Starward Two-Fold Double Grain 40%

Australia deserves its reputation for fabulous wines and – yes – whisky! So why not combine? While Tasmania dominates, Starward prove you can be in Melbourne and deliver something worthy of attention with distinction – by consistently maturing their whisky in wine barrels.

So when this wee sample showed up as a “bonus” with a larger whisky order, I was delighted to have a chance to check out how this distillery has evolved.

Starward Two-Fold Double Grain 40%

  • Colour – Reddish copper, even a bit of sediment
  • Nose – Clear influence of the wine casks, rich dried berries, coffee toffee sweets, creamy vanilla
  • Palate – Sharp, intense, dark fruits and berries, dark chocolate, tannins
  • Finish – Spice, red wine, bitter close, lingers

It was a bit hard to imagine this was only 40%… the flavours were much sharper and more intense. Certainly young but interesting. A definite departure from a classic Scottish dram – a bit edgier and funkier, in a good way.

Starward Two Fold

What do the folks at Starward have to say?

Smooth, tropical, lightly spiced. 

An Australian double-grain whisky. For depth, we use malted barley, just like our Nova. For an aromatic, dry flavour, we use Australian wheat.

Lightly charred or steamed barrels. Sourced from Australian wineries that make great shiraz, cabernets and pinot noirs. Often filled fresh when the barrel is still wet with wine. We mature each whisky separately in Melbourne’s wildly varied climate, then deftly combine. Smooth as silk. Spiced vanilla, tropical fruits and cereal characters rounded with red apples and berries.

Here are their official tasting notes:

  • Nose / Bright red berries coated in buttery vanilla spice.
  • Palate / Imagine a smooth, rich caramel dessert balanced by tropical fruit.
  • Finish / Delicate and long. A delicious, dry finish from a faded sweetness.

They go on to add:

We carefully select barrels from vineyards making great Aussie reds like shiraz, cabernet and pinot noir. These give our new make spirit tasty fruit, caramel and spice notes. To keep as much of a fresh red wine flavour profile as possible, we source barrels from just a day’s drive away. We either lightly char or quickly blast barrels with steam. Many are still wet with wine when we fill them. Flavour obsessed as ever, we fill each barrel at a lower alcohol proof than is traditional. This means our whisky draws more lip-smacking red wine fruit characters and tannins.

Then, it’s time for Melbourne’s climate to shine. Or, rather, rain and shine in a wildly unpredictable way. Famed for its ‘four seasons in a day’, Melbourne’s fluctuating climate means Two-Fold extracts more flavour from the barrel in a much shorter time than is traditional. After just three years, both barley and wheat whiskies are ready to be expertly combined.

At approx Eur 40, it isn’t as pricey as some other Starward’s we’ve come across… Here are a few earlier explorations of Starward:

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Dunkerton Drams – Starward Nova 41%

Australia deserves its reputation for fabulous wines and – yes – whisky! So why not combine? While Tasmania dominates, Starward prove you can be in Melbourne and deliver something worthy of attention with distinction – by consistently maturing their whisky in wine barrels.

And while we’ve explored their Apera (sherry style) Solera, a spirited experiment under 3 years (New World Project), even their 10th Anniversary special…. somehow missed trying this Nova expression from their core range! Time to rectify that gap in our collective whisky explorations…

Starward Nova 41%

  • Nose – Plum, red cherries, black and red raspberries, strawberries, red liquorice, grapes, red wine, sweet yet also tangy, dried mango powder (aamchor), sweet basil
  • Palate – Light tannins, soft, bitter, great round fruits, had a nice fruity ‘fullness’
  • Finish – Moist mouth-watering finish, cherry cough syrup

Perhaps it was just us, however we could really find the red wine element in the equation – something bold and full bodied like a shiraz or a cab? And while only 41%, this whisky had full flavours in abundance. A most enjoyable way to close our evening, watching the sunset over green rolling pastures in Somerset.

What do the folks at Starward have to say about their Nova?

  • Beginning / A fruity, double distilled single malt made with Australian barley and craft brewers’ yeast for extra flavour.
  • Middle / Lightly charred or steamed barrels sourced from Australian wineries making great shiraz, cabernets and pinot noirs. Often filled fresh when the barrel is still wet with wine. Matured in Melbourne’s wildly varied climate for three years.
  • End / Exceptional length thanks to the red wine barrels. Bright aromatic notes of red berries, orchard fruits, vanilla, caramel and soft oak spice.
  • Future / Smooth and complex when sipped neat. Shines in classic cocktails. Works exceptionally well with food.

And their tasting notes:

  • Nose / Like we took bright flavours of red berries and orchard fruit and coated them in soft oak spice
  • Palate / Imagine a rich red berry pudding covered in vanilla, caramel and spice.
  • Finish / Balanced and long. The sweetness fades and the delicious flavour goes on.

What did we try in our 2nd Dunkerton evening?

And here are a few earlier explorations of Starward:

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