Quality control is at the centre of everything we do at Lark Distillery, and delivering a memorable experience to our drinkers plays a huge part in this. As whisky drinkers we wait for The Whisky Club’s next exclusive bottle to arrive on our doorstep; we crack the seal; pour a dram and wait for the sensory experience to kick in. It is this sensory experience that informs our next glass of whisky or the glass we offer to our best mates. Therefore, I thought that my first post for The Whisky Club should peel back the curtain on Lark’s quality control systems and how we develop and deliver the best sensory experience for whisky drinkers.
The first step of our sensory evaluation begins on day one of production. We collect the sweet wort from the mash tun, and our distillers will test the brewing beer every single day to track ABV, acidity and flavour indicators. These will then inform the decisions we will make when making the cuts as well as our yeast regimes and temperatures for upcoming batches.
The second major step is cutting the spirit. Like all other single malt distilleries, we separate the heart of the run from the heads and the tails. Unlike most distilleries, we make our cuts using the nose and palate of our distilling teams. Seeking balance, we analyse the new make for depth, complexity and flavour indicators. The spirit is then put into casks and left for at least 5 years to get to know the oak we have chosen to mature it in.
Once the blender deems the whisky good enough for release, we enter it through a four-step authentication process, often presenting two or three variations of the desired recipe. This is where we believe the most important decisions are made in the life of each whisky we release.