Tucked away in little old Tassie lives the ‘Godfather of Australian whisky’. Why does Bill Lark dwell here? Because he realised that everything needed for a world-class whisky was in Tasmania — “rich fields of barley, an abundance of wonderfully pure soft water, highland peat bogs and the perfect climate to bring all the ingredients together in a marriage of science, art and passion”.
That means visitors to Tasmania can enjoy some of the best whisky in the world. And we’re not just saying that. Only days ago Mr. Lark was inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame at the World Whisky Awards in London.
Mr. Lark happens to be the first distiller in the southern hemisphere to receive this status. The induction draws international interest and is a permanent tribute to those who’ve made a lasting contribution to the whisky world. Tasmania Distillery (who produce Sullivan’s Cove Whisky) also enjoyed success, winning the Icons of Whisky award for Craft Distiller of the Year as well as Best Australian Single Malt.
Even though Mr. Lark is only the seventh person outside of Scotland or Ireland to be inducted, what makes this Tasmanian special is his willingness to share knowledge. He has assisted more than nine start-up distilleries across the island and believes that “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
What that means for whisky lovers coming to Tasmania, is that there’s plenty of this golden drop available, and at an internationally sought-after quality. With eleven distilleries in total and another four on the way, there’s good reason that distillers on this island have trouble keeping up with demand.
The best way to enjoy a dram here is to visit a cellar door or hop on a tour. Perhaps start your tastings at Mr. Lark’s city bar in Davey Street? From there you can wander across to William McHenry’s tasting stall at the newly opened Brooke Street Pier.
Alternately, there are excellent tour options, including Tasmanian Whisky Tours. Hop aboard and you’ll visit three or four distilleries on a full day tour, tasting up to ten local single malts, meeting makers and learning about the distillation process. Plus, no need to worry about driving home!
Another popular option is Bespoke Tours. These folk take you down near Port Arthur where Master Distiller William McHenry guides you through the gin making process. Become your own distiller for the day, enjoy a gin-matched lunch before labeling your very own 400ml gin blend to take home.
For more information visit:
Our header image is Bill Lark behind the bar at Lark Distillery on the wharf in Hobart.