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Author: Nicholas Henare

Fantastic gintastic: Big Daddy’s

Metropol writer Nicholas Henare wraps his tastebuds around a few of the different gins on offer at Big Daddy’s Liquor this month.

One of the go-to beverage festivals of the year is Gindulgence. I went along with Big Daddy’s to sample some of the best gins that New Zealand has to offer. Classic gin, contemporary gin, pink gin, barrel-aged gin, navy gin, the list goes on!

Talking to Karen Harrower from National Distilleries to learn the intricacies of its gins, I discover that New Zealand has more than 100 options from local distilleries. Big Daddy’s liquor selects the cream of the crop. The gin resurgence is not surprising. Combined with one of the 16 Fever Tree tonics and mixers available, gin can be customised to however you want it. Add New Zealand botanicals to the mix for even more options.

Don’t forget Gintastic is coming to Christchurch Saturday October 30, another wonderful beverage event.

Crystal Head Pride Vodka

Celebrating diversity with a coloured Crystal Head vodka bottle, the infamous skull bottle is still filled with a pure and classic tasting vodka to drink straight or add to a cocktail. A show of support to the LGBTQIA+ community, this great vodka is now in a multicoloured skull bottle. A great talking point around your liquor cabinet.

Glenfiddich 12Yrs Old

Since 1887, Glenfiddich has been using the same water and perfecting the art of great whisky in the valley of the deer. Matured in American oak and European sherry oak casks for 12 years, this one has a sweet and creamy mellow finish. My grandad drank it so who’s to argue with him. A great dram with friends.

Redemption Bourbon

This easy drinking whiskey is distinguished by a subtle rye forward flavour because of its 21 percent rye content, giving it a light hint of spice. Great straight, but wonderful in a classic bourbon sour or your favourite bourbon cocktail. Think caramel with over ripe bananas. Bourbon bliss.


The National Distillery, The Proof

You want to make a unique copper-stilled gin from New Zealand botanicals? Well, here’s The Proof; a limited-edition spirit that proves the National Distillery is still bringing innovation and refinement to its brand with time-honoured traditions.

The National Distillery Verdigris Gin

A gin inspired by the classic London dry gin bouquet. A supporting duo of lemon peel and native flax seed. With the taste of New Zealand pine, citrus and orris root, it’s an approachable, easy drinking dry gin. A great all rounder for any palate. Add a Fever Tree tonic for a great classic dry.



Defying the limits


Your pulse is racing. You’ve managed to figure out how the butterfly doors open so at least you can slide into the McLaren GT.



You have been shown the button that raises the vehicle in case you need to go across a judder bar or up an angled driveway without tearing off the underside of the car because it’s THAT low. You’re clenching the key as you ease into the sports leather seating of

McLaren’s mid-engine V8 supercar Grand Tourer (GT) and push start.

WOW! Seconds later the exhilarating roar of the engine brings the biggest smile to your face as you leave AVID car detailing at 59 Harmen Street where Giltrap Motor Group has brought some of its finest cars to Christchurch to share with autophiles like me. There are three modes. Comfort, Sport and ‘my insurance policy won’t cover that one’. I’m sticking to comfort until I hit the motorway.
Stopping at the start of the 100km sign, I drop it into sport and put my foot down. Immediately I’m pushed back in my seat, and oh what a comfortable seat it is. The 4-litre V8 reaches 100kmh with its 612 horsepower in 3.2 seconds. I didn’t see that myself, but I don’t doubt that it is true.

Motorways are great for slow curving speed bends but it’s the Port Hills where I test its agility. I leave early to hit the sunrise at Godley Head so photographers Harrison Fann and Jack Morgan have the best lighting to capture its angled beauty. Every bump and turn is felt, and the car hugs the ground as each wheel knows exactly what to do.

My main fear is overdoing it. I had a friend who wrote his off, sending it into a ditch so I’m very aware that as good as I think I am, the car might have other ideas. Shaun Summerfield from Giltrap was right though, don’t be afraid. The car’s designed to do most of the work; you just point it in the right direction and watch as you corner as if it is on rails. ABS and driveline traction control keep this puppy safe. Jordan Darrow from Auckland McLaren says: “The McLaren GT is the every day supercar with an emphasis on comfort and being lightweight” and I agree.

