fbpx
Created by potrace 1.12, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2015

We're just loading our login box for you, hang on!

Master of Malt Blog

Tag: Australian Whisky

The winner of our Starward competition is…

It’s about time we announced the winner of our competition to visit the spectacular Starward Distillery in Melbourne, Australia! Drum roll at the ready… Sitting here in 2020, it may…

It’s about time we announced the winner of our competition to visit the spectacular Starward Distillery in Melbourne, Australia! Drum roll at the ready…

Sitting here in 2020, it may feel like a lifetime ago, but think back to November 2019. Before that New Year’s thing occurred, and before that Christmas stuff took place, a different incredibly exciting situation happened – we announced that someone would win a trip of a lifetime to visit the Starward Distillery in Melbourne, Australia! The prize included a seven night stay in Melbourne, a private tour and drinks at the distillery, a distillery bottling of their phenomenal Australian whisky, and £500 spending money. “A cool prize” would be an understatement. Crack out the thesaurus (or just Google “other words for rad” like we all do since no one owns a physical thesaurus anymore) and whack in a few other fun adjectives and you’ll be more on the right lines.

The Starward Distillery – where our winner will be headed!

To be in with a chance to win, all you had to do was snap up a bottle from Starward’s lip-smacking range and your name would be in the hat. Many names went into the aforementioned headgear, but only one name has been pulled out, and they are our winner. That name is…

Andy Woods!

Much applause and many congratulations to our winner, Andy! We very much hope you enjoy your trip! We’d also like to give a big thank you to everyone who took part as well!

No Comments on The winner of our Starward competition is…

Win a VIP trip to Australia’s Starward distillery!

If you’ve ever wanted to make that trip Down Under, then we have great news! We’re offering you (and a lucky plus one) the chance to win a once in…

If you’ve ever wanted to make that trip Down Under, then we have great news! We’re offering you (and a lucky plus one) the chance to win a once in a lifetime trip to visit top Australian distillery Starward during a week-long stay in Melbourne plus £500 spending money!

How can I win this amazing trip, we can hear you asking? Well that’s easy! Buy a bottle from the super tasty Starward distillery range (why wouldn’t you anyway?), and you’ll be *automagically* entered into our prize draw!

Australia may not be the first spot that immediately springs to mind when you think of great whisky, but Starward is working hard to change all that. It was founded in 2007, the brainchild of David Vitale, a Melbourne born and bred whisky lover.

Starward Competition

It’s David Vitale enjoying some tasty Starward whisky!

Now, it may well be wine that’s at the forefront of your mind when thinking of Australian boozes, and this is something Vitale embraces, as Starward is known for its awesome red wine-matured whiskies. That’s right, it’s not merely finished in red wine casks, the whisky spends its entire maturation in them. Vitale wanted to create whisky which felt right at home around the dinner table, and these rich, juicy expressions are exactly that.

Starward refers to its ageing in ‘Melbourne years’, thanks to the ageing phenomenon in the city’s ‘four seasons in a day’ climate. That pretty much means what is says on the tin, because the temperature fluctuations for the barrels are huge. This means that the spirit interacts more with the rapidly expanding and contracting casks. Interestingly, this also means that, unlike some countries, as Starward whisky matures its alcohol content increases!

Sounds like a pretty amazing place, right? Well, the best is yet to come. We teamed up with the awesome folks at Starward to give you (and an equally lucky plus one) the chance to win a seven night stay in Melbourne, known as the foodie capital of Australia! Plus, you’ll enjoy a private tour and drinks at the Starward distillery itself! And that’s not all. You’ll also get £500 spending money and, naturally, a tasty distillery bottling thrown in too. Pretty amazing, if we may say so ourselves.

Starward Competition

Say hello to Starward Nova

Starward Nova

In classic Starward style, Nova spends its entire maturation in casks which previously held Australian red wine. Unusually, the casks aren’t recharred or any of that whatnot before the new make goes in, so all of those rich wine notes are retained in the whisky. Expect lots of red fruits, honeyed nuts and spices in this single malt.

Starward Competition

It’s double grain trouble with Starward Two-Fold!

