think this technically means the DoubleWood is a Single Grain (as in a Single distillery AND a Single Grain, but not all malted) but we just call it blended for simplicity!

where are the casks from – Seagrams brought all the 190litre bourbon barrels out from their Four Roses distillery in Kentucky, these were obvisouly once used, first fill American White Oak. After buying the last remaining stock from Fosters (150,000litres of cask strength) most of the Blend was then decanted by new owners Warren & Debbie Preston (a wine family from Tauranga, owners of well-known MillsReef winery) into their ex Syrah, Merlot & Pinot Noir barrels, which was French Oak. This is the famed Dunedin DoubleWood

Monday, September 23, 2013

Two days to go and there is so much to do,i have mowed the lawns for Sandra and hopefully done all the things for her that will make it easy while i am away.
Thoughts about the distillery days and the trip,i know that we had stainless steel everywhere in our distillery and that the comparison to us and Scotland may be a wee bit different.
In principal though all will be the same as distilling is the same wherever you go in the world.The smells emanating from the hot mash and the fermenting tanks were brilliant and always made me feel as if this was my place to be.
The whisky shows are going to be great as i am going to meet some amazing people there and also to show them our 25 YR OLD whisky which is a world winner in my mind.
Take care,
CYRIL YATES.WP_20130925_002.jpg

Not much sleep last night, my partner has the flu and coughed all night. I've been thinking about the distillery and the odd mistake that used to happen.
The Water of Leith on the site of the old distillery. 
When I was on shift as Shift Foreman I got a call at 2am one morning to say that a hose had got caught in an auger that took spent grain away to an outside bin.
I went into work and found about 20 foot of reinforced hose tightly packed into the auger and a very perplexed mashman looking at me and wondering how he was going to get the hose out.
First thing I wanted to know is how did he get it into the auger entrance and then we did a bit of a problem solve and reversed the auger and slowly pulled the hose out. One thousand dollars of hose saved.
Will not do that again! I was told never mind, we just carry on and it never did happen again.
Shift workers are a different breed and I did a lot of years. In fact, I’m still on shift now in a different job.
Take care everyone.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

my last shift at work tonight

my last shift at work tonight. I finish at 6am Sunday – it’s starting to sink in about my big trip. I’m getting excited but nervous- it should be great. When I started in the distillery being so young, I listened to all the older guys with all ears. They all took their time to show me what to do, although some were grumpy, I just took it in my stride. I went out to the bond store on the taieri plains when we had nothing to do and helped on the trucks taking the whisky out. I climbed into the racks to put the barrels in and had to watch my fingers didn’t get caught and chopped off. It was hard work - the truck drivers were a tough bunch- strong but they were good to me.

Friday, September 20, 2013

just read the itinerary for the Scotland tou

just read the itinerary for the Scotland tour - amazing. Will bring back so many memories for me. I would still be working in the industry if that were possible. Heaps to do but it was my yearning after being there for quite a substantial number of years.

We had two coopers when I started and they were amazing to watch. Stripping the barrels down and checking for leaks, hammering the hoops back into place without amiss. One of the coopers was a chap called Andy Huggins, a Scotsman with a very broad accent and when he got excited I could not understand him. One day he was re-charring the inside of a barrel with a gas burner, the barrel was on a roller and as Andy went to place the burner into the barrel there was a blowback which singed the eyebrows of Andy and a wee bit of his forehead hair.
I do not know who got the biggest fright but I knew Andy was excited because he was cursing and running around like a mad hatter. No damage done. He was a great guy.
I was 17 then. Lots to learn.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Scottish Itinerary - posted by Greg

EXTRACT FROM email to Stephen Rankin at Gordon&MacPhail (one of Scotland's oldest whisky companies)

-We fly in on Tuesday 1st October to Edinburgh arriving late in the morning and will pick up hire car. 

