Folks are making whiskey all over the world, even in far-flung places like Tasmania, Australia, where Lark Whiskey hails from.
The company makes a variety of spirits but the highlights are three single cask, single malt whiskeys produced in the Scottish style of Islay, with local barley and, yes, Tasmanian peat over which it is dried. Local yeasts and water are used in the bottlings, which do not carry age statements but which are typically aged for three to five years in barrel.
We got to try all three members of the lineup. They’re all available in the U.S., but you’ll have to hunt pretty hard to find them.
Lark Single Malt Whisky – Cask #648, 86 proof – Big malty grain notes reminiscent of white whiskey on the nose, and more on the palate. Young and fresh, it comes across with bread character, then fades to citrus — orange and lemon. The finish is on the short side, with a bit of alcoholic burn in an otherwise smooth spirit. B-
Lark Distiller’s Strength Whisky – Cask #659, 92 proof – Nuttier on the nose, with more orange and orange peel notes. Still has that youthful spirit, bread, yeast, and malt, but it’s more subdued and better balanced here. Surprisingly, though it’s a hotter whiskey, this one has considerably less bite to it and a more lasting, pleasant finish that offers sweetness and some nougat character. B+
Lark Cask Strength Whisky – Cask #659, 116 proof – Same cask as the Distiller’s Strength (unless that’s a misprint), but uncut from cask strength. Fiery, but flavorful. More wood character here, but the alcohol gets in the way of some of the Distiller’s Strength version’s charms. It’s still got spunk, though, with those nut and citrus notes coming on in the finish, but it ultimately feels a bit more simplistic as a spirit than the more nuanced Distiller’s Strength. B