Starward Fortis, Batch 2, Australian Red Wine Barrels, 50%

Normally I would start a post like this with something like ‘generally I try to avoid wine casks’, but with The Duchess and Michiel Wigman releasing good ones recently, that doesn’t seem to be true anymore.

I bought this bottle a couple of months ago in a discount, mostly for use in an upcoming tasting I was hosting. Another part of the bottle went to some shared samples and there was still plenty left to get a good impression of it.

Last week I finished the last sip at said tasting, and in the afternoon before it I decided it was time to finally write a review of the whisky.

It’s one of my first Australian whiskies, although I’ve had some left and right. I never got around to reviewing any of them on my blog. This has mostly to do with low-ish expectations and, since we’re half a planet away, fairly high prices. And when something got a high score somewhere it instantly sold out at too high a price still. So, no, there wasn’t much to go by.

Image from Whiskybase

Then, for some reason, I did buy this. NAS, wine cask, not much info to go by, still sixty Euros a bottle. And how did it work out?

Initially there are lots of wine like tannins and quite a lot of oak notes. These are quickly followed by some red fruits. Cherries, blackberries. Some almonds for a minor bitter note too. The tannins are quite intense, more so than I remembered from previous dram from the bottle. After a little while I also get some notes of butterscotch and chocolate.

The palate is very dry and tannic as well. The bitter notes are slightly exaggerated compared to the nose, but the fruity notes are present as well. Blue grapes, blackberries, cherries.

The finish is largely the same as the palate as the very dry and tannic notes linger most. Bitter almonds, cherries, blackberries.

It’s a bit of a weird one. There’s not much notes of ‘whisky’ in it, and the fruity notes are very wine-like. Almost like it’s some kind of distilled wine or a brandy of some kind. However, it’s quite drinkable and since I rather like bitter notes in whisky, I’m not all against it. Although I don’t think I’ll quickly buy another bottle.


Available here for € 69


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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