First Impression: Starward 10th Anniversary Bottling

[52.0%・NAS・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The initial musk is rather captivating, chalk dust with vintage leather-bound books and forest berries painting an enticing landscape of darkness whilst the a mellow tone ensues from the oak.  Burnt figs and toasted almonds circling as the oak slowly engulfs the scene; fortunately the sticky strawberries intervene to elevate the sweetness, lift the heaviness, and draw back the oak presence, releasing the sweetness from the grapes with just a brush of French vanilla.  Quite poised and elegant.

Palate & Finish:

An oomph of balsamic laced strawberries just oozes out on the palate, the acidity is intense with the dark berries and figs, which in turn amplifies the sweetness.  The tannins then hit on the mid-palate, making way for a brief and disorientating moment of spice-led numbness before the sweet brown-sugar-seasoned-strawberry-cube note returns with a slightly buttery undertone.

The oak provides a chewiness in the finish, bitter chocolate nibs and dried blackcurrants atop toasted granola.  Almond powder leaving a slightly sweet aftertaste as the finishing stays on a mostly drying course.

Thoughts:

This particular release tells me the guys at the distillery are fully aware of what the Australian crowd is cultishly into and have delivered accordingly.  It deviates from the NWD casks I have had of late but I think this will prove popular.

I must admit I struggled with this one initially, but I grew to appreciate it more once it started to open up, it’s been a while since I have had the pleasure of experiencing such a complex nose in an Australian whisky.

Congratulations again on the 10th anniversary!

-Nicholas