Starward Two-Fold

Two-Fold is something a little different from Starward, combining malted barley and wheat (hence the name). The new make is filled into Australian red wine casks to age, so all of those caramel and big fruity notes are back in this bad boy, with some more baked bready notes from the duo of grain types used.

Alongside these two awesome bottlings, treating yourself to a bottle of the Apera (an Australian fortified wine)-matured Starward Solera, the Starward 10th Anniversary bottling drawn from the eight varieties of cask used by Starward over the years, or even the Starward (New) Old Fashioned will also get you in with a chance to win!

Good luck, everyone! We won’t be super jealous of the winner at all…

 

MoM Starward Competition 2019 is open to entrants 18 years and over. Date and travel restrictions apply. Entries close 23:59 24 December 2019. Postal route available. See full T&Cs for details.

50 Comments on Win a VIP trip to Australia’s Starward distillery!

Sullivans Cove celebrates 25 years with an historic release

Tasmanian whisky maker Sullivans Cove has released a rather unique bottling to mark its 25th anniversary. Not only is it the oldest drop the distillery has ever released; it’s the…

Tasmanian whisky maker Sullivans Cove has released a rather unique bottling to mark its 25th anniversary. Not only is it the oldest drop the distillery has ever released; it’s the oldest distillery release Australian single malt whisky has ever seen. We take five with head distiller Patrick Maguire…

Between 1994 and 1999, Sullivans Cove produced 162 casks of whisky, each one bottled and sold years before in one form or another. Their contents lost in time, or so the team thought – until a chance phone call earlier this year reunited the distillery with four of these historic casks. 

Just a few miles away in a warehouse in Hobart – Tasmania’s capital city and the home of Sullivans Cove – the 200-litre American oak ex-bourbon casks had been quietly maturing for more than 21 years; the liquid among the distillery’s earliest single malt. What an incredible find. 

Thrilled by the complexity of the liquid, the team married all four to create its “intensely creamy and incredibly textural” anniversary release, which counts pineapple, passionfruit, honeydew melon, among its tasting notes, along with Chantilly cream, mixed berry jam, sweet pastry, vanilla custard, toffee and caramel fudge –  backed up by “a deliciously warm barley grain note”. 

Patrick Maguire with all that lovely Tasmanian whisky

Yielding just 500 bottles at 49.6% ABV, the whisky carries a 21 year old age statement and is presented in Glencairn crystal decanter styled on Sullivans Cove’s first Tasmanian single malt from the late 1990s (it’s only available directly from the distillery). A fitting tribute indeed. We chatted with Patrick Maguire, head distiller, to find out exactly how this remarkable bottling came to be…

MoM: Huge congrats on the release – a milestone occasion for Sullivans Cove and Australian single malt! Could you share a little more detail about how your oldest whisky came to be bottled?

Maguire: I got a call from a storage company that was storing the whisky for some long-lost private owners. They were closing down their bond licence, couldn’t find the owners, and didn’t know what to do with the barrels. As they were produced at the old Tasmania distillery back in 1997, I was curious to see if there was any spirit left in them and if there was, what it was like. So I jumped in the car and went to the warehouse where we weighed the barrels and tasted the spirit. There wasn’t much left in them but the taste was much better than I expected – the years had done wonders to the spirit. Back at the distillery we had records of who these barrels were sold to by the original company. After a prolonged search we eventually found the owners or their families and arranged to buy them back. We moved them back to the distillery with the idea of bottling them some day. After experimenting with them it was decided the best thing to do was to blend them together – singularly they were good, but together they sang.

The Australian climate is quite unique – it’s difficult to age whisky for that long without it evaporating. Could you give us an idea roughly how much liquid was left in those casks and where the ABV settled on average?

Some of the 200 litre casks were as low as 48 litres. The best was 73 litres with ABVs up to 80% – strong stuff.

Sullivans Cove Distillery

Sullivans Cove Distillery in Cambridge, Tasmania

Sullivans Cove changed hands in 1999 – has the DNA of the distillery transformed since those formative years?

