For its latest limited-edition release, Australian whiskymakers Starward decided to leave their cozy continent and head to the (disputed) birthplace of whisky, Scotland, to team up with Islay’s iconic Lagavulin Distillery. The end result is that some lucky few will get the opportunity to try one of the more exciting whisky releases to come from Oz this year, Starward Finished in ex-Lagavulin Barrels, a first for the brand.
Starward usually matures its Single Malt Australian whisky in red wine barrels, but for this new release, they aged that whisky for an additional 18 months in the famously peated whisky barrels from Lagavulin Barrels. This lead to the creation of an amber gold whisky that boasts aromas of yellow nectarine, a touch of peat, pineapple, and a hint of iodine. The palate starts off very tropical with char-grilled pineapple, which is then followed by flavors of black tea and brine. The finish finds drying ash, but follows through with tropical fruits and a touch of oak.
Lagavulin is one of the oldest distilleries in Islay. Surrounded by the rugged coast, it is known for a meticulous approach to craftsmanship and is revered for their distinctive peated single malt Scotch whisky.
Starward Founder David Vitale, says “My earliest inspiration for Starward was to create a deliciously distinctive whisky, and while we certainly hit that brief with our red wine barrel matured whisky, what whisky better epitomises distinctively delicious than Lagavulin? Sourcing these barrels to create this exciting expression gives us a magical moment to celebrate the very best of Australian curiosity and Scottish tradition.”
Speaking of their distillery team’s visit to Islay and Lagavulin, Starward Production Director Sam Slaney said, “Our team was incredibly inspired by the experience in Islay. Their landscape and climate are literally worlds away from what we’re used to in our Port Melbourne distillery. You can see how much this impacts the flavours in their distinctive peated whisky. Similar to the impact our rapidly changing climate has on maturation, where the constant change in temperature causes our barrels contract and expand, meaning the whisky soaks up all those delicious flavours from the wood.”
Whisky enthusiasts will have the chance to try this limited release ahead of its official launch, as Starward partnered with select venues to hold exclusive tasting events across the country. The team will take imbibers through the journey of Starward Single Malt Australian Whisky Finished in ex-Lagavulin Barrels, and those interested can check out participating venues with tickets being available via this link.
The bottle comes presented in a beautiful bespoke gift box.
Starward Single Malt Australian Whisky Finished in ex-Lagavulin Barrels is available exclusively via ballot on the Starward website and is priced at $199.
In August, Starward unveiled the limited-edition Starward Muscat whisky. The offering features notes of toasted almond, cinnamon, and lychee.