Lovely labels – Australia’s Starward 43%

Starward was introduced in our Whisky Ladies May session, part of whiskies our host selected based on labels she found attractive and interesting! Produced by New World Distilleries in Australia, Starward is a new entry to the growing Australian whisky market.

Unlike many terrific Australian whisky distilleries based in Tasmania, New World Distilleries is located just outside of Melbourne – apparently in an old Qantas hanger. They use Australian barley and age their whisky in reconditioned Australian oak casks. In the case of Starboard, the casks were previously used to age an Australian sherry called Apera. This makes for a novel fresh and distinctly Australian approach to their whisky.

2016-05-17 Starward

Starward NAS 40%:

  • Nose – Apricots, prunes, a sherry-like influence, honey, demerra sugar. Then a hint emerged of a flowery woodsy perfume… like faded lavender sachets in a cedar closet. As it aired more, out came some pepper, toasted coconut and even a little sour curd
  • Palate – Quite deceiving and a contrast to the nose with a much deeper profile than expected, topped with sweet spices, an almost tingling sensation yet smooth, intense flavours yet well balanced, more pepper, ginger, even apples or a citrus twist
  • Finish – Short and sweet
  • Water – Though a few hesitated to add, after initially punching up the spice it brightens and opens up the whisky. While not needed, doesn’t kill it either.

Overall a sense of youthful intensity with depth. Not massively complex yet had a teasing quality that danced along a spectrum of possibilities.

Bottom line… did we like it? Absolutely!!

Based on this introduction, am quite interested in seeing what more comes from this distillery.

Here’s what the New World folks have to say about their whisky:

Starward represents a new world where experience is respected but boundaries are challenged. This world class malt is youthful, rich and bright; a fine balance of tradition and innovation – of passion and analysis.

Bold but delicate, youthful but mature; rich and contemplative, and surprisingly crisp. It’s the essence of a determination to explore, discover and enlighten.

Starward. What whisky can be.

And Starward‘s tasting notes:

  • Rich amber colour
  • Aroma of ripe orchard fruits: pears, bananas and apples with vinous raisins and dried figs. Caramel, vanilla and marzipan balance the fruit.
  • The palate is filled with rich, toasty caramel, creme brulee, more fruit, pepper, sandalwood, nutmeg and marzipan.
  • A full, sweet, juicy mouthfeel, with a youthful, spicy, dry finish.

Here’s what others have to say:

Other whiskies sampled in our ‘I like the label!‘ session:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Revisiting the Paul John Bold 46%

As I’m in UK/Canada, prepared this post during a sweltering Mumbai May evening for your reading pleasure while I’m off gallivanting… read on…

Whenever possible, I like to revisit a whisky for a 2nd opinion. While I absolutely love sampling with others, there is also something to be said for sipping solo and distilling your own unique impression.

When the Whisky Ladies first sampled Paul John Bold, we found it enjoyable but slightly tame. In part this was because we had it after the fabulous Peated. In short, it was overshadowed.

At the time, I expected to soon revisit after our first brush with Bold but it took a quiet evening in May to finally pull it out and sample solo.

2016-05-08 Paul John Bold
Here’s what we initially found with Bold Single Malt NAS 46% compared with what I found solo…
  • Nose
    • Whisky Ladies: Bergamont, light, restrained, not quite sweet, a sense of being a bit more sophisticated, with a little vanilla
    • Whisky Lady revisit: Much sweeter and more ‘malty’ than I remembered, some citrus or tart green apple rather than the burst of tropical fruits I normally associate with Paul John expressions, a pronounced curl of peat too which we missed in our initial tasting. Yes honey too with a vegetal spicy undertone… as it aired became even a bit milky?
  • Taste
    • Whisky Ladies: Dare we say… after a name like BOLD we expected the whisky to jump out at us, swaggering into our senses… instead it was… um… almost tame? Light, honey sweet, some citrus, a puff of smoke, lovely but a step back from the luscious Peated
    • Whisky Lady revisit: More burn and ‘oomph!’ than I remembered…. some coffee and malted cereals, delightfully peaty
  • Finish
    • Whisky Ladies: Here was where we found peat – a lightly peaty finish with walnut. Some found it slightly bitter, others found it wasn’t bitter at all – particularly when compared with the bitterness of  the Edited finish
    • Whisky Lady revisit: Nice and peppery, still find the bitter walnut, oak and a hint of cinnamon spice

Did I agree with our initial assessment? Yes and no. Once it sang solo, Bold stands out.

I also found it went well with water and… yes… I will admit, a cube of ice kicks up the spice while cooling the dram – most welcome. What can I say? It is May and hot in Mumbai!

Whereas if I was to pick a season for this whisky? I’m reminded more of fall, all leafy, wood fires and crisp cool air. As I stared my risotto slowly cooking, couldn’t help tip the bottle to add a splash. Bold added a dash of spicy smoke – yum!

2016-05-07 Paul John Bold

The Bold I sampled was from Batch No 1, released in Aug 2015. I understand it is made with Indian barley smoked using Islay peat to around 25ppm. This is different than a short-cut many other distilleries outside of Scotland adopt, which is to import peated barley rather than go through the process of importing just the peat to then play around with peating desi barley.

