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Lark Distillery is located in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
Established in 1992 the Lark Distillery was the first distillery to legally operate in Tasmania since 1839. The distillery was the vision of Bill Lark, who realised that everything needed for a world-class whisky production, was available locally in Tasmania - pure soft water, high quality barley, highland peat bogs and the perfect climate for maturation.
Bill Lark's epiphany of producing Tasmanian single malt whisky apparently came to him whilst on a trout fishing trip in the highlands of Tasmania. As Bill and his farther-in-law enjoyed a dram of single malt whisky, surrounded by barley fields and the gentle flowing of the Clyde River, Bill remarked, "I wonder why there isn’t anyone making malt whisky in Tasmania".
To achieve his vision of distilling a Tasmanian single malt whisky, he would face several obstacles. The most difficult was that by Australian law the minimum still size had to be of 2700 litres capacity, which was far too large for his craft distilling requirements.
With the support of a Tasmanian Member of Parliament, he was successful in getting the Distillation Act of 1901 changed to allow smaller stills. This was a significant step towards establishing not only Lark Distillery, but also the other whisky distilleries that followed around Australia.
The Lark Distillery Combining Art, Science & Passion A Recipe for Success
Tasmania’s own unique cool climate Franklin barley is unlike any other in the world. Specially developed on the island, this high yield, robust grain is also the secret behind the success of Tasmania’s world famous beers. The barley is specially malted for the distillery at the Cascade Brewery in Hobart.
The peat and the peating methods used are unique in the world. Lark Distillery pioneered a ‘dry malt peating’ method where previously malted and dried barley is re-hydrated to a specific moisture content and then peat smoked in the 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. Using Tasmanian peat from the distillery owned private bog in the central highlands. Consisting 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.
Yeast & Water
After several experimental wash brews (and some expert advice from the
Cascade Brewery) the distillery created its 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.
The Lark Stills
Designed by company founder Bill Lark and handcrafted by Peter Bailey, they were the first of their kind.
Consisting of : 1800 litre wash still, a 600 litre and 500 litre spirits still and an 80 litre botanical still used to distil the different plants and spices used in the 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 2 more sets to the proposed Kingsbarns Distillery in Scotland.
Barrels, Aging & the Tasmanian Climate
Unlike the Scots, the whisky is matured in custom made ‘quarter cask’ 100lt Barrels. A far more expensive way to mature spirits, they create deep, complex whisky. Jonathan Scott of the Glengoyne Distillery recently likened the ‘small cask’ whisky to an 18 year old Scotch from a typical 400-500 litre barrel.
Most of the barrels were originally used for ageing Premium Australian Port and Sherry, arguably some of the best examples of fortified wines in the world.
These large casks are re-coopered down to the 100, 50 and 20 litre sizes, at which time they are shaved and heavily charred Cabernet and Shiraz wine barrels, with excellent results so far.
A major portion of the whisky’s ‘soul’ is determined by the barrel and its many variables. This larger barrel surface area to volume ratio combined with the Tasmanian relatively short mild winters and warm summers are two major reasons these “younger” whiskies consistently out-score the Scots. Encouraging the expansion and contraction of the barrels, allows the whiskies to breathe in and out of the oak and are able to extract additional flavours with far greater success.
Single Barrel Bottling
Each and every barrel released is a celebration of the distillery individualism. Whilst the overall style of whisky is strictly maintained, it is something to be amazed at, the subtle flavour & aroma variations that naturally occur from barrel to barrel.
Rather than try to blend these away, They 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.
The Lark Distillery range includes:
Lark Single Malt Whisky,
Lark Single Malt Whisky - Cask Strength,
Lark Single Malt Whisky Distillers Selection.
Slainté Malt Whisky Liqueur.
The whiskies are all Kosher Certified.
14 Davey Street,
Open 7 days a week from 10am to late. Please contact The Distillery for details before Travelling and for seasonal closing times.
Phone: + 61 3 6231 9088