The second review for the month, is one that’s a bit closer to home, though a few sips (*skips*) to the right and a hop to the south, Tasmania. A local expression, from the distillery that re-spawned the art of distilling whisky after a very long hiatus – The Lark Distillery. My last brush was with their Chinotto cask release, this time however leaned on more traditional finishes – Brandy and Ex-Sherry Casks.
This expression is a “restrained” hotch-potch of barrels from several collaborations, some organic while others external. Bourbon, ex-sherry and American oak casks from the Bothwell distillery, an acquisition, ex-sherry casks from South Aussie winery Seppeltsfield along with some of their own Brandy barrels. The maturation and finish give the whisky good colour, natural from what I understand and is bottled in the usual hip-flask styled, thin necked bottling.
ABV : 53.5%
Eye : Tawny | Natural Colour, Non Chill Filtered
Nose : Soft, mellow, rich and buttery like the humble raisin cake with a drizzle of caramel sauce. Lots of depth from stone and dry fruits – dates, prunes, plums and peaches, coupled with strong influences of sherry. Interleaved in between the sweetness are hints of savoury sundried tomatoes and oak, layered with hints of cardamom and pepper.
Taste : Lush caramel with sherried notes and a mild dryness on the palate. Raisins and honey, plums and nectarines, vanilla cake interrupted with spiced earthy wood, hints of cinnamon sticks and ground pepper.
Finish : Medium to long; Caramel, sultanas and red wine with a woody profile.
The culmination of varied maturation from a hosts of casks have brought Christmas in a lovely bottling. Comforting and well bodied, this expression isn’t overwhelming but balanced and complex; both in terms of depth and breadth. I don’t favour heavily sherried bottlings and this wasn’t dominating at all; maybe sweet for some, but keeping all that aside there was sheer joy bouncing off the senses that made this whisky warm and compelling.
At about AUD $299, it will be a burden to the pocket and part goes to the heavy taxes. But I do love grabbing their 100 ml bottlings that comes cheaper and at the same time reminds me of what a fine spirit this is. A bottling that is an outcome from varied maturation that stems from a penchancy for experimentation!