With the Olympics finally hitting our screens after 12 months of setbacks, the sporting world is slowly learning something whisky-lovers have known for years. The Japanese understand quality. Whether it’s finely carving Tamahagane steel or perfecting the art of bespoke tailoring, the country is renowned for its craftsmanship and in recent years, that has extended to whisky. Japanese labels have become some of the most sought over across the globe and in response to the growing demand, an Aussie icon has got in on the action.
Lark Distilling Co., the Tasmanian stalwart that has brought us some of the best Australian whiskies ever produced has just released a new single malt expression inspired by the elegance of Japanese whisky. Described as a celebration of unique and memorable casks, the new Lark Mizunara Oak Cask comes from age-old trees featuring ancient trunks and branches that twist and turn together over time. According to the distiller, with such a timely and majestic growth, it can take up to 200 years for this rare tree to suitably mature to the point where it is ready for the perfect whisky cask.
Lark head distiller Chris Thomson ensured the spirit spent three months in the Mizunara Cask, creating a marriage of the Tasmanian and Japanese styles. The result is a rich and balanced spirit that complements the unique Mizunara Oak and
with notes of bright toasted oak, cherry and apple pie, coconut, lychee, guava, pear and fresh apples, which Lark says evokes memories of the Land of the Rising Sun.
“Mizunara Oak presented an interesting challenge as we wanted to stay true to the traditional style of and taste of Japanese whisky, while still retaining our own unique Tasmanian essence,” Lark head distiller Chris Thomson said. “The Mizunara Oak Cask is a true fusion of two island cultures that is perfectly in balance and it is an ideal experience for our first internationally-inspired release where we can embrace a dif erent mentality and culture of whisky. We couldn’t be happier with the result, and combining the elegance of the spirit with the exquisite artwork from Yuko Shimizu really helped pay homage to these two cultures.”
Perhaps more impressive is the design. To commemorate the Japanese origin of the Mizunara casks, Lark worked with Yuko Shimizu (清水裕子), a multi-award-winning Japanese illustrator to create the unique label design. The celebrated artist’s work has been featured everywhere from the pages of The New York Times and TIME, and showcased in collaborations with the Smithsonian Museum and Library of
Congress. Her design for the Mizunara Oak Cask joins Tasmania’s very own Kunanyi (Mt Wellington) with the unique history of Mizunara oak coopering in Japan.
The new Lark Mizunara Oak Cask release is limited to just 845 bottles worldwide and is available from the distillery website for AUD$1,000. As is Lark traditional, the release comes with a complimentary 100ml tasting bottle for those who may want to keep their 700ml Mizunara Oak Cask unopened.