Accelerating out of a tight corner in the GT is arguably every car-lover’s dream; it’s almost impossible to describe it. Cool? Nah! Super Cool! Using the metal paddles for a manual option raises it a whole nother thrill level.

The Bowers and Wilkins sound system is blasting out my favourite drive music, yet the sweetest sound is hearing the engine roar as I purposely corner in lower gears. You can choose your sound options at no extra cost, even if the engine itself is music to your ears.

There’s room enough to throw your golf clubs in the back plus space for luggage too. The McLaren GT comes with a nice glassy tailgate but no “there’s my engine” flashiness. It is totally refined, and its angles are pure art. The carbon fibre body is strong and light and less angled than its racetrack equivalent. Yes, sexier!

Standing watching the sunrise above Scarborough was breath-taking. Combine that with the experience of driving a supercar at the top of its game and you have my number one drive of all time.

The cliché is right: It is the journey not the destination… in a McLaren Grand Tourer V8.




Stocking up on staples: Big Daddy’s Liquor


Metropol writer Nicholas Henare samples a few of the top drops on offer at Big Daddy’s Liquor this month.


If you are just starting out in your beverage experience this month, see some great introductory bottles that are easy on the palate and good on the pocket too with Big Daddy’s specials.

Johnnie Walker is a staple in most beverage cabinets and it is great to see the White Walker on release.

Wild Turkey is a GREAT Bourbon and excellent straight.

Jiu Jiu Vodka is from Golden Bay’s Kiwi Spirit Distiller, and a nice clean vodka is a great base for any martini.

Take 45mls of Jiu Jiu Vodka, 15 ml of dry vermouth, 10 ml of olive brine in a shaker with ice and voila, the perfect dirty martini.

Old Pulteney 12-year-old

Old Pulteney 12-year-old


A deep amber, almost red in hue with a slight hint of sea air on the scent. Vanilla sweetness with a marzipan nuttiness. It’s a deep taste from a northern Scottish distillery for a new palate.


Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve

Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve


Started in the 1990s, Gold Reserve is luxurious, smooth whisky with vanilla, heather honey, woody, and dark fruit notes. A sweet smoky finish and another brilliant whisky from one of the world’s biggest sellers. I first tried it with French chef Manu Fieldel. His food tastes great, the whisky was just as good.


Wild Turkey Long Branch

Wild Turkey Long Branch


Wild Turkey and I have had some great nights and the “Long Branch” is an 8-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon refined with American oak and Texas mesquite charcoal making a smooth as silk double gold award winning bourbon. It’s my favourite bourbon for a reason and this small batch refinement is well worth a sip.


Johnnie Walker White Walker

Johnnie Walker White Walker


Something special from the Johnnie Walker stables. If you’re thinking “Game of Thrones” you’re on the money. Serve ice cold and this whisky will scare you. From the frozen north of Scotland think black pepper and cinnamon with a smoky finish. Winter is here!


Jiu Jiu Vodka


Jiu Jiu Vodka


Jiu Jiu vodka is triple distilled, and charcoal filtered with Golden Bay’s crystal clear aquifer spring water. A magical yet simple mixture creating a superb pure top-quality vodka for the discerning taste.



Size doesn’t matter

It’s not often I get taken off guard but my visit to Avon City Ford to pick up the Ford Puma, ST line, had me scratching my head. Sam Baker and I were going over the top things about the vehicle when out came the words: “It’s a one litre, three-cylinder engine…”



The silence was deafening. Gone are the thoughts that a mid-range SUV with great interactivity features with an application where you can preheat or cool your car via your phone, your wireless phone charging in the console storage area, automatic tail gate opening with foot or remote, sports seats and cool metal floor pedals and priced at a good $37,990 plus on roads.

Suddenly there’s an elephant in the room.

Okay! I decided to pick up a friend drive to Sumner on a beautiful autumn day. A simple heating/cooling system, nice stitching on interior panelling and good storage space/feature.

Leather wrapped gear stick and steering wheel, complete a great looking, simple interior.

The exterior was appealing also. So, the big test was how did it perform at 92kW.

I dropped my foot straight down from start and it took off, surprisingly well. Open road to 100Km/h and it’s flying along, effortlessly.