-We'll head into Edinburgh for Cyril to do some sightseeing and i'll visit my Great Aunt. As well as hopefully meeting with Chris Hoban from the E'burgh Whisky Blog, I would very much like to take Cyril to the Balmoral to see the whiskies he made, featuring in their spectacular new whisky bar (which you asked us to contribute stock towards). Can we have lunch/dinner with your charming Lothian rep? The barmen from Balmoral that came to the tasting were just super excited about the whisky, so hopefully they can assemble a few to have a dram with us and quiz Cyril on how it was made, and what unique selling points they can communicate to their customers. We'll have the new 25y.o 46% whisky for tasting, so hope they'll be interested!
-Wednesday we'll drive up through a 10am morning meeting i have in St.A's at the R&A, and push on through some speccy highland scenery to i have to interview a couple who have applied for a position back here in Tasmania. We'll stay the night there probably.
-Thursday we'd love to tour BenRomach if possible? so that Cyril knows he's left Scotland having seen one of the legendary distillerys (Mortlach) and one of the rising stars (BenRomach). As i've already toured B'romach, I would love to get a game of golf in at Castle Stuart or Nairn or Lossiemouth, will you have time to join me? sometime i'd love to do a private tour of Mortlach if we can organise (are you able to make an intro there? they have a pic of my Grt-Grt G'father Gregor MacGregor as head Brewer, before he emigrated - or should i contact directly?) and Elgin for the night. would be great for you/any of your team to meet Cyril for dinner perhaps?
-Friday we'll make our way to Aberdeen and fly out. We'll have a hire car to drop at the airport, so if you want to come across with us to fly down, i know you're good company! There are some mid/late arvo flights i'm eyeing off. Alternatively, we may fly out of Inverness.
1 week to go.lots to do,what to pack?.stories about the distillery days.16 yrs old.painting and stenciling barrels,getting them ready for filling with spirit.300 average a week.helping in the bottling foreman Tom Rogers,a great boss and a gentleman.miss those days.very young-my eyes were wide open taking it all in


Cyril Yates committed over 20 years of his life to distilling whisky in New Zealand. And although promised a trip to New York for his dedication by Seagrams, the corporate giant never delivered.

Now, 20 years later, CEO Greg Ramsay of the New Zealand Whisky Company is sending Cyril on his first ever overseas adventure as a thank you for the role he’s played in distilling whisky now earning accolades across the world.

“I can’t believe I’m off overseas next month,” says Cyril, “I’m really so grateful and excited to Greg and the New Zealand Whisky Company. I’m heading to Paris for a whisky launch, to London for Whisky Live and to Scotland to visit some of the oldest distilleries; places I’ve only dreamt of going.”
Cyril began as a 16-year-old boy, painting whisky barrels out the back and ended up as distilling foreman, spending much of his formative years at the distillery. As such, he’s a fundamental part of the success of New Zealand whisky today.
Follow Cyril’s adventure (he departs this Thursday) but following his blog. You’ll find his first entry below;

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not long to go,back to work tomorrow and all I think about is the trip.looked up the net,1st time visitor to Paris last night.good info-re-trip advisor.dreaming about distilling last night.never forget,21 yrs.too long to let go.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Some background info from Cyril

there were only 25 staff total at the distillery,9 on shiftwork,3 in the boilerhouse,plus office staff,sales etc.
We operated 6 days a week,24hrs a day.When the Americans from Seagrams came out we worked solid till they went home again.

The equipment could be anywhere by now as they auctioned everything off. Pity as we had alot of good machinery,vats,stills etc.The gin still went to an old winery so i was told for a pittance of the price.

As i was the youngest staff member in the distillery when i joined the company there are not many staff left.They have all passed away.

I will make some calls and see what i can find out about the staff and equipment.

Have a great day.
Take care mate....Cyril Yates.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Cyril's first contact to The NZ Whisky Company

Hi Greg,
My name is cyril yates,
After reading the local paper..Otago Daily Times dated 27.01.12 I was struck with awe after reading the article regarding the building of a distillery in Dunedin or Oamaru.
I phoned Kaye at The New Zealand Malt Whisky Company and had a lengthy chat with her regarding my employment with Wilson Distillers Seagrams from 1974 to 1995 when we were made redundant.
I had various roles at the distillery and regarded it as my career in life.
I was the longest serving member of staff at the distillery working as assistant foreman for 10 months before returning to my role as shift leader for considerable years.
I would like the oppurtunity to get involved with your distillery and have much to offer.
Kaye has kindly asked me to travel to Oamaru for a visit on Waitangi weekend 6th Feb to talk with her about my knowledge and to show me around which I would enjoy greatly.
I am a young 54 yr old with heaps of knowledge to offer and would appreciate the chance to be involved with a distillery once again.
Kind regards,
Cyril Yates.