Friday, November 18, 2016

A cracking dram - Starward Wine Cask

Starward Wine Cask
Australia's progressive distillery Starward has been achieving higher and higher goals as the last few years have passed on. It is without question credit to the business that they have maintained quality and price in an Australia market where many average Australian whiskies have played on the back of other distilleries awards to raise their own prices in the name of great artisanal craftsmanship.
Starward is not only priced well but excels in the magic of youthful Australian spirits.

Now in its 3rd edition the Starward Wine Cask release saw release into the retail chain Dan Murphy's at a handsomely priced $75AU to $80AU a bottle. Aged at approx 3.5 years his whisky sees exclusive maturation in Australian ex-wine casks. Though the original release was almost totally ex-Shiraz casks the current release sees a combination of many wine cask styles from across Australia.

Can you expect typical Starward caramelised banana characteristics? Yes though these elements are much less in the forefront. A great compliment to the classic Starward Solera Apera cask but enough removed to enjoy in its own unique environment.

A great thing to know about the use of Australia wine casks and Starward is that they do not re-cooper the size of the red wine casks in anyway. Effectively they are used fresh and wet, straight off the vineyards. Where as the re-coopered Apera casks will cost around $600AU before filling, a fresh wine cask will only cost about $150AU. Not only does it deliver great economics to the distillery but it ensures they maintain a much more viable price point to keep their drams publicly accessible.

Starward Wine Cask Batch 3
Distillery: New World Whisky Distillery
Region: Melbourne, Australia
ABV: 41%
Age: 3.5+ Years (approx)
Wood: Australian Wine (primarily Shiraz)

Nose: Grapes, bananas, a freshly open packet of raisins, orange peel & malty cereals.

Taste: Mouth filling with an oily viscosity developing notes of dark chocolate, golden syrup & dry fruits.

Finish: Long, chalky & dry with continued hints of the golden syrup.

If I was to give a dram this gets a solid 6.5  out of 7 for just being so well made and so affordable. I love the styles wine cask whiskies deliver as malt characteristics appear much fresher and lighter. This may be down to the  potential of the sugar elements of grape matching so well with the malt or the fact the casks do not suffer so much assertion as is seen in sherry and bourbon casks. Who knows really and does it matter? If it drinks well and you can afford it then that is all that matters.

Well done Starward for another cracker dram.

The Baron