In the early days of the distillery, there was no real knowledge or experience in the art of making good single malt. It was highly experimental, to say the least. The original distillers did a great job, considering the situation. Everything was a challenge – from sourcing the barley, the wash, how does the still work, where to get the casks from, complying with the rules around excise and the production of alcohol. There’s nothing like a pioneering spirit to make good spirit! In the years since, not much has changed. Yes, we now know what we are doing, we know the rules and how the still works, what casks to use, however it’s still very early in this new era of whisky distillation. We are still learning every day. So the DNA of the spirit is the same today as it was then.

In 2004,you moved to a site in Cambridge. Why the move, how long did the transition take, and how has it shaped the spirits you produce and bottle today?

Unfortunately, no one was interested in Tasmanian whisky at that time. It was hard to sell a bottle, so the company was liquidated in 2003. I got together with a couple of partners, bought the plant and stock, moved to a small warehouse at Cambridge and started again with just two of us. A fresh start was needed. We moved from the city site at Sullivans Cove to Cambridge mainly because the city site wasn’t big enough or suitable for a distillery. Distilling was very difficult there – we had to find somewhere more suited to production rather than sales, which was the main focus of the city site. We did everything, from distilling, bottling, sales, trade shows and distribution. We slowed the production down and produced what we could only as the money came in. Today we are still using the same still, good Tassie barley and local water. The main changes have been in the packaging – new labels, new bottle, new image. That was one of the things that got sales going. We knew we had the quality of the spirit; what we needed was better packaging and distribution. It took about eight years to grow the brand from very little sales to not having enough stock to supply demand. During those quiet years, I tried experimenting with different cask types from wineries around Australia – only a few, just to see what they could do for the spirit. They are reaching maturity now and are very good indeed. Other than that, we are still only bottling a barrel when it is ready, not just because it reaches a certain age. It must tick all the boxes for me and our distillers before we consider bottling any barrel. That is the most important thing.

Sullivans Cove

Sullivans Cove 21 Year Old

Looking across the entire production process, is there a particular moment you enjoy more than the rest? From brainstorming ideas, distilling new make, overseeing maturation, and so on, which bit, if any, is your favourite?

It’s all part of making good whisky. It’s a good feeling to be running a still when it’s running right, flowing well, smelling good… Tasting the matured whisky years later when we find a cracker of a barrel. But the best thing is when someone tells me how much they enjoyed their glass of Sullies, you can’t beat that.

New World Whisky is getting people excited, and as one of the longest running craft single malt whisky distilleries in Australia, you’re perfectly positioned to ride the wave. What does the next year or two look like for you guys in the distillery?

There is growing interest in New World Whisky, however there’s a lot of work to do to persuade whisky consumers to try alternatives to Scotch and Irish. Most people don’t realise Australia makes single malt. Many don’t know that a number of other countries do as well. Collectively, we have a lot to do to change perceptions and be accepted as credible whisky-making regions. We’ll be busy doing that – there are good times ahead.

 

No Comments on Sullivans Cove celebrates 25 years with an historic release

Five minutes with… Cape Byron Distillery’s Eddie Brook

Head to the hinterland of Australia’s Byron Bay and you’ll find Cape Byron Distillery nestled among 96 acres of lush greenery and macadamia orchards. Here, co-founder Eddie Brook talks about…

Head to the hinterland of Australia’s Byron Bay and you’ll find Cape Byron Distillery nestled among 96 acres of lush greenery and macadamia orchards. Here, co-founder Eddie Brook talks about distilling the sub-tropical pantry on his doorstep in collaboration with former Bruichladdich master distiller Jim McEwan…

More than 30 years ago the Brook family bought a run-down dairy farm (see photo in header) in Australia’s Byron Bay region and set about regenerating the rainforest that once stood there. Today, Cape Byron Distillery co-founder and CEO Eddie captures native flavours from the incredible natural larder he calls home and sends his bottlings across the globe for our drinking pleasure.

