Latest update: July 4th 2009
LARK DISTILLERY MINIATURES
THE LARK DISTILLERY’S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
Tasmania’s own unique cool climate Franklin barley is unlike any other in the world. Specially developed here on the island, this high yield, robust grain is also the secret behind the success of Tasmania’s world famous beers. Our barley is specially malted for us at the Cascade Brewery here in Hobart.
The peat and the peating methods we use are unique in the world. Lark Distillery pioneered ‘dry malt peating’ where previously malted and dried barley is re-hydrated to a specific moisture content and then peat smoked in our custom built smoker. The finished whisky is typically ‘peated’ to around 8-15ppm (compared to an Islay whisky which may contain upwards of 40ppm) This method was studied and analysed in Scotland and proved to produce a cleaner peated malt than the traditionally peat dried ‘green’ malt used in other parts of the world. We use Tasmanian peat from our own private bog in the central highlands. Made up of layers of ancient native eucalypts, fresh water flora and modern day mosses, that when slowly burned, release an amazing aroma and an array of flavours unlike any in Scotland.
After several experimental wash brews (and some expert advice from the Cascade Brewery) we created our own unique blend of European yeasts best suited to fermenting the Franklin barley. Make no mistake, the yeast blend is a serious factor in determining flavour and for many distilleries, the recipe is a very closely guarded secret.
Tasmanian water is renowned as some of the purest in the world. The rainwater in the northeast of the state is considered the ‘world standard’ by which all other water purity is measured. In other words, it’s the best in the world.
Designed by company founder Bill Lark and handcrafted by Peter Bailey, they were the first of their kind. We have an 1800 litre wash still, a 600 litre and 500 litre spirits still and an 80 litre botanical still that we use to distil the different plants and spices used in our gin and liqueurs. The design has proven so successful that two additional sets have been built for the Nant Tasmanian Distillery as well as the Old Hobart Distillery (there are currently 6 distilleries in Tasmania) Perhaps even more impressive; plans are now in place to export 4 more sets to a new distillery in Scotland.
Barrels, Aging and the Tasmanian Climate
Unlike the Scots, we age our whisky in custom made ‘quarter cask’ 100lt Barrels. A far more expensive way to mature spirits, nevertheless they create deep, complex whisky. Mr. Jonathan Scott of the Glengoyne Distillery, Dumgoyne, Scotland, recently likened our ‘small cask’ whisky as similar to an 18yo Scotch from a typical 400-500 litre barrel.
-Consider a 25yo might have come from a 700 litre barrel
-Age before beauty? Not always.
Up until the whisky glut of the 1960s, the Scots believed that the ideal age to release a whisky was 8 years old
Consider also the oak; most of our barrels were originally used for ageing Premium Australian Port and Sherry, arguably some of the best examples of fortified wines in the world. We then have these large casks re-coopered down to the 100, 50 and 20 litre sizes, at which time they are shaved and heavily toasted. We are also pioneering the use of heavily charred Cabernet and Shiraz wine barrels, with excellent results so far. A major portion of our whisky’s ‘soul’ is determined by the barrel and its many variables.
This larger barrel surface area to volume ratio combined with our relatively short mild winters (compared to Scotland) and warm summers are two major reasons our “younger” whiskies consistently out-score the Scots. We encourage the expansion and contraction of our barrels, and believe that whiskies which breathe in and out of the oak are able to extract additional flavours with far greater success.
Single Barrel Bottling
Each and every barrel released is a celebration of our individualism. Whilst our overall style of whisky is strictly maintained, we are continually amazed at the subtle flavour and aroma variations that naturally occur from barrel to barrel. Rather than try to blend these away, we simply decide which of 3 strengths most suits that particular whisky and hand bottle it accordingly. Each label displays the cask number. The number of bottles obtained from the barrel is also recorded.
“Combining Science, Art and Passion...”
Each and every bottle of Lark Single Malt Whisky contains the very finest Tasmanian ingredients, exceptional distilling skill, and our genuine commitment to craft the world’s best spirits.
“Lark, Let your spirit fly...”
Thanks to Ross Dinsmoor (Global sales & marketing manager) for his support.