Starward Australian Whisky has introduced Starward Octave Barrels, an Australian single malt whisky matured in Australian shiraz wine barrels.
Barrels chosen for this red wine-aged whisky previously held Yalumba winery old vine shiraz. Starward has had a relationship with Yalumba that stretches back to its beginnings with Starward’s first batch of whisky aged almost exclusively in Yalumba wine barrels. Yalumba makes barrels in their own onsite cooperage.
This is the first release in the U.S. from Starward Projects, an experimental program.
Starward Octave Barrels matured in 100-L, octave-sized barrels that had held Yalumba The Octavius Shiraz. Once The Octavius is bottled, freshly emptied barrels travel to Starward’s Melbourne distillery, where they are filled with Starward’s new make spirit. The smaller volume of these little vessels, made from American oak, is meant to create more wood-to-whisky interaction compared to standard-sized wine barrels.
The result is a single malt Australian whisky with aromatics of red fruit, raisins, ripe peach, caramel and toasty oak, the company reports. On the palate are dark forest fruits above a toasted oak backbone, before a finish of toasted marshmallow.
“This is a story of provenance; our first real deep-dive into the world of red wine cask maturation started with Yalumba,” says Starward Founder David Vitale. “The generosity of the Yalumba winemakers and coopers to share their knowledge and give us access to these casks back in 2013 allowed me to fulfill my ambition of creating a distinctly Australian whisky that we now offer the world with pride. Of course, I am proud of all our limited releases, but this one holds a special place in my heart, and I’m so excited to share it with everyone.”
Starward Octave Barrel is 48% ABV. It’s now available in limited quantities at select retailers nationwide and online at starward.com/us/whisky/octave-barrels in a 700-ml. bottle for a suggested retail price of $79.99.