I'll tell you a story from the other side of the world. To Scotland in the Southern Hemisphere: Tasmania
Returning from a hike on Mount Ossa in the centre of this Antarctic island, we landed on the edge of the well named Travellers Rest River to enjoy a moment of rest. By lighting the wood fire we take stock of the day: the similarity with Scotland is obvious: the sheep, the flora, the peat bogs, the mountains... we would think we were there. We even drive on the left here! Wherever we are, Scotland always catches up with you!
Sitting by the river, preparing the fire that will allow us to spend a good evening, a rustle next to us. Raised from a thicket, some kind of big rat/dog! A Tasmanian devil we just disturbed! We don't move not knowing how this angry animal in the Looney Tunes reacts. To our great surprise he looks at us and then leaves peacefully without making the slightest noise! We're a long way from the Taz we thought we'd meet!
A little later, warmed up by the southern mildness of January and as our fire crackles and we prepare a magnificent rib of beef, we regret not having stopped by Hobart to buy our supplies from Lark ! The evening would have been perfect.
To make us local and disgust us even more for not having enough to drink, we sing Midnight Oil's run by night song: "I'm on the whiskey flying, and i'll run by night..." on the acoustic guitar.
It was then that a fly fisherman appeared from the river bed holding three magnificent rainbow trout in his hand. He waved at us and came out of the water to join us. When we invite him to share the beautiful grilled meat, we say to ourselves that the evening may change: "My name is Bill LARK"!
As we discuss he realizes our distress: "you have nothing to drink"? Then he takes his backpack and takes out a thin bottle of 50 cl whisky. Our eyes are sparkling, we're saved... or not!
On the label we can read Lark Distillery, East. 1992, Single Cask, cask Strength, bottled March 2010! What a program!! We also read 58°! Will we get out of this alive?
The liquid Bill serves us is slightly golden! He explains that when he distilled it, he chose to age it in the quater-casks (50 l) to give it the power and taste of wood.
As we are about to plunge our noses into it, he warns us because of the degree of the liquid. And indeed, it is at full power that our nose is attacked by the force of this whisky but with a precision worthy of a watchmaker: "I told you". We take our breath again and dive back into the glass. We end up in a carpentry shop with an omnipresence of wood. The third passage leads us more towards fruity and honeyed spicy notes.
The power of the liquid is obviously found on the taste buds. It is straightforward and reminds us once again of the presence of a liquid that came out of the barrel and was bottled without water. The aromas on the palate are those of fruit, but also of wood. You can even find an aftertaste of caramel. The latter leaves us perplexed because we now find ourselves with aromas of smoked bacon. Bill explains that he produced his whisky with local barley but 50% dried with the peat from his own Brown Marsh Bog. It all makes sense.
Once swallowed, a length that is not at all monotonous returns to our mouths. It reminds us both of the strength of the liquid, but also of the presence in the carpentry shop.
The evening is in full swing and this wonderful Tasmanian whisky goes perfectly with our grilled prime rib. Bill tells us how he came up with the idea of creating Tasmania's first distillery in 1992 while fishing with his father. He also tells us how he succeeded in giving pleasure back to the Tasmanians by repealing a 200-year-old prohibition law.
We barely have time to smell the aromas of honey and heather in our empty glass when it is once again filled with this beautiful beverage.
The evening continues in joy and good humour to the tunes of Midnight Oil, covered in the heart of "I'm on the whiskey running, and i'll run by night...".
This whisky is unfortunately no longer available for sale....but I have a bottle in my bar if you want to travel!