Recently we’ve joined an online tasting from Starward – Australian whisky hosted by DH17. After the opening by Johan (DH17) and Wouter (Bresser & Timmer / DH17) the virtual floor was all for Starward’s Brand Ambassador, Matty Follent! And we can tell you… he owned the “floor” 🥃👌🏼.
Because of the fact that Matty joined this tasting all the way from Down Under, he was sippin whisky and telling stories about Starward really early in the morning (about 06:30u).
Now that’s wat we call a “passioned” Brand Ambassador 😉…
Before we’re getting into the line-up, let’s talk about Starward a bit:
Matty informed us that Starward fired up her stills in 2017 in Melbourne and is categorized as New World Whisky. That means it’s being produces in a non typical whisk(e)y country and/or in a different style, not similar to the typical style of that country. Some examples: Mackmyra Swedish whisky, or Taiwanees whisky like Kavalan. But also Scottish Rye Whisky, or Balcones with it’s Single Malt whisky (yes indeed without the “e” 🤓).
Starward uses local ingredients from- and around Melbourne and has good contacts with local wineries, where they buy their Australian wine casks (mainly Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Cabernet). They use 3/4 Distillers yeast, combined with 1/4 Brewers yeast, which creates a tropical fruity flavor profile. And they’ve got a 3 day (Classic) fermentation in the process.
There’s about 6 – 8 % Angels’ Share in Melbourne and because of the climate the ABV increases during maturation, so they fill up their casks at 55% ABV. It is determined by Australian law that whisky needs to be 38% ABV, but Starward confirms themselves to the Scottish regulation of 40% ABV minimum. The aging period is a minimum of 3 years, but almost never up to 5 year. This has to do with the maturation proces in Australia. Matty explained (from his own experience) that a 5yo whisky is like licking a barrel stave 😝.
Something else about their cask program. We’ve already explained they use wine cask from local wineries, but the interesting thing Matty told us, was that Starward steams about 90% of their wine casks before they’re being filled. They call this “wet filled”. The other casks are getting a light char before being filled with the Starward spirit. We’ve asked what the reason of this steam cleansing proces was, instead of the normal charring and toasting? Apparently this is used because of the short period between picking up the barrels, disgorging and filling. So a quick steam is all they need. But we all know that a soaked wine barrel will deliver more fruity flavors comparing to a toasted or high charred barrel 🤫.
That’s enough info so far about Starward and if you’d like to know more about this New World Distillery… check out their website, or give Matty Follent a follow on Social Media 😉.
Let’s get into the line-up assembled by DH17 🥃.
Two Fold : Double Grain whisky – 40% ABV
A wheat (60%) and malted barley (40% mash fill), aged in red wine barrels.
- Nose: grain and malty, some red fruits, vanilla, coconut and candy sweetness.
- Palate: caramel, vanilla and some graininess.
- Finish: short with more grainy and vanilla notes.
Nova : Single Malt Whisky – 41% ABV
This is the same as the Two-Fold, but then with 100% malted barley and a (very) small ABV boost.
- Nose: red fruits, strawberry jam and some maltiness.
- Palate: strawberry & whip cream, muesli notes.
- Finish: short and creamy sweetness.
Solera : Single Malt Whisky – 43% ABV
A 100% malted barley matured in Apera casks (Aussie fortified wine similar to Sherry).
- Nose: Dark red fruits, blackberries, blueberries, creamy and creme brûlée.
- Palate: Blackberry jam, a slight sour note (maybe from that blackberries), plums and caramel.
- Finish: med/long with Plums, figs and some dry spice notes.
Tawny : Single Malt Whisky – 48% ABV
100% malted barley fully matured in Tawny (Port) casks, including Tawny Octave barrels.
- Nose: full stuffed raisin bread, dark chocolate, figs, candy wood (an old Dutch candy), caramel, burned nuts.
- Palate: Again that candy wood, but a bit less sweet, nuts, figs and nutmeg.
- Finish: med/long with lingering dried fruits and nuts.
Well… this was an interesting line-up. Especially when we’re not that typical wine cask finish/maturation guys 😅. But Starward really surprised us in a good way! The Tawny was our favorite of this range, while we actually expected it to be the Solera. The Tawny was just full on the flavors with more depth to it, especially on the nose. Unfortunately the Tawny is a limited release of 4000 bottles (50cl), so if you find one and you like it… grab it!
After this line-up we ended the online tasting with a (New) Old Fashioned. I, @Dramtastic.86 , poured mine in front of the fireplace and took time to write some tasting notes and experiences into this blog 😉
This New World Whisky Distillery from Australia is definitely one to give a “go” if you’re not already familiar with it. The whisky’s are well balanced and full on the fruity flavors. We could say their wine cask program is spot on 👌🏼. And maybe the best thing about Starward… it’s not that expensive as some other new whisky brands. That gives Matty Follent and the Starward team some extra kudos in our opinion 😉.
Thank you for all the in-depth information Matty. We’re hoping to meet you one day in the future to enjoy a dram together. Maybe from that new Left-Field or Fortis that recently released here in the Netherlands! And thanks to Johan and Wouter for hosting this tasting. We’re already looking forward to the next…
Dutch Whisky Brothers