Thomson Whisky and Manuka Smoke Single Malt information:
Thomson Whisky, based in Riverhead, Auckland, seek to satisfy the treasure hunter within. Committed to quality over volume Thomson Whisky release only a limited number of hand-selected whiskies each year and is proudly 100% NZ owned and operated.
Thomson love what they do; making craft whisky for the modern enthusiast. Artisan. Premium. Progressive. By traditional methods for contemporary ends – it’s all about a passion for the spirit, creativity, and respect for the process.
Manuka Smoke Single Malt is a distinctly NZ dram using native Manuka Wood smoke. It’s made from 100% New Zealand grown malted barley, which has been kiln-smoked with native Manuka wood and distilled through copper pot stills. This single malt whisky offers flavours of natural smoke, cinnamon, clove, and Manuka oils on the palate.
Cacao origin information:
Located on the lush and remote Malekula Island, the small group of famers from Pinalum Village have been specialising in fine flavour cacao since 2015.
Organised by the tireless Olivier Fernadez from Gaston Cacao and managed by local villager Lily Buktan, this well run operation is challenging the traditional supply chain model that drives commodity prices down. With their work, the price that farmers individually get in hand is up to two to three times above the previous market practice.
When Olivier visits Pinalum, it’s a journey to get there. He loads his dirt bike onto the overnight ferry from Port Vila, then it’s a 30 minute ride along coral, gravel and sand roads, which get very muddy during the rainy season. Once at the village it’s incredibly lush, close to the coast, and surrounded by palm trees. After the days work it’s a social time, sharing food by the fire and drinking kava.
At Pinalum the boss is Lily. She oversees the fermentation and drying station, and works with her extended family to do the fermentation, drying, packing, storage and payroll.
Since Olivier started working with the farmers in 2015, he has deconstructed the traditional industrial model, and works to pay the famers as much as possible for growing fine flavour cacao. This involved building fermentation stations, drying stations and training individual farmers. Side projects have been developed to provide basic water and electricity services.