Fair Exclusive: Lark Private Bottling 2018

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Few names encapsulate the modern Australian whisky boom like Lark and it’s with great pride that we welcome them back to Sydney Whisky Fair in 2018.

The story of Bill Lark and his push to start a craft distillery in Tasmania is one that’s been well told. The landscape then and now are almost unrecognisable and a lot of that change has come from the hands of Lark. Once on the forefront of telling the Australian whisky story, the distillery recently spent 18 months off the shelves of retailers as they built back up their stock supplies.

It was an almost unthinkable reality for a brand that had become one of the most renowned for consistency and supply in the volatile Aussie whisky market.

We’ve seen a trickle back in store this year, starting in March, but bottles have flown off the shelf as quick as we could stack them. It’s just one of the reasons why we’re excited and humbled to confirm that one of this year’s Whisky Fair Exclusives is from Lark.

After we explained what were looking for, Lark distiller Nathan Reeves came back with cask LDF 6223 – a 20 litre ex-bourbon finishing cask.

The original cask strength was about 65%, we tried it at a number of strengths and opted to cut it to their ‘house’ 58%. It was a tough call, because it was arguably at its best between 45% and 48%, but we wanted to give you the option to add water.

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We’re releasing this in 100ml bottles, to ensure that as many people as possible get an opportunity to try it.

Our tasting notes will come post-Fair (let’s all make up our own minds this weekend first) but we’ll just say this is soft and elegant – in our view an exceptional example of the current, and future, Lark style.

This is the second time The Oak Barrel has bottled a whisky from Lark – in 2012 we bottled an Apple Brandy cask finish. It was the very first Fair bottling and a release that is now resigned to history.

To be released at the Fair, it’ll be selling for $55 during the event. It’ll also be available to taste – alongside core and limited edition Lark expressions – with Bill ‘The Godfather’ Lark in attendance to have a chat.

Thanks to Jemima Phelps from Lark for the photos.