Here’s what the folks at Paul John have to say about Bold:

Bold is a journey that leads you down the unexplored, unchartered terrains of Goa. It offers you a slice of its best-kept secrets, unravelling the mysteries, bit by little bit. This expression of ours invites you to leave the trail, tread the path less taken and plunge headlong into the delicious depths of Goa.

  • Nose – After the slightest whiff of smoke, a dizzying array of Manuka honey, prickly spice and bourboneque red liquorice takes over.
  • Palate – This melt-in-the-mouth malt has the most profound flavours crashing in like waves. At first, the delivery feels sublimely silky and studded with oak-like honey. And just when you think you’ve savoured it all, you are surprised by a hefty second wave of spice. This is followed by a cloudy, smoky feel that coats the roof of the mouth and leaves a tidal wave of dry molasses, peaty soot and a degree of copper in its wake.
  • Finish – Bold has a light finish with a tinge of copper slowly making its presence known. You can also sense a gorgeous smoked mocha shaped by delicate and intricate spices.

More sampling adventures with Paul John:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India at:

Paul John Distillery in Goa – Guest Post by Paula McGlynn

As I’m off gallivanting around merry old England then the colonies (aka Canada), am delighted to introduce another guest post by the lovely Paula McGlynn from her tour of Paul John distillery taken while in Goa for a recent film shoot.

Guest Post by Paula McGlynn

Guest Post by Paula McGlynn

“Don’t go by the map!” he said. Michael D’souza warned me that I would get lost if I tried to find the distillery by the Google Maps location. .. I didn’t listen and got lost anyway. However, after I realized my folly I turned around and found it the old fashion way; by asking people on the street.

Tucked away in the southern corner of Goa, the Paul John Distillery is to whisky lovers what the Golden Idol is to Indiana Jones… a treasure worth the effort and adventure required to find it!

I first had the pleasure of tasting whisky from Paul John distillery at our December 2015 Whisky Ladies tasting session in Mumbai. While we usually go through many efforts trying to source different whiskies from our travels, this was one night where we didn’t have to venture very far. Michael had generously provided a selection of the entire Paul John range (five different single malts) for our tasting pleasure.

The Paul John Distillery is in a large, earthy red building in a surprisingly quiet and green industrial estate.  Michael D’Souza, the Master Distiller, was soft-spoken and gracious as he showed me around. He explained that they plan to start distillery tours later on this year so make sure you fit it into your next winter trip to Goa!

Paul John Distillery

Paul John Distillery

We started with a walk through the massive storehouse where the whisky barrels are stacked for aging. We then proceeded to the cooler area downstairs where there are again many barrels stacked for whiskies for a slower aging process. Currently, the oldest whisky is bottled at only 7 years of age because the warm Goan climate causes the whisky to take on the character of the barrels and climate much faster than in the cool grey hills of Scotland.  Goa is also considered to be the party state of India, which might help explain why the ‘angel’s share’ is so high. (wink wink)

We proceeded to taste straight from Michael’s favorite select barrels and I sampled both peated and unpeated whiskies. The unpeated was extremely smooth, with tropical banana and coconut, while the peated was rich and nutty with some citrus notes.

After leaving the storehouse we took a tour of the distillery. Before going into the barrels, the alcohol goes through the fermentation processes where the malted barley is converted to a kind of beer. To take a peep inside the chambers is like looking into a giant test tube and watching the yeast form bubbles on top of the liquid. It is then passed through two large copper stills to clarify and concentrate the alcohol. It then goes into charred oak barrels and begins its relatively short (in whisky terms) seven year wait at the Paul John Distillery before bottling.

Paul John Select Cask Peated

Paul John Select Cask Peated

If you are in India, a visit to the distillery is a must because Paul John is currently only distributing the “Bold” and the “Edited” expressions of the whisky within India. However, the entire range must be sampled to understand how versatile and complex an Indian whisky can be! When Paul John Distillery opens for tours it will be possible for people to sample the entire range. Those not living in India can find the entire selection available for purchase in many countries including the UK, France, and America.

When you have a chance to sample, do try for the Peated Select Cask if you’re a fan of bacon and peat! It’s a personal favorite of many of our Whisky Ladies as well.

For your own interest, do check out the website for Paul John Distillery: and slot it into your next trip to Goa.

Also, I have added a new location for the distillery on the map so you don’t need to go Indiana Jones looking for the place if you don’t want to:

Related posts about Paul John whisky samplings:

Whisky Lady – May 2016

Everyday Asia

Whisky Lady sampling remained strong in May with four whisky sessions!

2016-05-22 Westin Whiskies Cards

It kicked off with a special “Gourmet Affair” whisky and food pairing by The Singleton and TheWestin Mumbai featuring:

  • Glenkinchie 12 year with asparagus and burrata
  • Caol Ila 12 year with stuffed morels and mushrooms
  • Talisker 10 year with seared scallops and prosciutto or corn fed chicken
  • Lagavulin 16 year with Australian lamb loin or Indian lamb shank
  • Singleton by Glen Ord 12 year with mignardises

Bushmills contest

Our Bombay Malt & Cigar (BMC) invited the Whisky Ladies over for a sociable evening of Irish malts! With tasting notes from a few of the lovely Whisky Ladies!

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