There you go, technology did the job. I dropped it back with half a tank of gas a week later and walked away thinking for the first time, size really doesn’t matter. Nice one Ford.


A labour of love: Big Daddy’s

Metropol writer Nicholas Henare samples a few of the top tipples on offer at Big Daddy’s Liqour this month.

When I write about Big Daddy’s specials, I’m fortunate enough to sit down with him and try them. Each special is personally chosen by him to bring you exceptional value on an exceptional spirit. Trying the Chivas Regal American Rye straight is an experience and as Big Daddy believes: “Don’t judge something till you’ve tried it.” But just in case you want this as a cocktail, try 30mls of Chivas, 20ml of Campo Viejo Rioja, 20ml lemon juice, 20ml sugar syrup, 60ml of soda water and an orange wedge to garnish, over ice. It’s different but you will love it. This month also brings you Big Daddy’s special reserve, which is a stunning Kentucky bourbon from Big Daddy’s private barrel. Each beverage is an occasion to be shared with good friends.

700ml $99.99


Bruichladdich Classic Laddie: As smooth as pebbles in a pool, this one is clean and fresh with the oak and the grain in perfect harmony. It looks like sunlight on fields of barley, with a floral nose of buttercup, daisy and cherry blossom.


1L $99.99

Woodford Reserve “Big Daddy’s Barrel”: Big Daddy’s own special barrel of fine bourbon whiskey from the Woodford Reserve distillery, a perfect blend of Kentucky whiskey since 1812. Straight bourbon whiskey with over 200 flavour notes with bold grain and wood for your pleasure.


700ml $69.99

Grey Goose Vodka: Grey Goose is distilled in France using the traditions of the Maître de Chai. Using only two ingredients, single origin Picardie winter wheat and natural spring water, it is favoured by Vodka purists worldwide.


700ml $79.99

Twelfth Hour Dry Gin: Twelfth Hour Dry Gin is a small batch New Zealand gin with 22 iterations uniting global botanicals with makrut (kaffir lime). Clean and crisp on the nose, with a lingering finish, it makes a punchy gin.


700ml $56.99


Chivas Regal Extra 13yrs: Having tried this exceptional whisky, I’m adding it to my collection as should you. This is a 12-year whisky moved into an American rye cask for an extra year to give it an extra mellow blend. Think creamy milk chocolate with orange.


Beaming all the way

If you are a car enthusiast, the BMW M Town is the ultimate in driving experiences; a global event that has BMW devotees fizzing at the opportunity to experience all elements of the new releases. As Metropol’s motoring writers, Ben Selby and I were lucky enough to be invited to Hampton Downs Racetrack near Hamilton last month to try out the best that BMW has to offer.



The slalom (taking road cones as fast as you can) was an agility test and I had a great time in the convertible Z4. Highly responsive and fun with the roof down, it handled well.

Next was the off-road in the X7 M50i. The all-terrain four-wheel drive featuring X-drive made this all too easy, although incline descent using the automatic decent feature and speed control plus the camera system had me doing things I wouldn’t try at home. Seeing just how much untapped potential there is in a beast like that was great.

The racetrack element was – of course – what we were all most looking forward to. International BMW drive instructor, Mike Eady and his team kept us safe.

The car range included the M5 Competition sedan, a V8 petrol capable of 0 to 100 in 3.3 seconds, with 750 in torque and 430 kW of evil at $234,300.

The M8 Competition coupe has similar specifications but a price point of $342,900 The shape on this is just hotness and the performance and holding were something else.

I was driving all models in a tweaked sport mode, giving me softened steering but acceleration and breaking at top performance.

The M8 stood out as the best performer, but it was the new M3 and M4 Competition models which took my eye and my drive experience.


The M xDrive system and Active M differential – complete with M – specific traction control, link up with the dynamic stability control (DSC) system to ensure precisely judged interaction for the driving situation in hand.

The M4 is certainly quick off the mark, and a touch bouncy at speed. Insert big smirk on my face here.

The new larger “kidney” grills and flared rear wheel arches have prompted mixed reaction. But, change is good and I think it is going to grow on everyone.

Coming in at $168,990 for the M3 and $172,990 for the M4, the models sell in a range of colours named after the world’s racetracks.

I love the M4 in Sao Paulo yellow and the M3 in Isle of Man green. It just pops.