Sustainability, community and regeneration are the core principles that underpin the distillery’s approach to spirit-making. Brookie’s Dry Gin came first, co-created with mentor and master distiller Jim McEwan, featuring 26 botanicals – 18 of which are native to the Byron Bay area, followed by Brookie’s Slow Gin, made in the traditional English sloe style using native Davidson’s plums.

Eddie Brook, Cape Byron

Roll out the barrel! Eddie Brook in action

Cape Byron’s most recent creation? A roasted macadamia nut liqueur called Brookie’s Mac.  Roasted macadamia nuts, macadamia nut shell and wattleseed are steeped in wheat-based spirit before Mount Warning spring water and natural sugar cane syrup is added, resulting in a moreish butterscotch, cacao and coffee-flavoured sipper that tastes incredible over ice with a squeeze of lime, stirred through an Old Fashioned, or mixed into affogato.

We called Cape Byron Distillery co-founder and CEO Eddie Brook for the 411* on potent botanicals, rejuviated rainforest, and soon-to-be Australian whisky…

Master of Malt: Hey Eddie! Congrats on the launch of your latest product, Mac. Let’s start by talking wattleseed. Can you give our readers a little introduction to this botanical? 

Eddie Brook: Wattleseed is from the world of bush food. If you look at Australian food culture we’ve got the most incredible pantry of native flavours to pull from and wattleseed is one of my favourites. The best way to describe it is ‘bush coffee’ – the beautiful aroma of roasted coffee meets dark chocolate and semi-burnt popcorn. It’s like coffee in that the quality is only as good as the grower that grows it and the roaster that roasts it. Mac is macadamia and wattleseed, simple in its own right but showcasing those flavours in the best way possible. The macadamia shell in particular has never been used for production before which is pretty exciting. We don’t use any colourings or flavourings, it’s all down to steeping freshly-roasted macadamia and wattleseed in wheat spirit when they’re at absolute optimum flavour for around three months on average, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.

Rainforest, Byron Bay Region

Just a bit of local rainforest

MoM: Cape Byron distillery is surrounded by a macadamia orchard and a sub-tropical rainforest. Did you always intend to forage a large portion of your ingredients, or did this idea develop over time?

EB: When my family bought the 98-acre farm it was completely run-down, there was barely a tree growing on the land, so my upbringing was regenerating rainforest. We hacked away weeds and replanted trees so I suppose I had a connection to our landscape, which is an area called Northern Rivers. We are blessed with this densely-populated thriving ecosystem of incredible native flavours and that was the world I was brought up in. Every year mum and I would harvest Davidson’s plums from the rainforest and made jam with them. When my journey through the food and spirit industry led me to meet my absolute idol, and now mentor and business partner Jim McEwan, I learned how to bring those products together. We’ll go walking through the rainforest and harvest native ginger and raspberries, we’ve got rye berries growing, we’ve aniseed myrtle and cinnamon myrtle – it’s honestly like having a massive pantry, you’ve just got to work a bit harder to get the ingredients. 

MoM: Having previously worked for a spirits importer and distributor, did you feel daunted about being a newcomer in the industry? Or was the idea a no-brainer because of the incredible Australian ingredients growing in, quite literally, your back garden?

EB: Oh for sure, of course you can’t help but look to see what other people are doing. I’ve always been in awe of these great products, in particular I was lucky enough to be an ambassador and brand manager for The Botanist. The story of that spirit represents more than just product in a bottle, it came about by working with botanists to showcase the flavours of Islay. Through knowing those brands and also working with Jim, I knew our foundations were real and strong, too. The world of native Australian flavours, especially rainforest botanicals and ingredients, is mind-blowing. When I take people through the farm and they taste native raspberry or I pick some aniseed myrtle, you can see that child inside them come to life; it opens up their eyes to the flavours and that’s what I wanted to bring through our spirit. We want our gin to taste like gin, but by bringing in those native Australian flavours we’ve created something new and exciting.

MoM: As a distiller, what are you especially proud of? Was there a botanical or ingredient that was harder to work with, for example?

