Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Lark Distillery

I wrote the below blog for the Distant Thunder Whisky Club, but I thought I'd also post it here for you lucky people!

To get to our rental cottage just outside of Cambridge, in Tasmania, we had to drive past the Lark Distillery. I wish I could tell you it was a romantic building situated in a grain field and next to a peat bog. Unfortunately it was a big blue shed in a grassy field! A field surrounded by vines, but nonetheless it felt odd as whisky isn't made from grapes.

You can't visit the distillery so the next day we went to the Lark Whisky Bar in Hobart for a taste!

The whisky bar is located in central Hobart next to the main wharfs. The 'bar' isn't quite sure what it wants to be. Part museum, there is an old whisky still and a small display about whisky making. Part shop, there is a large selection of Lark products which includes vodka, gin, brandy and rum as well as whisky.

It's also a bar. There is a decent range of scotch whiskies as well as Tassie rival Sullivan's Cove on offer. However, it's not the most impressive whisky selection you'll ever see. Beer, wine and other spirits can also be had.

You can taste their whisky at $3 per glass or four whiskies for $10. (The other Lark spirits can be tasted at $1 a go.)

We went for four whiskies for $10. I wish I could tell you it was a fantastic experience, but I'd be lying! I was asking the lady conducting our tasting about the barrels they use, how long they age their whiskies for, the difference between their products etc.... It wasn't quite as bad as talking to a brick wall, but it wasn't a lot better!

All I did manage to learn was that their whiskies are five to seven years old. They import all their bottles and majority of their barrels from France. They primarily use port casks, some bourbon and have recently secured a 'secret' source in NSW.

The first whisky to taste was the Lark Single Malt Whisky, 43%, a single cask whisky. Even though you are paying you get such a small measure it's difficult to determine the flavour. Two sips and it was gone! Light straw in colour it definitely isn't a complex whisky.

Lost on me, but the tasting notes describe spicy plum pudding, liquorice and mixed peel. I didn't detect much peat, which is odd considering Lark have their own peat bog in central Tasmania.

The second whisky was the Lark Single Malt Whisky Distillers Selection, 46%. I asked how the distillers collection was different from the regular single malt, to be told that the distiller particularly likes the flavour profile of the barrel. I couldn't detect any difference in taste, but you can tell that the alcohol content is slightly higher.

The final true whisky in their selection is the Lark Single Malt Whisky Cask Strength, 58%. Just like the first two whiskies it is single barrel. This was my favourite of the three whiskies once you got over the alcoholic shock. It was helped by being cut with a little water. There was a good floral nose.

The final of the four tastings was the Slainté a malt whisky liquer. Sweet on the nose and in the mouth it was almost sticky. It tasted of candy and light caramel.

It was fun to visit Lark. They've obviously got a passion for whisky, are a small boutique producer and working hard to try and make it financially viable. However, they've got a long way to go before they can start mixing it with the boys from Skye.


  1. It sounds as though you were disappointed by the tasting. That's a shame. Perhaps next visit will be better. This is my first visit to your blog and I spent some time browsing through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did. You've created a pleasant and informative place for your readers to visit. I enjoyed my time here and will be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Your blog has a nice quite interesting.
    Which is very clean. Simple but good one themselves.
    General information found quite good.
    It will be visiting often

  3. Sorry to hear about your experience Richard. Like everyone we have good days and not so good. Fortunately we've been having a lot more good than not...I personally invite you back for another round on me! as for the secret barrels, we were in negotiations with Seppeltsfield at the time and have now secured exclusive world class fortified wine barrels for our ageing. please check out our face book to see how that is going! Cheers
    Ross Dinsmoor, Lark Distillery

  4. Competition Highlights
    July 2011 the World Whiskeys Masters (United Kingdom)
    Super Premium – Single malt
    Lark Single Malt Cask Strength 58% - MASTER Trophy
    Single Malt – Premium
    Lark Single Malt Small cask aged 43% - Silver medal
    “Excellence will be recognised in category, region, age and design & packaging...
    The medals to be awarded are Silver, Gold and the ultimate accolade given in recognition of world's very best- Master”

    International Whisky Competition Chicago 2011
    Lark 58% Cask Strength Whisky Gold Medal –Whisky of the Year

    International Whisky Competition Chicago 2010
    Lark 43% Single Cask Release, Single Malt Whisky 2 Sliver, 1 Bronze Medal
    Lark 58% Cask Strength Whisky 1Silver, 1 Bronze Medal
    “-What made your whiskies win is basically the hard work and craftsmanship - I mean seriously, this is serious whisky - everybody was amazed! Congratulations!” -Sylvain Allard Managing Director IWC 2010

    International Malt Maniacs Lark 'Single Malt' Cask Strength

    Thumbs Up = Exceptional. “We don't hand out many of these ultra-solid 'thumbs up' signs these days, but when we do it is with good reason. This is reserved for the very rare whiskies that earn a score in the 90's while still being reasonably priced.”

    World Whisky Awards London 2009

    Best ‘other’ Single Malt Whisky 2009 LD100
    “This year’s competition saw more than 150 international iconic whiskies put through their paces during three rounds of tastings to win the coveted title of Best in the World”.

    Malt Whisky Society of Australia

    Trophy -Best Australian Single Malt Whisky 2009
    “Congratulations on an exceptional Whisky”
    -Craig Daniels, Chairperson, Malt Whisky Society of Australia

  5. Richard, I just found this page and it looks as if your devastating riposte to "Anonymous" (whose post I think made its point with elegant sufficiency), has silenced everyone. Well done You.

    1. Thanks Fiona, I'm pleased you valued my 'devastating' riposte.

      I am perfectly happy for people to disagree with my opinions on the whisky Lark, but all Anon did was a copy paste job. There were none of their opinions in there at all.

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