4 Whisky Stars from the Millennial Range by North Star (Review Flight)

The Millenial Range by North Star Whisky (Highlands Speyside Islands Islay Single Malt Scotch Bottlings BarleyMania)

With The Millennial Range, accomplished indie bottler North Star Spirits added a new series of single cask bottlings to its portfolio. Unlike the company’s other products, these whiskies are released with a unified ABV of 50 per cent and no distillery mentioned on the label. Regarding their style, make and character, The Highland Star, The Speyside Star, The Island Star and The Islay Star mark well-chosen representatives of the whisky regions in their monikers. To prepare for this blog post, I savored – and enjoyed – them all!

by Tobi

The Highland Star
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Refill butt • 50% • 600 bottles)

This 11-year-old Scotch originates from an undisclosed distillery in the Highlands – by far the biggest of Scotland’s five whisky regions (the sixth one, the Islands, is not officially recognized). It opens with a sweet and fruity nose full of camomile, beeswax, apple juice and vanilla pudding. Also some fluffy and puffy pastry. In the mouth, The Highland Star is predominantly sweet with a slight sourness shimmering through. It offers soft cake with jellied garden fruits as well as whipped cream, lemon zest and raisins. The powerful finish brings pancake with stewed apples to the table. Plus camomile, gooseberry, lime and milk chocolate. On the one hand, I found this whisky to be very palatable and easily drinkable. But on the other hand, it was also character-strong and edgy. A fine dram to enjoy alone or with friends!

The Speyside Star
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Refill butt • 50% • 600 bottles)

Colorwise, The Speyside Star is the darkest of the four members of The Millennial Range. Before the first sip, I was already quite certain that it must have been drawn from a sherry cask. The soft smell and the fruity taste underlined this notion. The mellow bouquet has a lot of marzipan, cranberry, orange and cinnamon. The juicy palate reminds me of the whisky version of a chewy blueberry cupcake with a dark chocolate topping and a bit of grated ginger on top. The aftertaste is good, long and chocolatey. While this elegantly sherried Speysider is as smooth and velvety as a Siamese cat, it also has the feline’s fangs and claws. They show in the form of the elevated strength and the covibrating spiciness that underpins every stage of the degustation (from nosing to tasting to swallowing). If I had to pick just one of the four Millennial Malts as my fave, there is a good chance I would go with The Speyside Star.

The Island Star
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Refill hogshead • 50% • 300 bottles)

Even though I do not know the distillery behind The Island Star with certainty, I have an idea which of Scotland’s six classic island units it could be. If either my tasting notes or your own sipping experiences have pointed you into one direction or another, feel free to start a discussion in the comments. To give you a first clue, here is how I perceived this lovely pour: To the eye, it is light and sandy, whereas to the nose it is thick and robust. The mixture of meaty, smoky and sweet smells reminds me of grilled king prawn enshrouded in wood smoke and glazed in honey. There is also a fresh component about it that I interpreted as nettles. On the tongue, The Island Star is very sweet, but also a wee bit salty and a tad smoky. Now I get licorice, vanilla, clover, nutrasweet and more crab meat. The medium long finish is sweetish with thin layers of ashy smoke aptly woven into. Like the Scottish islands, this whisky is headstrong, fascinating and versatile. To me, it is the most complex of the four Millennial Range bottlings I savored. As for my guess at the distillery, I am not going to say too much at this point. But I would not be surprised if The Island Star came from a production site way up in the north…

The Islay Star
(Single Malt Scotch Whisky • Refill hogshead • 50% • 300 bottles)

In a blind tasting, I have guessed that The Islay Star came from one of the Kildalton distilleries on the south shore of Islay. But a little whisky birdie told me that this was not the case. One way or another, I found the sand-colored spirit to be noticeably peaty and distinctively maritime. It immediately fills the nostrils with BBQ reek and cigar ash as well as iodine, driftwood, citrus, nettle and oyster. Wahoo! When sipped, it unfolds a great mixture of zesty, sweet and smoky relishes. The mouth feel is heavy, milky and oily. There’s lemony flavors and earthy notes clashing with slightly burnt pastry and a pretty good puff o’ peat. The ongoing and memorable ending is again very maritime with smoked mackerel, vegetable peat, wet moss and mushy banana, but also something fresh that I cannot really pin down. A killer offering, for shore… erm… for sure!

The Highland Star (Single Malt / Highlands/ 11yo / Refill Butt / 50% / ~45 Euro)
The Speyside Star (Single Malt / Speyside / 12yo / Refill Butt / 50% / ~45 Euro)
The Island Star (Single Malt / Islands / 10yo / Refill Hogshead / 50% / ~45 Euro)
The Islay Star (Single Malt / Islay / 11yo / Refill Hogshead / 50% / ~50 Euro)

North Star @ Web: http://www.northstarspirits.com/
North Star @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/northstarwhisky/
North Star @ Twitter: https://twitter.com/northstarwhisky/
North Star @ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/northstarwhisky/
Sansibar @ Web (German Importer): http://sansibar-whisky.com/

*** Whisky samples kindly provided by North Star ***


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