EB: Finding the initial balance for our dry gin was an exciting challenge. When we’re talking about native Australian ingredients, the reason they’re not in the pantry or on shelves is that they are extremely potent flavours – incredible in their own right, but you’ve got to know how to use them. Take dorrigo pepperleaf, for instance, which is like Sichuan pepper meets an Earl Grey tea leaf. When you balance that in rye, it completely pops. But the one that I’m most proud of is our Brookie’s Slow Gin. As a country we don’t grow sloe berries, they’re very much cold climate, but we do have the Davidson’s plum – the same one mum and I would pick when I was a young boy to make jam – a type of bush food that only grows in Northern Rivers through small farmers. In our first year we purchased three tonnes, last year was 12 tonnes, and next year we’re looking to purchase 24 tonnes. With the success of this product we’re growing the local industry and connecting people around Australia with native ingredients and the land.

Mac. by Brookie's (2)

Brookie’s Mac liqueur with real macadamia nuts to the side

MoM: Let’s talk about the new make spirit you’ve laid down. Which natural resources lend themselves to distilling in the Byron Bay region? How will the climate impact the resulting whisky?

EB: There’s something quite magical about whisky and the way the barley, the malting process, the yeast, the fermentation time, the distillation, the cask and the environment all have a huge impact on the liquid. We’re quite lucky with the whisky production laws in Australia which give us a bit of flexibility and creativity in how we can approach this incredible category. One of the major ones is that we don’t have to produce our own wort – we’re very lucky that our dear family friends own a brewery just down the road which is Australia’s number one independent craft beer company called Stone & Wood. Jim and I worked with them and selected a certain Australian barley strain and two yeasts, one of which has never been used for the production of whisky before, to make our new make spirit, which has flavours of lychee, kiwi, pear and apple skin. The wash is fermented and twice-distilled with no computers, it’s all down to sensory from the teachings with Jim, and then it goes into full-sized ex-bourbon casks which rest in barrel houses on our distillery located in the hinterland of Byron. You’ve got the sea air mixing with the rainforest, it’s a really unique climate. It’ll take the heat out of summer and the rainforest takes the cold out of winter so that’ll have an impact on our spirit. We’ll see a faster maturation in Australia, the equivalent of maybe a five year old in Scotland we’ll see in about three years. It was a pretty special moment when we found the heart of our spirit – I was running the still with Jim, who was nosing [the new make]. He closed his eyes and when he looked at me a grin peeled across his face and he said, ‘Eddie, hand on heart this is one of the finest spirits I’ve ever produced’. We have to wait two years until it becomes whisky, but there are some very exciting times ahead.

MoM: If there was one thing about you’d like everyone to take away from Cape Byron, what would it be?

EB: I would love to see people reconnect with nature. When people come to our distillery they get a sense of what nature used to be. We had the greatest rainforest in Australia in our backyard and that was destroyed. Regenerating the world might be greater than you and I, but every little bit can make a difference. We’ve brought our land back in 28 years and now it’s a thriving rainforest – giving that sense of empowerment to people is my end goal; to change people’s perceptions and open their eyes to the land.

*slang for information from the American directory enquiries number. In Britain you could say 118 118 instead, though you will get some blank looks. 

 

No Comments on Five minutes with… Cape Byron Distillery’s Eddie Brook

New Arrival of the Week: Starward Nova

This week we shine our special Master of Malt spotlight on a new release from Melbourne’s Starward distillery. It’s a single malt whisky aged entirely in Australian wine casks. Founder…

This week we shine our special Master of Malt spotlight on a new release from Melbourne’s Starward distillery. It’s a single malt whisky aged entirely in Australian wine casks. Founder David Vitale was in town to tell us all about it.

We’ve followed all of Starward’s spirits with great interest, not least one cask that was part-matured on a ship from Australia to Southampton. The latest release is called Nova: it’s the big brother of Starward Wine Cask Edition, which couldn’t be called whisky because it was too young. Nova, however, has spent three years maturing in Melbourne, so it has come of age and it can finally be labelled whisky. It’s like a booze bar mitzvah. Mazel tov!

