A rare offering from celebrated distiller Chris Malcolm

June 23, 2022
By Ioni Doherty

Chair of Mighty Craft’s Spirits Advisory Board, Chris Malcolm, has launched his latest whisky adventure, Hidden Lake. It’s been a long time coming and is highly anticipated.

Hidden Lake is a rare, ultra-premium single malt, single cask Tasmanian whisky, and a joint venture between Mr Malcolm and Mighty Craft.

There are six expressions of Hidden Lake and the first batch of 10-year-old French Oak Tawny Cask Strength sold out on the first day. There are now just 67 bottles available with its next release planned in the coming months.

The other expressions are the six-year-old White Oak Cask Strength and Bottle Strength, eight-year-old American Oak Tawny, seven-year-old French Oak Tawny, six-year-old American Oak Apera. All will be available from the Hidden Lake website.

Mr Malcolm is the former CEO of Australian Whisky Holdings and former executive chairman of Lark Distillery. Today, he oversees the Hidden Lake brand as both its founder and director.

Hidden Lake is crafted – in part – from 68 barrels of maturing stock purchased from individual barrel investors by Mr Malcolm since 2020, in partnership with Mighty Craft.

“I fell in love with Tasmanian whisky a decade ago,” says Mr Malcolm. “For me, this is a very exciting launch because it’s been years in the making. Hidden Lake whisky comes from the personal collection I’ve acquired on the market over the years and some we’ve made ourselves.

“This is an outstanding opportunity to showcase what Tasmania can do and what some of talented people in Tasmania have created.”

Mr Malcolm leads Mighty Craft’s whisky acceleration program and in August 2021, he brought George Campbell into the fold to join the business as Production Manager and Group Distiller. Mr Campbell left his position at from William Grant and Sons flagship Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland to take up the role.

“This rarity and quality of this whisky starts with the barrel,” says Mr Malcolm. “It starts with how the barrel is prepared – the shaving, toasting, charring – then what type and style of new make matches that barrel. It’s not a quick process. It takes time, and it’s a handmade process from start to finish, so that what is finally produced is an ultra-premium whisky. That time and that effort is certainly worth it when you taste the final product.

“When it comes to barrels, we have the first and oldest white oak program in Australia. There are very few distilleries in the country who are using white oak today – in fact, I only know of two.”

It’s an exciting start for Hidden Lake, says Mighty Craft Managing Director Mark Haysman.

“Whisky is the largest spirits category in Australia, with 43 per cent value share and a 6.9 per cent CAGR*, and we’re already in a strong position with 300,000L under maturation, and our plan is to have 1,500,000L by the end of the 2025/26,” he says.

“With brands such as Hidden Lake, Kangaroo Island Distillery, 78 Degrees and Seven Seasons, along with our expanding production, sales and distribution capabilities, we are well placed to scale and grow this exciting category in both domestic and export markets.

“Our spirits businesses have outstanding whisky potential and capabilities to barrel age premium offerings that originate in three of the most respected craft provenances in Australia – the pristine altitudes of the Tasmanian Highlands, the unspoiled natural surrounds of Kangaroo Island and the uniquely Australian environs of South Australia.”

Hidden Lake’s first release is available through the company’s website. Retailing for $349 and up.

*Source IWSR Drinks Market Analysis 2021 release

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