Willie Smith's launches whisky barrel cider

Willie Smith’s Lark Special Reserve

We all know someone who enjoys whisky, whether it’s in a short glass by the fire on a cold wintery night, or built into a refreshing tall serve with freshly squeezed apple juice. We might also know someone who enjoys basking in the sunlight on a Sunday afternoon with a delicious, full-bodied cider.

Well this festive season there’s exciting news for everyone. For the third time in as many years, Tasmanian craft cider makers Willie Smith’s have collaborated with Lark to create a small batch whisky barrel aged cider that delivers a toasty complexity and plush mouth feel which will satisfy and surprise the palate on multiple levels.

Like previous releases the cider has been aged in Lark Distillery whisky barrels for between 7 an 12 months. Unlike previous releases however, this time the cider was bottle fermented then aged on yeast lees for a further 12 months.

“After two years of Lark Whisky Barrel Aged Cider releases, we were super keen to add bottle fermentation to the equation to build further complexity into the product. This release shows balanced, slightly restrained whisky notes integrated with bottle fermented complexity while maintaining fresh cider characters” said Head Cidermaker Tim Jones.

“We also recommend rolling the bottle before serving to increase the cloudy, creamy, natural cider.”

For the non-technical alcohol appreciators amongst us, it means that the cider tastes uniquely delicious and that your mouth will be filled with layers of cider and whisky flavours. The cider has been released with the thick textural yeast lees still in the bottle, which will continue to add creamy complexity over time in the cellar. The cider, served at around 12 degrees C, makes the perfect accompaniment to an intimate festive cheese platter.

Willie Smith’s Cider Makers release a limited release cider several times a year with a focus on innovation and experimentation. The cidery recently won Best Cider in Australia at the Australian Cider Awards with their French Blend drop, a pure cider apple cider made from 14 different French apple varieties grown at their orchard in Tasmania.

“Tasmania is a small place which is full of incredible produce and producers. Being in the business of making good booze is something both Lark Distillery and ourselves have in common’ says Head Cider Maker Dr. Tim Jones.

“This collaboration is a further expression of previous projects we’ve worked on with Lark. We have already released two Lark whisky barrel-aged cider vintages and we felt that a bottle aged reserve release was a natural step in the evolution of the cider that would add further depth, texture and complexity. The warmth and softness of this cider is so enjoyable, pairing it with mature cheese takes it to another level”

Chris Thompson, Head Distiller at Lark is proud of the collaboration and believes this is what makes the craft scene such a great place to work.

“Willie Smiths are a driving force in the cider industry which makes a perfect partner for Lark, two of the most established craft producers in the state”.

There are just 700 bottles available of this incredible product which retails for $50 for a 750ml Bottle at 9.7% ABV.

The cider will be available in selected venues and bottleshops in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, the ACT and Queensland, and also from Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, in the Huon Valley and from the Lark Distillery Cellar Door in Hobart.

A limited number of bottles are also available from purchase via the website www.williesmiths.com.au.

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