David Vitale

David Vitale enjoying a dram

It was matured in a mixture of wine casks from some of Australia’s greatest wineries including Yalumba, Penfolds and Wynns. The barrels are a mixture of American, French and a little East European oak that previously held mainly Shiraz, Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Vitale emphasised that the spirit is entirely aged in wine casks: “it’s not a finish, the casks are not shaved and toasted, no recharring. This is full maturation with minimal intervention, the wine goes out and whisky comes in.” The spirit which is made entirely from Australian malted barley goes into cask at 55% ABV, Starward describes it as “more like an eau de vie than a heavy Scotch new make spirit.”

The warmth of the Melbourne climate means that it matures much faster than Scotch whisky. But it’s not all plain sailing: “After six months of strawberries and cream, it goes through this adolescent phase of not being that great to be honest”, Vitale said. It’s worth the wait, though, as it comes out the other side as a riot of red fruit. He also pointed out that because these casks had only ever held table wine (as opposed to other spirits or fortified wine), they have more wood tannin left which is perceptible in the feel of the whisky in the mouth (full tasting notes below). 

It’s a delicious sipping whisky as well as a cocktail spirit par excellence. We tried it in an Old Fashioned and a Highball but Vitale likes it best in a Manhattan: “If a whisky matured in red wine barrels can’t make a decent Manhattan then we’ve done something wrong,” he joked.

Starward Nova

On its own, on the rocks or in a cocktail, Starward Nova is an easy-going sort of whisky

Last year, Vitale moved from Melbourne to Seattle to capitalise on the US market (at the moment Starward is only available in America, Britain, Australia and selected travel outlets). “Starward is currently available in 20 American cities. The US is such a huge opportunity for us. It’s our focal point for the time being in terms of growth. Progressive bars and retailers understand that the new world whisky category is growing”, he said.

The next thing in the pipeline is a much-anticipated blended whisky. Called Two Fold, it will be made from 60% wheat and 40% malted barley. The wheat is column-distilled off site; Vitale described it as having a “really flavour forward high ester profile.” The two spirits are matured separately at Starward and then married. It should be available in the UK in October and according to Vitale, “I think in time it  will be the most popular Starward whisky”. We think he might be right.

Starward Nova tasting notes from The Chaps at Master of Malt:

Nose: Positively bursting with red fruit like strawberries with a Port-like mixture of fruit and nuts.

Palate: Honey, cinnamon and more red fruit on the palate, creamy nutty texture, luxurious mouthfeel with a touch of tannin.

Finish: Toffee with walnuts. 

 

No Comments on New Arrival of the Week: Starward Nova

How Australian whisky-makers harnessed the power of nature

In much the same way that Scotch whiskies are shaped by their location, so too is liquid down under – except Australia happens to be a gargantuan 98 times bigger…

In much the same way that Scotch whiskies are shaped by their location, so too is liquid down under – except Australia happens to be a gargantuan 98 times bigger than Scotland. In part two of our series, Australian distillers reveal how the country’s natural resources influence the taste of their whisky

Australia’s booze roots lie in spirits production, as we discovered on the blog last month. As modern day distillers flock to reignite its history, could Aussie whisky become the breakout category of the decade?

It certainly has the resources to do so. Australia is one of the largest malting-grade barley producers in the world, with many varieties unique to the country, says Dave Withers, master distiller at New South Wales distillery Archie Rose.

“We work with a number of New South Wales’ farmers to get hold of unique malts which demonstrate regional terroir,” he adds. “It also allows us to develop a relationship with the land and their custodians, exploring ancient and heirloom varieties”.

No Comments on How Australian whisky-makers harnessed the power of nature

The past, present, and future of Australian whisky

Distillers across Australia are crafting whisky by the barrelful, and it’s liquid unlike any you’ve ever tasted before. In the first of a two part series, the country’s producers share…

Distillers across Australia are crafting whisky by the barrelful, and it’s liquid unlike any you’ve ever tasted before. In the first of a two part series, the country’s producers share insight into the past, present and future of Australian whisky-making…

A moment of appreciation for our mates down under, guardians of some of the world’s most astonishing wines. They brought us Neighbours, the electric drill, and Google Maps. They even invented WiFi. Australia Day, which lands on 26 January each year, may be a national event – but thanks to the country’s great minds, the world has plenty to celebrate too.

