As we continue with our most exciting and ground-breaking whisky release schedule to date, we thought we should take some time to clarify our strategy for evolving the Tasmanian Whisky envelope and delivering the best possible whisky experiences we can. We have noticed some queries around a couple of our latest releases, and thought it would be best to explain the reasons behind our new direction so that you can be confident of our commitment to transparency and traceability, including with our latest Wolf of the Willows release and our 2020 Christmas Cask release.
To all of us at Lark Distilling Co. our brands have a fingerprint and a personality. They are the embodiment and reflection of the people who craft, sell and contribute to them every day. Each one of our bottles is created by the most experienced whisky creation team in Tasmania. Should you get down to Tassie after the current travel restrictions are lifted, we would love to show you around our distilleries so you can meet the people who work so hard on all of our releases.
Our Nant brand is traditional. We use it to showcase Bothwell whisky in port, sherry, white oak and Bourbon casks. Each one is selected for its commitment to style and quality. Each bottle of Nant comes from Lark Distilling Co.’s Bothwell Distillery in the Central Highlands of Tasmania and is signed off by our cross company tasting panel. Going forward, we will be moving our Nant core range expressions (Port, Sherry, Bourbon and White Oak) from a single cask to a married style. This allows our whisky making team to find balance and synergies between casks and release whisky that is more readily available and of a higher quality and consistency than we have been able to achieve in the last couple of years.
Our Lark brand has seen a bit of a shift this year, it has grown to encompass our first ever blended malt (Symphony No. 1) and whisky from our Bothwell Distillery that did not fit under the Nant philosophy of excellence through tradition. For the last ten years, Lark single malt whisky has come from Lark Distilling Co.’s Coal Valley Distillery near Cambridge. Before this, it was distilled in Richmond, Hobart and even on Bill’s kitchen table, so we have never been constrained by geography, we have only ever chased quality, a story that is mirrored throughout the Australian whisky scene. We have also never been constrained by imagination or our pioneering spirit. Through this spirit, we have experimented with new wood types, new yeast varietals, unusual mash bills, peat trials, rum production, liqueur production and brandy. Searching for the best whisky has also meant that we have acquired other casks of whisky from across Tasmania. As these whiskies come of age, we will be asking the Lark Distilling Co. Whisky Creation team to put their own spin on these casks. This gives the team full licence to deliver Tasmanian Whiskies that will challenge the boundaries, excite the tastebuds and drive the Tasmanian Whisky category to new heights of creativity. These whiskies will be delivered under the Lark Distilling Co. label, but with the distillery called out on the label for full transparency, just as we have done with our Wolf of the Willows Release and 2020 Christmas Cask release.
There are two ways. First of all, our core range Lark products (Classic Cask and Cask Strength) are always distilled at our Coal Valley Distillery. As we evolve our packaging later this year, we will prominently showcase this fact on the relevant product label. Secondly, any limited release products going forward will say which distillery they come from, so Coal Valley Distillery or Bothwell Distillery (or any other distillery for that matter) will be on the label. These will be stylistically different spirits and deliver new and pioneering drinking experiences for Lark fans. We are privileged to have a portfolio of incredible casks from across Tasmania, from some of our favourite distilleries on the island. We will always deliver these in their best light, and will be calling out exactly which distillery they are from if they are to be released as a single malt, or we will call them out as a blended malt where appropriate.
Coal Valley’s style reflects a new make spirit that covers the entire tongue. It encompasses very wide cuts for depth of palate, and is usually followed up with a wisp of peat smoke. Flavours we aim for in the spirit are butterscotch, candied orange, and that hint of Tasmanian peat.
Bothwell’s style reflects a lighter, fruitier new make spirit. It sits further forward on the palate (due to an earlier second cut) and delivers fruitiness and lift. No peat smoke is present.
Old Hobart Distillery reflects a bright, fruity and orchard fruit-led spirit. It plays on the front of the palate, and delivers the lift expected from Bothwell, but with fewer tropical notes.
Distilleries are the physical locations where our single malts are made. Brand Names are the labels we use to sell these spirits. For us at Lark Distilling Co. these brand names need to fit to the philosophy and soul we associate with these whiskies. We also have to be respectful and mindful of the trademarks and brand names owned by others. In June 2020, we sold the Overeem name back to the Overeem family, however we still own some incredible whiskies from the Old Hobart Distillery in Blackman’s Bay. It would not be correct for us to use this trademark, especially as the whisky may not fit the personality that the Overeem team associate with their name. It would also be wrong for us to release these whiskies without an indication of where they have come from. This is why we print the name of the physical distillery on the front of the bottle.
Quite simply, we could not have made whiskies of this character from Coal Valley style spirit.
The floral and orchard driven single malts we brought together from Old Hobart Distillery for this marriage were begging to be introduced to stewed fruits, Christmas spices and a hit of warm plum pudding brought to the party by the Christmas fruit pie casks we designed.
It was like drizzling a Christmas pudding with warm custard and cooked, spiced apples.
The fruity, tropical notes in the whisky from Bothwell were selected to meet the malty and hoppy aromas left by the beer casks. In Wolf 1 and Wolf 2, we were searching for a compromise of flavour. Big spirit with a bit of peat was being asked to dance with big malt, hops and smoke delivering a whisky that loved to dance at the back of the palate.
For Wolf III, we wanted to upset the apple cart and aim for contrast. Big malt and smoke from the beer (dancing at the back of the palate), facing off with tropical whisky (focused on the front of the tongue) was always going to cause a reaction. The fallout was spectacular. The integration is there, but the tug of war between the spirit and beer was more than we could ever have hoped for. Luckily, the dancefloor was big enough for both elements to shine without too much noise! We are immensely proud of the result and are bold enough to say that it is our whisky team’s favourite of the III Wolf releases so far.
Finally, should you have any questions regarding our products in the future, please feel free to reach out. Should you need any guidance regarding where our whiskies are from, or indeed how we they were produced, our team of distillers, whisky makers and the whisky geeks in our office would be more than happy to receive any questions.
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