Origin: Melbourne (Australia)
Type: Australian Single Malt Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-wine
Added colouring: No
Owner: New World Whisky Distillery
Average price: € 65.00
Official website: starward.com.au
We fill one of the (many) gaps in the blog by reaching faraway Australia, where there is an interesting ferment in whisky production.
There are more than fifty distilleries on this big island, but one that stands out the most is Starward, with facilities based in the city of Melbourne since 2016.
The distillery is the result of the ingenuity and desire to experiment of David Vitale, of Italian origin, who, as a great lover of craft beer (which he produced at home), was struck by a visit to the Lark distillery in Tasmania. In 2007, the project to produce 100% Australian whisky (the raw materials come from around the city), aged in ex-wine casks, for which Australia is renowned, was born.
The initial stages are carried out with a view to producing craft beers, while the ageing in ex-wine casks (including pinot and syrah) takes place over three to four years, taking advantage of the island’s particular climate. A special feature: the casks are steam-treated rather than charred, in order to preserve the wine’s aromas.
The whisky is produced with a view to convivial consumption and combined with food, one of Vitale’s other passions, pushing for characteristics that are far removed from those commonly associated with Scotch.
Nova is the main whisky in their (for now) restricted portfolio, three years aged in ex-red wine casks including pinot, cabernet and syrah, first released in 2018 and still one of the best-selling.
As you hold the glass to your nose, you sink into a bowl full of wild berries: blueberries, raspberries and strawberries tangle your nostrils with their sweetly acidic notes. Pomegranate. There’s a not-so-thick substrate of caramel and malt along with a slight balsamic note. Not very incisive but pleasant.
The palate has a light body with an initial burst of pepper and ginger that soon declines into the same score as the nose, with fruity and acidic scents, ample tannins and malt in the background. Not very persistent, with time some bitter brushstrokes grow and an impression of chocolate appears.
The finish is medium length and dry, with red fruits, pomegranate, almonds, chocolate and herbaceous touches.
Considering that it is matured entirely in red wine, you would expect something more decisive, for better or worse, but instead you find in the glass a well characterised whisky without excesses. It doesn’t offer complex depths, but neither would it want to, you can just accuse it of lacking bite and that it could be more persuasive.