Whisky Review: Lark Cask Strength Port Cask 2014 #512

Style: Musky Fruits and Spicy

Nose:
Fat, musky, fruity aroma rising from the glass, take some grape bubblegum and a good crunch of chocolate waffle. Spice not forgiving at this strength, but through the wave awaits some clean malt with a teasing acidic touch to it.

Palate:
Full strength unleashed on the palate. More grape bubblegum and red fruits notes, then there is chocolate malt, assorted fruits – bright orange, coconut, banana… Burnt caramel sauce, holding up by pepper spice and a touch of bitterness from the oak to the mix. The sweetness of the caramel and assorted fruits are given time to shine, extra spice gives a good foundation, the flavours accumulate and anchor at the back end to give a brilliant mid-end palate. 

Finish:
Sweet toffee parties hard with a peck of vibrant grapes and spice. Soft malt taking a good, long and satisfying stroll to finish. 

Thoughts:
Very enjoyable Lark. Most Aussie cask strengths tend to give your nose some harshness but like this one, it mellows out after a while. Personally I enjoyed this quite a lot, larger-than-life muskiness, gigantic flavours keeping me busy, savory sweetness… Massive Port cask, massive spirit, the essence of Aussie style. 

☆ [Recommended] 

[58%・2014 Bottled・Original Bottling・No Age Statement・Single Cask ・Cask Strength・Non Coloured・Non Chill Filtered・Cask Number: 512 • *]

-Esmond

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 06

[59.1%・3 Years Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Brown sugar and ripe strawberry boiling away and dressed with red rose petals.  Slightly soapy for some reasons with a touch of minerals.  The musky oak casts a heaviness on the nose..

Palate & Finish:

The palate is driven by the stickiness and sauciness of the cask.  Citrus in a nice Aussie Fortified way.  Rose water, orange zest, cured strawberries and honey all melting into an even delivery, with the slight emphasis of strawberries serving to elevate the acidity.

Tannins come into play from the mid-palate onwards, the finish fares a tad drier.  The malt that sips out in the end is quite enjoyable.

Thoughts:

This cask highlights some pros & cons of using a tiny cask.  The spirit was able to attain quite an extent of delightful characters from the cask in just 3 years.  Though it already feels as if the oak is exerting a tad too much..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 13

[67.1%・2 Years and 9 Months Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

The top note is quite piercing.  A playful dose of bubblegum with a slight squeeze of lemon wedges.  The peat smoke makes a cameo as the vanillin is released.

Palate & Finish:

Quite a juicy mouthful, a generous injection of maple syrup as the hotness passes through.

Reverts to a vanilla custard note with wee supporting acts from the oak and barley.

Thoughts:

This particular cask feels destined to play a part in a bigger picture.

Nicholas

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 23

[66.1%・2 Years and 9 Months Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Quite tight initially, a bit green with the new make still quite evident.  Typical American oak influence combined with the vanilla led by the bourbon cask.  Banana essence with a slight oomph of bonfire in time.

Palate & Finish:

Very orange-y and drizzled with lemon oil.  A thin brush of vanilla gives way to a buck load of hotness.

Caramel sauce with the dryness and bitterness of the peels coming through, there is a spray of citrus oil to prolong the finish.

Thoughts:

A youthful interpretation of Lark showcasing all the edges.  The spirit has seemingly evolved from the more subtle and rounded Larks from a few years ago.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 08

[68.9%・3 Years and 9 Months Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

The peat smoke is more prominent in this dram and the charred oak note is more obvious.  The wee strawberry jam character is subtle amidst the custard note with a hint of hand soap.

Palate & Finish:

A jammy affair, strawberry preserves and lemon preserves.  The Port cask is perhaps the architect of the dram’s attractive thickness.  The creaminess carries on with an intriguing fragrant note, raspberry coulis perhaps.

The syrupy goodness transitions into a rustic maltiness as the smoky element surfaces.  Menthol with a brush of plump forrest berries.

Thoughts:

The RR 008 perhaps explains why many Australian distilleries favour the casks from Seppeltsfield, the 20 litre cask is imparting some great flavours.

