This is a rather special bottling: After all, Starward from Australia is the first distillery outside of Scotland from which renowned indie bottlers Berry Bros & Rudd have released a whisky. That is all the more remarkable if you consider that Berry Bros & Rudd look back at a rich history, which lasts for more than 320 years! Originally, the company was founded way back in 1698. Yet, the London-based wine and spirits merchants have only started their world whisky adventures recently. In late 2020 they launched an independent 4 Years Old from Starward. In early 2021 they produced the follow-up in collaboration with their German distributor Kirsch Import. Together, the two companies picked a 3 Years Old from Starward that was matured in French and American oak before it got finished in a red wine cask. While I do not know what inspired Berry Bros & Rudd to bottle world whisky as well, I can say one thing: Personally, I find this to be a fantastic descision! We live in extremely exciting times, where outstanding malts, ryes and grains are being produced all over the globe. Besides the classic whisk(e)y nations, we must now also keep an eye on the developments in many other countries and regions: be it Scandinavia, be it the Netherlands, be it Germany and Switzerland or be it – as is the case here – Down Under. The Australian whisky I am introducing to you guys here is an impressive testimony of Starward’s capabilities! Sure, it is young. But it is also pretty ripe for its age, showing a lot of depth and a colorful flavor profile. It highlights both Starward’s skill at the still and their signature wine cask maturation policy. It is fruity, spicy, meaty, powdery, sweet … and, most of all, it is good!
Nose: Initially, the fragrances rising from the nosing glass are dry and powdery. Later, they are joined by sweeter and fruitier notes, too. I get smooth milk chocolate, buttered popcorn, wild strawberries, splintered almonds, zesty orange and a bit of scented cushions. After a short while of breathing, the whisky also develops a delish note that reminds me of fresh-baked, fluffy cupcake with cherry-creme topping. You cannot see it, but I am actually drooling as I type …
Palate: On the tongue, the sweetness from the sniffing is no longer that apparent. It has traded places with a certain meatiness that is quite peculiar – and really awesome! Imagine a thickly cut bottom round steak that is roasted all rare n’ juicy! As side dishes to our steak, we get puff pastry, red berries, sour apples, dark grapes, grated ginger and very dark chocolate (the kind that has barely any sweetness left). The mouthfeel is more on the light side, yet it also has some stature. In regard to its complexion, this single cask whisky is many-layered and well-balanced. Only now and then a brief punch to the taste buds gives a reminder: This is in fact a youthful malt bottled at cask strength.
Finish: The aftertaste is of medium length. It emphasizes on crumbly chocolate, dried fruits, squeezed elderberries, all sorts of zests and a kicking spiciness. In a recent live stream, Paddy of Berry Bros & Rudd’s German importer Kirsch Whisky mentioned wasabi as a note that struck him during the degustation. As strange a sensation as this might be, I think it is spot on!
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 3 years old
Alc. volume: 53 per cent
Cask: French and American oak with red wine finish
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: 100.00 Euro
More info: https://starward.com.au/ (Distillery) ; https://kirschwhisky.de/ (Importer) ; https://www.bbr.com/ (Bottler)
*** I bought the bottle as a regular customer.***