What a difference time makes in the world of whisky!
Six years ago we were first introduced to the whiskies from a small Tasmanian venture called Larks. Back then, good Australian whisky seemed well beyond the horizon. We commented "The Larks tell us that the Scots have been very supportive of this project and given the similar environments Tasmania and Scotland share, one could reasonably anticipate a whisky of some merit. This is a nice whisky in the lighter style, but it is not one of the great examples of the spirit. Time may change this however, and credit must be extended to the Larks for their efforts. Perhaps the Scots are yet to yield all of their whisky making secrets?"
Not only unique - an absolute belter of a whisky!
We were recently visited by Lark's founder, Bill Lark, and his offerings confirmed what we'd anticipated in 2003. These are sensational whiskies that are now winning praise, awards and top reviews world wide from Malt Maniacs, Jim Murray and the World Whisky Awards.
It was an epiphany of sorts that led to the birth of Lark's distillery. Bill Lark, a keen fly fisherman and Scotch whisky enthusiast was drinking Cardhu with friends whilst cooking the day's catch. The conversation naturally turned to Scotch, when Bill suddenly recognised Tasmania's untapped potential to produce whisky. Ample clean water, clean air, some of the world's best barley, as well as peat bogs scattered across the Highlands "ticked all of the boxes." Lark's distillery was founded in 1992, and has produced whisky continuously since. Along with pure Tasmanian water and locally grown Franklin Barley (malted at the famous Cascade Brewery), the grain is also lightly peated using Bill's unique post-malting infusion method, a technique which the Scots themselves are now keen to emulate. The spirit is then matured in 200-300 litre barrels previously filled with Australian Sherry or Australian Port. Larks is also home to the world’s youngest female distiller, Kristy Lark, who has followed on as distiller under Bill's careful supervision. Impressed by her results, the International Institute of Brewers and Distillers awarded Kristy a scholarship to visit Scotland, where she had the opportunity to be influenced by the greats of the whisky industry. These current bottlings from this tiny distillery's 'early period' may well be collector's pieces come ten years time. Right now it's enough that they're just so damn good!