-Nicholas

 

 

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 24

[64.5%・2 Years and 9 Months Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Quite mellow on the nose for a cask strength Lark.  The bourbon cask is at work here despite being quite a young whisky, syrupy and mahogany driven with Vienna almonds scattered atop the citrus but creamy back bone.  There is some smoke to it and in time more oak surfaces.

Palate & Finish:

Quite gooey to start off with, the citrus stands out with hint of chocolate as the secondary influence; however the cask influence doesn’t seem to fully integrate with the rawness of the peat along with the rustic characters of the spirit.  The sharpness of the citrus and the heaviness stemming from the spirit are perhaps a tad polarising..

A chewy finish with a fizzling orange-y note and a slight earthiness.

Thoughts:

Hmm, quite a bit of cask influence here for a young whisky, though it doesn’t seem to quite gel with the spirit..  may be a bigger cask and a longer maturation time would allow the two to integrate better..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Dark Valley Lark Raven’s Rest

[60.3%・779 Days Old・Bottled in 2016・Dark Valley Bottling・Single Cask Release of 32 Bottles]

Nose:

Heavily sherried but tilted towards the meaty side of things, it’s thick but perhaps a tad burdensome; black pepper, squid ink, gun powder and dark chocolate all in the mix.  There is a hint of earthy peat smoke with the oak gradually becoming rather overbearing.  Blackcurrant jelly with wee mint infusion in time to lighten things up a little.

Palate & Finish:

Fortified wine-esque with the dried muscats gently caressing at first; followed by an explosion of Cadbury chocolate & sticky toffee along with some scarring hot spices hammering on the mid-palate before a blackcurrant cough syrup note is released.

A brush of peanut butter to go with a vague floral note in the finish.

Thoughts:

It’s always a coin toss with 20 litre casks, and the Raven’s Rest is perhaps an example of a cask that has deviated from the cask owner’s wishes and became something rather peculiar all together; still, I imagine there will be a few folks who think this is a thrilling dram.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 09

[69.3%・3 Years 8 Months Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Sweet sugary cream and french vanilla, oomph of peat fire giving an ashy, herbal vibe with some gunpowder sulphur lurking in the background, sandstone and minerals also in the mix.

Palate & Finish:

Sticky orange flavoured chocolate and a brush of cupcake icing as more toffee thickness comes oozing out, bringing along a dose of Port drenched raisins.

A finishing that’s perhaps more well rounded than its peers, a subtle blend of earthiness, ground-up maltiness, woodiness and sugared ginger; rounded but yet still somewhat short of being satisfying.

Thoughts:

Perhaps the 009 was never destined to be released on its own, there’re some very attractive traits but also some flaws and it would perhaps best serve a bigger purpose.

Something for the guys at Lark to think about perhaps, and may be something for other Australian distillers to think about too..

-Nicholas

 

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 10

[68.6%・2 Years 11 Months Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

How marvellous, marshmallow, crisp apples, honey and lemon.  The bourbon cask influence is sublime.  Sanded wood desk at a carpenter’s workshop.

Palate & Finish:

Vanilla leads the way and brings along generous dose of tropical fruits, syrup poached apples and milk chocolate.  Sandalwood with a light floral note that disperses with the hotness and returns with a delicious marmalade note.

The finishing is soft, sugar syrup with a hint of oak and traces of fruits.

Thoughts:

Another delicious Lark aged in 20 litre ex-Makers Mark cask, it’s bottled at 68.6% but it conveys such heavenly flavours without being over the top.  The RR 010 really epitomises the magic of Australian whiskies, you mostly won’t know how or when but sometimes a great cask comes along and it’s just so damn satisfying.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Lark The Revolution Release RR 05

[62.6%・3 Years 3 Months Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Cigar burning and oak staves getting charred, sugar crystals turning brown and bubbling.  Hint of cloves, the more lively notes of citrus fruits have been suppressed, quite green still with note of corn syrup.

Palate & Finish:

Vanilla and green apples setting quite a delightful citrus tone followed by the burning sensation from the alcohol, a bit yeasty and doughy before making an earthy turn.

Basic sugar syrup and menthol.

Thoughts:

I have long been a skeptic of how well peated new make actually works with a 1st filled Port cask.  This doesn’t feel like the gamble hasn’t paid off, may be using an unpeated malt is the way to go, but I suppose we shall see with the other Revolution Releases…

-Nicholas