A while ago I was supposed to participate in a Starward tasting, but unfortunately, I couldn’t make it. Of course, I tasted the samples later so three of the four whisky samples will be reviewed today. I had already reviewed the fourth one, the Starward Nova, where you will also find an introduction to this lovely distillery from Melbourne.
And since the distillery also has a strong focus on cocktails, I will also share a few nice cocktail recipes with you in another article. But for today, I will stick to these three whiskies.
All these whiskies are matured in red wine casks from local Australian wineries that mainly produce shiraz, cabernets and pinot noirs. These casks are then lightly charred or quickly blasted with steam. After which the barrels are filled at a lower alcohol percentage than usual so that the whisky draws more red wine fruit characters and tannins.
So let’s kick off with the Starward Two-Fold which is a double grain and bottled at a strength of 40% ABV.
Starward Two-Fold tasting notes:
Nose: rather sweet and bubblegummy at the start. And it’s a bit grainy. Later I also get red berries. It’s not super outspoken though, but it’s a bit simple actually. A little bit of honey, followed by a hint of lemons. Later I also get a floral note.
Taste: the same sweetness as in the nose. Bubblegum. But it’s a little thin on the palate. Blueberries and red berries. Wine gums. Honey here as well. Quite grainy too at some points. And I also get a sweet sugary note.
Finish: a bit short. With the berries again. And the bubblegum.
The Left-Field is a single malt, which is also bottled at a strength of 40% ABV.
Starward Left-Field tasting notes:
Nose: This one is more pronounced, compared to the Two-Fold. There’s immediately an abundance of berries here. Blueberries, blackberries, but raspberries too. Wine gums here as well, and also a hint of Hubba Bubba gum. Later also red berries and cinnamon.
Taste: this feels a bit thicker and the ABV of 40% does actually work very well. Lots of berries again. Sugared strawberries. Creme brulee. A pinch of cinnamon and later also some milk chocolate.
Finish: also a bit short with mostly cinnamon, oak and the berries.
Fortis is also a single malt, but is bottled at a strength of 50% ABV.
Starward Fortis tasting notes:
Nose: A bit of the same bubblegum-like nose. Rather fruity and sweet. Raspberries and sweet strawberries, but candy-like. Then it goes towards a hint of red berries. Vanilla sugar. Honey as well. Red apples and a touch of lemon.
Taste: Sweet strawberries and raspberries. Blueberries in the back. Cranberries. Haha, it’s a lot of berries again. Vanilla. Hazelnuts and it’s somewhat spicy in the end, cinnamon mostly.
Finish: mid-long with the same spices. Hazelnuts.
Overall: They are all a bit on the sweet side for me, the Australian red wine casks that Starward use for all of their whiskies are certainly prominent. They certainly have not become standard whiskies, but that is not a bad thing. All are very accessible and I can see that these will go well with certain foods and cocktails.
And that also brings me straight to the Two-Fold, which I personally liked the least. I’m not a fan of young-ish grain whiskies, that must be said, but it seems quite flat and a bit artificial to me. However, I think this one can definitely work quite well in a cocktail, so I’ll definitely be trying that out soon!
The Left-field is already a lot better and more pronounced than the Two Fold. And since this one is in the same, rather affordable price range I would definitely prefer this one over the Two Fold. The 40% ABV seems to work well here too. But my favourite of the three is
But the favourite of the three for me is Starward Fortis, this one is also sweet, but just a bit less present than in the other two and I like the nutty tones here, a nice counterpoint to all that sweetness.
Samples provided by Salud Distribution