By Franz Scheurer
What started with a lot of passion, determination and a tiny 80 litre pot-still in Kingston, south of Hobart in 1992, is now a thriving business occupying prime space in an old waterfront merchant’s building on Hobart’s Constitution Dock.
Clean air, pure water and a pristine environment are paramount in producing good spirits, especially Single Malt Whiskies; and Lyn and Bill Lark produce a cracker, using Tasmanian Franklin barley, malted by Cascade breweries, and peat from Lark Distillery’s own peat bog located in Tasmania’s Central Highlands. Lark ages its Single Malts in 50 litre and 100 litre casks and always bottles them as single cask whiskies. They produce a Malt Whisky Liqueur and are the only distillery to bottle ‘new make spirit’, which they sell as Pure Malt Spirit. They also produce premium Vodka and Gin with a difference, using native Tasmanian pepperberries for added flavour; their Bush Liqueur is also based on pepperberries. These are all world-class products and deserve our patronage.
Lark Distillery Pepperberry Vodka, 37.5 % a/v
Appearance: Perfectly clear.
Nose: If you have ever tasted a native Tasmanian pepperberry then you will recognise the aroma immediately. If you haven’t, you might find it reminiscent of juniper berries.
Palate: Smooth and absolutely dry with eucalypt bass notes and geranium high notes.
Comment: A terrific Vodka for a Martini.
Lark Distillery Pure Malt Spirit, 45 % a/v
Appearance: Crystal clear.
Nose: Strong fig and raisiny notes with tobacco and wet hemp.
Palate: Malty and slightly smoky with strong cereal notes.
Comment: Described on the label as ‘Earth, Fire & Water’, it is indeed a sensory travel through earthy notes with the heat of the fire being toned down by reducing the spirit to 45% a/v.
Lark Distillery Malt Whisky Liqueur, 37 % a/v
Appearance: Golden with a tinge of mahogany.
Nose: Faint rummy notes are overshadowed by spice and honey.
Palate: Mouth-coatingly sweet without being cloying. Lots of nutty, spicy, Christmas pudding notes, ending quite dry with good length.
Comment: A terrific liqueur, certainly able to hold its own amongst any of the world’s whisky liqueurs.
Lark Distillery Single Malt Single Cask Whisky, 40% a/v
Appearance: Light straw.
Nose: Lots of cereal notes and some pencil shavings.
Palate: Initially dry with the cereal notes confirmed, it slowly reaches out and coats your whole palate getting more floral in the process. Faint echoes of peat with almost Speyside-like grassy notes and a long, sweet finish full of meadow flowers.
Comment: We can all be proud to see an Australian Single Malt of this quality on the world stage.
Shake equal quantities of Lark Distillery’s Bush Liqueur and Campari with lots of ice and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a curl of cucumber skin.