Starward 10th Anniversary 52%

In the grand scheme of things, 10 years may not seem like a long time. However in the context of a young Australian upstart which challenged conventional thinking about maturing whiskies, casks and more, all with a goal of creating something accessible and affordable, well…. then it is something to celebrate indeed!

Starward 10th Anniversary 52%

  • Colour – A beautiful deep dark ruby
  • Nose – Strong black cherry, intense and concentrated, prunes, old dark wood, cherry brandy, peppery – mostly black peppercorn, rich burnt cake, toffee, dark chocolate, burnt orange, cinnamon, dark purple grapes
  • Palate – Sugar sweet, tart, had a definite kick, while a bit odd initially and took some time to adjust to its concentrated quality, the wood, dark cherry, berries, figs, toasted oak, creamy vanilla, rummy raisins
  • Finish – A lovely black pepper spice that sweetens

Above all, for me this whisky was a heavy rich tapestry of intense flavours.

We decided to add a generous dollop of water to see if it tamed it. What did we discover?

  • Nose – Brought out loads of fruits, while retaining the richness
  • Palate – Absolutely gorgeous! Turned down the volume on the intensity without diminishing the character or complexity
  • Finish – Retained the lovely spice

When we returned, it was distinctly flat coca-cola! Then shifted into a very tasty creme brûlée,

There was no doubt this was quite a whisky. It reminded me of the richness of some Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask or Paul John’s Kanya. What they both have in common is accelerated absorption of the barrel’s interaction with the new make spirit thanks to the respective climates in Australia, Taiwan and India.

So what is the story behind this dram?

Apparently it is a vatted blend of 28 casks of various ages and 8 different types used throughout Starward’s 10 years, of which most are first fill Apera, Pedro Ximenez and red wine barrels.

What would it set you back? If you bought it at the Whisky Exchange, as this one was, then £79.95.

Here are a few other Starward‘s explored:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Starward Solera 43%

Solera is the process of transferring part of maturing liquid from one barrel to another in a continuous rotation, typically used in making Sherry. In Australia, this method can be found in the making of Australia’s equivalent of Sherry – Apera – and now also in Starward’s “Solera” whisky which uses this system to bring consistency to each batch from their Apera barrels. As they put it, it also

means that every Apera barrel we have ever emptied is in every bottle of STARWARD Solera.” 

A few years ago, the Whisky Ladies were introduced to Starward with an early Solera version… and it was such a pleasure to try its newer avatar as part of a Starward trio…

Courtesy Anish Trivedi

Starward Solera 43%

  • Nose – Lemon, fruity, varnish, wet bread, burgundy, even some pear drop buried beneath the top notes, more of that wood, vanilla… then lemon curd
  • Palate – Much more going on than the nose would suggest – has a “graph” to how the palate evolves from soft to strength and substance, even a hint of brine
  • Finish – Strong… with some liquorice

We found it much more enjoyable than the “project”, easily accessible..

We weren’t sure whether water should or should not be divided.

After some time, we returned to be greeted by a delightful “cotton candy” aroma, still initially light but retained the substance. Delicious!

And what do the folks over at Starward have to say?

The original STARWARD is solely matured in Australian fortified wine barrels, which are hand selected, re-coopered, re-toasted and re-sized specifically for aging our spirit.

These barrels have formerly contained Apera, which is an Australian take on Spanish sherry. These barrels are 40-50 years old and have rich and complex flavours of dried fruit, spice and sweetness.

Here are a few other Starward’s explored:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

 

Starward Wine Cask Project (2018) 41%

Starward’s New World Project series is deliberately intended to “buck” whisky convention. In truth, what is bottled is not “whisky” at all by the traditional guide of requiring a minimum of 3 years maturation. Instead it is a malted barley spirit, playing around with different wine casks – either fortified or table wine – in this case an undisclosed red wine.

And what better way to kick of our evening exploring Starward than with one of their experimental wine cask projects!

Starward New World Project Wine Cask 2.25 yr malted barley spirit batch 170721-A (8 Aug 2017) 41%

  • Nose – Pear drops, autumn leaves, wood, fresh sap, bourbon, very sweet, raw molasses then shifted into a lighter caramel, orange concentrate
  • Palate – Smooth yet youthful and a bit raw, a tinge salty, marzipan, fruits
  • Finish – Sits there with a slight nuttiness

Overall the aromas were much more interesting than the palate – one even described it as “palate stripping!”

It was certainly interesting… we wondered what it would be like with water. For those who added, it lost the delightful pear on the aroma and didn’t gain much on the palate or finish.

And when we returned after some time… was quite sour on the nose, became quite tart on the palate – think the inside of a kumquat.

My strong recommendation with this one is enjoy it but don’t linger too long. Or perhaps try it one of the many cocktails the folks at Starward recommend.

As for its cost? This bottle was purchased at The Whisky Exchange, London and currently retails for £50.25.

Here are a few other Starward‘s explored:

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

Starward Flight – Wine Project, Solera, 10th Anniversary

What would happen if you matured whisky fully in a red wine barrel rather than merely finish?

And what if the temperature swings of Melbourne’s climate was used as an asset rather than adversity?

Even more, what if your goal was to go against the trend of ever increasingly expensive whiskies to craft something affordable, approachable and distinctly Australian?

Well if you were the folks over at Starward distillery in Melbourne, Australia this would be exactly the questions you are dedicated to answer!

Here is the trio we explored:

What a treat to sample each side by side in Mumbai early March 2018.

Interested in exploring other Australian whiskies? Check out:

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“I like the label!” Great King Street, Starward, Smoky Goat

There is the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” However let’s face it, we can’t help but be swayed by the ‘packaging’ sometimes!

The theme for our May Whisky Ladies evening was a trio of whiskies selected by our host simply because “I like the label!”

One was a familiar favourite and the other two were completely new to both her and our merry bunch of whisky women.

2016-05-17 Great King, Starward, Smoky Goat

We sampled:

With some very clear ‘wins’ – the ever lovely Compass Box treat and the surprisingly fabulous Starward from Australia.

2016-05-17 Great King St + Starward

And a very clear ‘no!’.. yeah this one decidedly got our goat for being unpalatable…

2016-05-17 Smoky Goat 2

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on: