Review: Starward Two-Fold Double Grain Australian Whisky / by Jason Hambrey

Ex-Wine Casks
Barley and Wheat
Producer Starward Distillery (Melbourne, Australia)

This whisky is a mixture of column distilled wheat whisky (distilled at a different distillery in Australia) and Starward’s own single malt. The whiskies are matured in wine casks at Starward distillery. David Vitale, Starward’s founder, really likes what wheat whiskies do to his wine casks: “it brings the casks to light in a brand new way”. It does, indeed - the profile is very different from the single malt, but is a really nice base to carry the house style of Starward - and at a cheaper price point. This just launched in the USA.

Review (2019)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: SDQA-UVPP

  • Bottling Date: 2019

The nose is spicy with lots of oak, red wine tannins, pineapple, apple, red currants, gooseberries, and green bell pepper. There is a nice hint of big, spicy red wine which is integrated quite nicely on the nose. The palate has a decent kick of oak and maple. It has great mouthfeel, with loads of red fruit and chocolate. The wheat distillate is present, clean and quite nice, in the background. I’ve tasted a number of wine-matured whiskies, but none quite like this – which is so wine-forward but still tastes very much like a whisky and not some kind of in-between spirit. It’s very easy to drink, and I find there is a nice touch of bitterness throughout the whole whisky which is just right, just as a good wine or coffee has just the right amount of bitterness. The finish carries oxidized wine notes, oak, cream of wheat, licorice, and clove. There’s lots going on.

It’s quite nice as a highball, too.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average (in Australia). In the USA, it might come in at $30 USD which would bump it into the bottom of my high value category.