With 260 participants taking part in the week-long event, it was great to be a part of a well-organised motoring occasion.

Ben took out the premium award, scoring a wonderful BMW race helmet, but I was the bad boy who drove too fast and hit to many road cones in the slalom. Next year Ben, next year!


Lavish restoration

Enzo Ferrari described the Jaguar E-type when launched at the Geneva Auto salon in March 1951 as “the most beautiful car in the world.” If you take a look from pretty much any angle, it is easy to see Enzo was right.


Now I am an Avengers fan. The 1961 English TV series, not the Marvel version, and that’s where you first see the E-type in the marketplace. Fast at 240km/h and sexy as hell, this isn’t your go to the supermarket to pick up a loaf of bread…or is it?

Jaguar Classic has unveiled its first matched pair of E-type 60 Collection cars and revealed full specification details for the 12 expertly restored and sympathetically uprated 3.8-litre E-types built to celebrate 60 years of the iconic sports car.

The E-type 60 Collection cars are restored and refined by the experts at Jaguar Classic in Coventry, and combine flawless quality and exceptional engineering know-how.

The most significant mechanical upgrade is a specially developed five-speed manual gearbox which features synchromesh on all ratios, helical cut gears and a reinforced cast aluminium casing for enhanced reliability and greater durability as well as closer gear ratios and smoother changes.

The 265bhp 3.8-litre six-cylinder XK engine benefits from an authentic 1961-style alloy radiator, with electric cooling fan and electronic ignition for everyday usability, as well as a polished stainless steel exhaust system.

This new exhaust system is dimensionally identical to the standard mild steel system but produces a slightly deeper tone and offers greater longevity.

In addition to the centre console, the bonnet badge, clock face within the tachometer, fuel cap and chassis plate are all finished with a commemorative E-type 60 logo created by Jaguar Design, featuring the years 1961 to 2021. A light beech-rimmed steering wheel, as fitted to 1961 cars, features a 24-carat gold horn push.

Every car is supplied with a tailor-made E-type 60 car cover, tool roll and jack storage bags to complete the enhancements and exemplify the attention to detail lavished on each vehicle.

In summer 2022, the six customers and their guests will take part in the ultimate E-type pilgrimage, creating their own set of E-type memories in classic English style. Now, if someone could loan me one, there’s a loaf of bread in a supermarket in Timaru I need to go and get.


In your glass: Big Daddys

A sophisticated tipple never goes astray. Metropol writer Nicholas Henare discovers the best drops at Big Daddy’s liquor stores this month.

I catch up with Big Daddy’s regularly to see what’s new each week, and see first-hand the great pride taken in making sure that the world’s finest whiskies, gins, liqueurs, champagnes and so much more are brought to you.

A whisky-loving friend had doubts that Big Daddy’s collection could be as diverse as his taste, but his jaw dropped as we perused the stock at the Blenheim Road store. It isn’t just about surprising even the most elite of beverage connoisseurs, even if you don’t know your Laphroaigs from your Glenmorangies, a great drink awaits you at a great price so everyone can enjoy something special.

So as the Scottish say when raising a glass, Slainte!


Teeling Blackpitts Single Malt Irish Whiskey

Chatting with Martin Lynch from Teeling, he says inspiration came from gold medal winning Teeling single malt, triple distilled. Using smoked peat to dry the barley, this whiskey is for the connoisseur looking for a very peaty flavour.

700ml $99.99


The Macallan 12 Years Double Oak

This forms part of the Double Cask range which marries the classic Macallan style and the unmistakable sweetness of American oak. This is a fully rounded single malt in perfect balance, with flavours of honey, citrus and ginger.

700ml $129.99



The Glenlivit Illicit Still

Inspired by our origins and made how our liquid was first crafted in the early 1800s, this drop is aged 12 years to perfection. Bottled at 48 percent abv, this limited-edition malt has not been chill filtered, giving you an authentic taste of history.

700ml $69.99


H Lanvin & Fils Champagne 

Champagne, the best of bubbles. A pale, gold champagne colour with fine notes and continuous bubbles. Fruity and sweet with notes of plum and raspberry jam, warm brioche and honey. Fresh and soft on the palate and finishes with a lemon flavour.