Today, Australia is best known for low-abv boozes like wine and beer, but that wasn’t always the case. In Tasmania – which is quickly earning a reputation as the whisky capital of Australia – distilling dates back to the earliest days of European settlement, more than 200 years ago, explains Heather Tillott, production manager at Sullivans Cove Distillery.

“We have evidence that some of the first convicts who landed were stealing grain to make spirits,” she says. “There was a thriving spirits industry here with several licensed distilleries, mostly based on the excellent barley we grow in Tassie. Unfortunately, in 1838 a law was passed banning distillation in Tasmania and we didn’t make a drop of whisky in a commercial capacity here for over 150 years.”

No Comments on The past, present, and future of Australian whisky

Whisky Advent 2018 Day #2: Starward New World Malt Whisky

A delightful New World whisky awaits those who are about to open window #2 of their Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar… We hope you all had a wonderful…

A delightful New World whisky awaits those who are about to open window #2 of their Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar

We hope you all had a wonderful first day of Advent, and indeed December, yesterday. Some people will have helped themselves to a square of chocolate, others to a beauty product or toy (Lego, if you’re lucky). But I’m sure most people reading kicked off yesterday with a bang thanks to the delicious surprise (don’t click if you don’t want spoilers – you’ve been warned) waiting in your Drinks by the Dram Whisky Advent Calendar. Now you’ll get to experience that joy all over again as we open the second window! What tasty treat is waiting behind window #2? Well…

7 Comments on Whisky Advent 2018 Day #2: Starward New World Malt Whisky

The stars align: 10 years of Starward whisky

Gone are the days where the word whisk(e)y solely referred to liquid produced in Scotland, Ireland, or America. Today, a fresh wave of whisky-makers across the globe, with their unique…

Gone are the days where the word whisk(e)y solely referred to liquid produced in Scotland, Ireland, or America. Today, a fresh wave of whisky-makers across the globe, with their unique climates and natural resources, are offering malt fans a taste of regionality. David Vitale, founder of Australian whisky brand Starward, delves into the inner-workings of his distillery down-under…

When he founded Starward back in 2007, David Vitale penned the concept “a distinctly Australian whisky” in his notebook, and set out to define what that meant. Ultimately, he wanted a whisky that was “as distinctive as peat is to Islay whisky, in an approachable fashion”.

“We could have gone down the wattle or eucalypt path, but it wouldn’t have tasted all that great,” muses Vitale, who earned his whisky stripes working for Bill Lark at Tasmania’s Lark Distillery. “It had to be something that you could share with friends that wasn’t going to be an acquired taste or something you cross off your bucket list and then move on.

“With hindsight it’s bloody obvious that we should be using wine barrels to do that, but at the time it was a big leap of faith. If we could crack that nut, we’d have a whisky that’s more Australian than Scotch is Scottish.”

No Comments on The stars align: 10 years of Starward whisky

The rise and rise of European whisky

Fancy sampling some delightful whisky newness? It’s time to branch out beyond Scotch and Irish expressions and explore Europe’s growing cohort of distilled deliciousness. As whisky lovers, we’re spoilt for…

Fancy sampling some delightful whisky newness? It’s time to branch out beyond Scotch and Irish expressions and explore Europe’s growing cohort of distilled deliciousness.

As whisky lovers, we’re spoilt for choice. Established distillers continue to hone their goods with an increasing awareness that the industry is changing – a mass of engaged, demanding drinkers thirst for the most compelling spirits, and producers are working harder than ever to keep our attention. New distilleries are springing up left, right and centre, injecting even more of a buzz into proceedings. What a time to be alive.

The traditional Scotch and Irish producers (there’s much deliberation over where the birthplace of whisk(e)y lies – best approached over a dram or two) have long had a stronghold over our drinking habits. But this is changing – and quickly. The upswell of new distilleries is not confined to either country, and right across Europe new and familiar names are creating incredible whiskies – or soon-to-be whiskies – and shaking up expectations in the process.

2 Comments on The rise and rise of European whisky

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search