Dram Review: Starward Two-Fold

[40.0%・NAS・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・General Release]

Nose:

Easy on the nose, strawberry flavoured condensed milk, can pineapples and golden syrup followed by a drier grain-y influence and some wood chips in the mix.

Palate & Finish:

Accommodatingly sweet, thinned out caramel and some diluted layerings of caramelised banana and pineapple, and raspberry coulis followed by a cereal chewiness that moves to a mild finish of faintly remaining raspberry coulis drizzled on caramelised popcorn.

Thoughts:

This is what the casual drinking public by and large has been waiting for, a cheap and cheerful blended Australian whisky.

It’s a clever move, sourcing the grain component externally is a good way to up output without investing a whole lot, over-expanding is just something Australian distilleries need to be conscious about.

This is a genuine market disruptor, one that will challenge the other players. Having known Mr. Vitale and the Starward guys for a few years now, I respect their business philosophy; by sticking to the well received formula of maturing in red wine barrels this is actually a calculated release that is as well executed as the circumstances allow.

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/style]

-Nicholas

Whisky Review: Starward Projects Bourbon Cask Whisky

Style: Sweet and Refreshing

Nose:
Sweet banana pie dusted with icing sugar. Freshly opened canned pineapple, tropical punch with a heavy layer of vanilla frosting covering on it. Ripe melon notes balanced by crisp cucumber notes. Lemon poppy seed, peppermint and thyme forming a thin thread of herbal tone and shoots all the way to the back. Finish with a subtle touch of oatmeal malt.

Palate:
Maltier than what the nose has suggested. Begins with ripe honeydew, mangoes and banana fruit tart. Malt knuckling down, cucumber water flowing through the backbone, crisp and refreshing. Ester fruits filling up the empty space on top, lemon honey mochi, sweet and mellow.

Finish:
Syrupy tropical fruits linger, it gradually dries up and we have a malty and dry spice finish.

Thoughts:
To be completely honest, when I saw this is a Bourbon cask matured Starward, I was a bit sceptical because I feel the distillate fits better with wine casks, but no, instead, we have a pleasant surprise here – This is a nice, fruity Starward with a refreshing touch. Not overly complex but there are clear layerings which form a clean structure, it reminds me a bit of nice Glenkinchie, a smooth, dessert-y, summer dram.

☆ [Recommended]

[52% / Original Bottling / Cask Strength / 1200 Bottles / Limited Edition / Matured in Bourbon Casks / *-]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Starward Wine Cask Single Malt

Whisky Review: Starward Distillery Only Single Cask 170525A

Style: Sweet and Spicy

Nose:
Starts with subtly sweet aroma, soft dark cherries, prunes, tropical fruits, mellow honey and ester fruits all brushed with a layer of dry husk barley. Follows with a speck of peppermint, ginger and nutmeg. Touches of floral nectar and malty rims glittering gently. Aroma drying up at the back, finishes with white oak and pepper.

Palate:
Soft grapes slowly advances, crystalized red fruits sweetness opens up just as the malty jacket slipping off. Passion and tropical fruits reduced to syrup and sinking down, light cherries buzzing, another bite of malt biscuit. Dryness towards the end, black pepper spice, spearmint and nutmeg overtaking the perfumed fruits.

Finish:
Sweet grapes, bubble gum, more cherries and overripe fruits staying on. Malty water, sweet ale with a decent finish.

Thoughts:
Apera sherry works in a subtle way with the Starward spirit, the upside is, it reveals more complexities of the malt than other cask types. The sweetness takes its time to flourish and the progression of flavours is quite enjoyable. Savoury over gentle nips. The more I spend time with it, the more I like it. Well balanced.

✓ [Recommended if you like the style/distillery]

[48% • Original Bottling • No Age Statement • Single Cask • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • Batch Number: 170525A • Matured in first-fill 200L Apera cask • Bottle Number 34 of 234]

-Esmond

Tasted at Starward Distillery, Melbourne.

Dram Review: 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

 

 

 

 

Dram Review: Starward Lui Bar Selection #3

[46.0%・NAS・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Very shy, hint of mocha perhaps, a fizzle of strawberries and crème caramel held tightly together.  Quite sterile to begin but it becomes much more fragrant as time goes by, rose cream, caramelised banana and bubble gum start to come out.

Palate & Finish:

Red cherries, whipped cream and strawberries, on the light and playful side as it turns tropical, quite nicely strung together.

A light finish, simplistic with hint of can pineapples.

Thoughts:

If I remember correctly, Starward’s philosophy takes inspiration from distilleries such as Glenfiddich and Glenlivet, it does feel like with this release they are aiming for a very subtle style in particular, perhaps much more so than their Scottish counterparts..

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Starward Ginger Beer Cask #3

[48.0%・NAS・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

More cotton candy than ginger, ginger flowers effortlessly relaxing in the background.  Dried mango cubes and candy floss, hint of pepper and orange blossom, lighthearted but cute.

Palate & Finish:

Lemony and oozing of green apple sauce, together with the lime jelly it sets a refreshing summery tone.  The ginger provides a wee kick to the proceedings but disperses swiftly thereafter.

Traces of cured ginger in the finish mellowed by simple syrup, a nice follow through.

Thoughts:

For me personally, this is a great dram for those hot summery days, I reckon it will be very versatile as well, good for a highball I bet.  This batch certainly feels more structured, a real testament to Starward’s maturing techniques.

☆ [Recommended]

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Starward Dram Full Single Cask #1

[58.0%・NAS・Official Bottling・Cask No. 160921-A・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

A frail grasp of lemongrass and vanilla from toasted oak staves, mildly fragrant with a underlying buttery note.

Palate & Finish:

Vanilla custard with traces of lemons, sultana and rockmelons. The juicy vibe ties well with the milk chocolate, followed by spices that come across quite loud but juxtapose well with the caramel at the bass.

Banana toffee and barley grist developing in the finish.

Thoughts:

An interesting “less is more” approach from the guys at Dram Full and Starward, valiant effort.

-Nicholas

Dram Review: Starward Ginger Beer Cask #2

[NAS・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

This whisky has been matured in a ginger beer cask. I can’t think of anything more fitting than this to pay homage to the Australian culture.

Nose:

Gingery nose, ginger beer with a touch of vanilla. You are getting what you’ve paid for. Fresh white oak in the backend with cumin smoke.

Palate & Finish:

Spiciness hits first in the palate, then you get the ginger beer and light vanilla coming through.

Gingery notes carrying in for a light spicy finish.

Thoughts:

Definitely a light body whisky with some kick to it, good for a summertime arvo.

-Nicholas