750ml, $39.99


Kraken Spiced Rum

The Kraken is an imported rum from the Caribbean. Named after the sea beast of legend, the rum is strong, rich, black and smooth. Aged in oak barrels for 12 months, and with aromatic notes of cinnamon, ginger and clove. Excellent by itself, fantastic in an exotic cocktail.

700ml $59.99


Making art out of machine

As you are cornering the hill section from Akaroa to Christchurch, you are very aware there is something special at play. Perhaps it is the monster M twin turbo V8 engine with M differential and electric power steering, or perhaps it’s the luxury cabin. It’s probably everything.




I guess that’s why BMW sales have jumped 50 percent in the year to December, and why it’s the only premium car brand to register 2000-plus cars in New Zealand last year.

The BMW X6 has 460kW of power with 750Nm of torque. That is something similar to the top line of any luxury sports cars and wow, you can really feel it. The eight speed M steptronic transmission is smoother than silk.

The luxury cabin has leather merino seating, lumbar support and cooling system meaning your journey is done in pure comfort.

That’s the package you’re getting for $231,900 though. Everything is top of the line.

With high roof rails in high gloss shadowline, the 21-inch bi colour alloy rims and that beautiful downward slope on the tail – you’ve got an SUV which almost overloads the senses.

The team at Christchurch BMW joked about telling the police I was on the road and to keep an eye out for me. But you really do need to keep an eye on your speedometer.

New Zealand is getting a great variety of BMWs hitting our shores, I caught up with Karol Abrasowicz-Madej, Managing Director at BMW Group New Zealand, to chat about it.

“2020 has been an extraordinary year for all of us, but we adapted to the times,” he says. “Our team pivoted our campaigns to boost the spirits of New Zealanders even as we entered lockdown, and further extended our offers to give customers more value.”

The X6 is just one of a plethora of great vehicles heading our way and who can’t get excited by the M3 and M4 heading our way with new kidney grills and flared rear tails.

Love it or hate it (I love it) the new changes are just pushing a great brand forward and when you’re sitting at the top of Sugarloaf watching the sunset behind a beautiful piece of machinery like the X6 M competition, you really are grateful that there is a designer out there making art out of a machine.




New take on a sporty classic

It’s not the typical jump-in-and-go-get-Fish’n’chips, but you will soon spot Maserati’s new range like the Ghibli, Quattroporte and Levante around the place with a more unified look.



Maserati started producing cars in Bologna in 1914 with the iconic trident as its bonnet’s standard.

It’s a luxury car brand making 75,000 globally yearly. Now, the brand has confirmed substantial changes in styling to their entire range are in store.

First, we’ll see a new front grill and light cluster on the two sedans and SUV. Inside, there is a new generation Maserati Intelligent Assistant – I wonder if it will give you the best pick on Italian restaurants?

Based on Android and not the almighty Apple, the big question is how far will the enhanced driver assist technology go?

The Ghibli sports sedan is also coming in a hybrid, Maserati’s first go at electric.

But don’t fret – with a complete range including V6 and V8 petrol, four-cylinder hybrid and V6 diesel powerplants, with rear-wheel and four-wheel drive, there’s pretty much something for everyone.

Then there is the MC20, named China Performance Car of the Year 2021. The highly anticipated awards were officially announced recently in Guangzhou.

Closely followed by both industry insiders and consumers, the awards aim to promote the continuous improvement of China’s automotive industry and market.

A jury comprised of 41 authoritative judges from the automotive media measure each vehicle against overall and market performance, as well as other key factors.

The MC20 is a very sexy beast though and, like you, I would love to get behind the wheel to get the full experience.

Developed by the Maserati Innovation Lab and produced at the historic plant in Modena, MC20 is 100 percent made in Italy.

Its superb looks conceal an uncompromisingly sporty soul, with the new 630 horsepower V6 Nettuno engine that delivers 0 to 100km/h acceleration in under 2.9 seconds.

Let’s say that again, 2.9 seconds!

With a top speed over 325km/h, that’s Christchurch to Ashburton in 16 minutes. “Sorry officer, was I speeding?”

The patented engine has been developed, designed, and built entirely in-house. With the new super sports car MC20, the trident brand officially started a new era.

The more I look at the images, the more I think I have a Maserati sporty soul.