Christmas is still a way off but there is a way you can taste some of its sweetest flavours. Hints of plum pudding or Christmas cake are found in Bill Lark’s single malt whisky.
The whisky developed by Bill and his wife, Lyn, took a decade to nurture. Its old-world flavours are such that even the Scots, whisky connoisseurs from around the world, and perhaps even Santa Claus, are interested in Lark’s Tasmanian whiskies.
Bill is of the opinion that the clean and fresh produce available on the island not only helps attract visitors but also helps craft whiskies of distinction. Tasmania grows some of the world’s best brewing barley and it helps nurture the plum pudding flavours.
“The great thing about what is happening here in Tasmania is we are buying our malt from Cascade Brewery and they are using a brewing malt which is how whisky used to be made years ago in Scotland – many whisky makers even in Scotland tend to use a distilling barley specifically developed to give a high yield of alcohol but the rich malts [and flavours] have been sacrificed,” Bill says.
For those who might shy away from a dram of single malt Bill has a suggestion. “Try it with some ice in it. As the ice melts it dilutes the whisky down and takes the bite off. It opens up lots of flavours. People get a very enjoyable experience without spoiling the whisky. A lot of people get quite interested in the different characters of whisky just from that experience. In our whisky when you taste it up front you get this delicious note of plum pudding or Christmas cake.”
Lark’s cellar door, their whisky bar, is near the Hobart waterfront. But there are other ways to get a shot of warmth or even a hint of Christmas cheer during winter.
Hellyers Road Distillery
The Hellyers Road Distillery in Burnie, on the north-west coast, is the largest single malt whisky distillery in Australia. The Original Pure Australian Single Malt Whisky is their flagship product. It’s distilled from Tasmanian grown malted barley, Roaring Forties rainwater and yeast and does not have any artificial colouring. Visitors can learn about the distilling process on a guided tour ($12.50 for adults). There is also a tasting counter and gift shop at the distillery.
The Nant Estate, near Bothwell, was first settled circa 1821. The distillery, including a water-driven wheel which drives stones that grind barely to grist, is part of a fantastic restoration of a colonial-era property.
In the Tasting Room is extraordinary bespoke wallpaper featuring Arcadian scenes. The wallpaper, crafted by Tasmanian artist Milan Milojevic, is alone worth the trip to Nant. Never mind the whisky or the extraordinarily memorable refurbishment that has taken place here.
Nant is open for tours from Thursday to Monday from 10am to 4pm. The tour costs $12 per person. A whisky tasting costs $10 and includes tasting notes. Visitors can visit Nant to taste the whisky and not do a tour. Lunches are available by appointment.
www.nant.com.au and 03 62595790.
Bill Lark attending to casks