GSN Review: Starward Octave Barrels Whisky

Starward Australian Whisky recently introduced Starward Octave Barrels, a new Australian single malt whisky that celebrates whisky craftsmanship and Australian winemaking. Extending Starward’s progressive red wine barrel maturation practices, the Octave Barrels takes some of the world’s oldest Shiraz plantings from Australia’s oldest family-owned winery (Yalumba) and uses these barrels to create a Single Estate Australian Whisky. Starward has had a special friendship with Yalumba that stretches back to its beginnings with Starward’s first batch of whisky aged almost exclusively in Yalumba wine barrels. Yalumba is the only winery in the southern hemisphere to handcraft barrels in their own onsite cooperage. From oak selection to char, the Yalumba coopers have perfected the aroma, character and complexity each barrel brings to their wines.

This is the first release in the US from Starward Projects, a program that encourages Starward’s distillers to experiment with different whiskies and barrels to create flavor forward and unique expressions. As there is no mold for Australian whisky, Starward has the freedom to make it their own way, learning from the Old World while embracing the flavor possibilities of the New World.

Starward Octave Barrels is matured in 100L octave-sized barrels that previously held Yalumba The Octavius, an iconic Shiraz wine and the world’s only red wine aged in these specialty sized barrels. Once The Octavius is bottled, freshly emptied barrels are sent to Starward’s Melbourne distillery and filled with Starward’s new make spirit that will become their signature single malt whisky. The smaller volume of these robust little vessels, handcrafted from American oak, creates more wood to whisky interaction compared to standard sized wine barrels, allowing this single malt whisky to soak up more of the celebrated characteristics of The Octavius Shiraz as it reaches full maturation.

Starward Octave Barrel presents at 48% ABV and is now available in limited quantities at select retailers nationwide and online in a 700mL bottle

GSN’s Remarks: Lightly sweet with malt and grape essence, this is nonetheless tempered by the oak cask which infuses the endeavor with a dry character. The nose is delicate and fruity, while the entry has a robust and punch-like flavor. We particularly enjoy the Shiraz patina as it has an old school approach and is less sweet than if they had used a sherry cask. The flavor stays agreeable throughout the entire journey, and everything leads to a soft fade after several minutes. Really a joy to experience! GSN Rating: A+

For more information go to: Starward