The nose on this dram is extraordinary: it smells like whisky that’s been poured into an abused wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano, then topped with beech nuts. But it also smells like chewing on a blade of Bermuda grass tastes. Beyond that, there are hints of molasses, moldy lemons, peppermint licorice, and authentic wood bark burritos grilled in a panini press. After a moment of nosing it, I found myself salivating quite a lot, though I was unsure if that was due to anticipation or to an autonomic defense mechanism (though if it were the latter, it would be because the nose on this whisky is so wild, and not in any way a threat to my well-being). On the nose and in the mouth, the wildness of this dram clearly derives from the wood used to make the barrels. The accompanying literature reveals that it’s oak from Australian sherry and port casks. But rather than research particular quercus species indigenous to that region, John, Bill, and I preferred to remain ignorant of the specifics of that wood and let our imaginations run wild, steered only by the notes the expression presented us. We concluded nearly immediately that the wood in question was neither coniferous nor deciduous (and we’re glad the pioneers at Lark didn’t let that stop them). This particular cask, we imagined, was composed of porous, even hole-riddled, staves (perhaps patched with Laughing Kookaburra poo), staves that just as easily could have been made from eucalyptus wood—and perhaps sprinkled with a dash of ground-up koala before introducing the spirit into the barrel. The finish evokes a salty, tidal flat in a sulfur pool peopled with one-legged starfishes—simply extraordinary. With a little water, the nose changes almost visibly, like
the aggressive bamboo shoots growing along my neighbor’s fence, perceptibly overgrowing that one side of my yard—and faintly hissing at me as they do. Along the continuum that is the full range of whisky flavor profiles, this expression creates its own vector and forges an altogether new direction. That is to say, it’s orthogonal to the subspace of all other whiskies. Any discerning malt fiend will absolutely have to try it.