Saturday 16 March 2013

Tasted #12: Starward Single Malt Whisky (Australia)

A few days ago I posted an article about my Coffee with David Vitale (CEO, New World Whisky Distillery), discussing his new "Starward" Australian single malt.

All the key details are in that post, but in short, this is a ~2.5year old Australian whisky distilled in Melbourne, near Essendon Airport. Different? Without a doubt. But how did it taste? In a word - surprising. In two words - surprisingly good!

Starward Malt Whisky (43% ABV, approximately 2.5 years old)

Nose: My first thought was "Bourbon"? David had mentioned I might notice some Bourbon hints (despite no Bourbon barrels being used in the production) and he wasn't wrong. Sweet and smooth, there isn't a hint of harshness on the nose. Figs and dried fruit are noticeable too.
(The colour is a rich amber - not overly dark, but dark enough considering the relative youth).

Palate: Less Bourbon than the nose, I got hints of toast, spice, and dried fruit. Still sweet, but not overly so. A dash of water toned down the dried fruit notes and really cranked up the spice. Smooth throughout, and extremely drinkable as an "everyday" whisky. I actually noticed a slight similarity to younger Glenfiddichs (e.g. 12yo).

Attention to detail - all the way down to
the cap on the media sample!

Finish: Youthful (as you might expect), but still no hints of being harsh or "unready". The finish isn't overly long, but doesn't feel cut short like say the Dalmore Cigar Malt (the Dalmore's short finish being purposeful). Dried fruits remain as does the spice, and slight hints of dryness.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 90/100

All up a very enjoyable dram, and something I could quite happily drink for any occasion. For $80, Starward should be considered excellent value in Australian whisky terms. I'll be buying a bottle.

 - Martin.


  1. I'm interested in checking this out but I'm a little worried about the bourbon character that people keep mentioning.

    Even though this uses malted barley rather than soured corn mash, does the bourbon character carry through to give the sickly off aftertaste you get from that particular spirit?

  2. While I don't mind a nice bourbon (neat or on the rocks), I'd say the finish and palate on this is definitely more "whisky" than "whiskey", if you know what I mean. It's still closer to say, a Scotch, than a Bourbon. :)

    They run tastings around Australia (the website has details), so it might be worth checking one out if you're interested.

    - Martin.