Luxury brands love a good collaboration. From Louis Vuitton’s sold-out Nike Air Force 1 release to the Tiffany & Co. Patek Philippe Nautilus, the world’s biggest labels are clambering to join forces, and you can now add a Tasmanian icon to the list. Whisky legends Lark Distilling Co. have announced a new partnership that crosses the Tasman, but there’s nothing ostentatious about this release. Where other brands have tapped the high-street savants of the Champs-Elysees and Madison Avenue, our friends down in Pontville have gone straight to the garage.
The new limited-edition Fresh IPA Cask single malt whisky takes Lark’s much-loved spirit and marries it with New Zealand’s award-winning Garage Project Brewery. A brewery best known for decadent ales that arrive with a healthy dose of fruit on the palate, not to mention a label that you can hardly ignore, Garage Project has emerged as one of the world’s top beer producers. Needless to say, when Lark came looking for a partner, the Wellington-based brew lords were the obvious choice and the Fresh IPA Cask is a testament to that. Juicy and exploding with Trans-Tasman flavour, the out-of-the-box collaboration could very well be the summer whisky we’ve been waiting for, at least that’s what master blender Chris Thomson believes.
“I’m a huge fan of Garage Project’s beer and there are a lot of similarities between the two companies,” Thomson said. “Garage Project’s commitment to sustainability is something we champion here at Lark, and their passion for creativity in all their releases is always pushing the boundaries with the drinker in mind. When Worlds Collide’ is a totally unique whisky, best enjoyed at a barbie with friends on a hot summer’s day with a cold Garage Project Fresh IPA.
As Thomson rightly points out, the new limited-edition release marks the first time in Lark’s extensive history that the distilling team has experimented with an IPA finish for its world-renowned spirit. As such, the team behind Lark were careful to get the formula right. According to Thomson, the blending team tested over 100 different iterations, before landing on the four best brews to season the casks. What remains is a warming whisky that speaks to the essence of the rich summer that both Australia and New Zealand enjoy.
The Lark Fresh IPA Cask explodes with tropical notes from the glass, highlighted by frangipani, lime ice and buttery toast. It is bottled at an elevated 46% ABV, giving it an extra kick that delivers layers of ginger and citrus, rounded by juicy melon and banana bread, but only few will get to enjoy it while it’s here. Only 1,200 bottles of the Lark Fresh IPA Cask have been produced, available exclusively online and at the Lark Whisky Bar, The Still. It will set you back around $270, but as the Hobart legends have a habit of doing, Lark has thrown in a few goodies along for the ride.
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Each purchase of the Lark x Garage Project Fresh IPA Cask comes with a 4-pack of Garage Project’s Fresh IPA, brewed exclusively for this release. For real flavour hounds, the $950 Collector’s Pack sees four bottles of the limited edition single malt paired with the Garage Project release, each displaying a unique artwork from award-winning local artist Joel Crosswell. The Hobart creative has crafted a bespoke series of designs for the release, featuring a kaleidoscopic scene depicting pineapples, kiwis and topless beer breaks on the hood of a Camaro.
“We have been aware of Lark for ages, they are such an iconic brand who always seem to be pushing the creative envelope,” Garage Project founder and head brewer Pete Gillespie said. “There is a philosophical alignment between both brands; we’re both merchants in fermented grain at the end of the day but what we end up with is quite different. There is a lot of collaboration within the brewing industry but not so much outside of it. It’s great to have that fresh energy injected by Lark and that really shines through in the whisky that Chris has made.”
You can pick up a bottle of the new Lark x Garage Project Fresh IPA Cask exclusively online or at the Lark Whisky Bar, The Still in Hobart. The release starts form $270, but be warned, it will go quickly.
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