Starward Australian Whisky has unveiled Starward Octave Barrels, a new Australian single malt whisky that brings together the best of whisky craftsmanship and Australian winemaking. Extending Starward’s 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 takes these barrels to create a world first Single Estate Australian Whisky.
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.
Octave Barrels 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.
On the nose, the whisky is rich, full bodied expression with notes of red fruit, raisins, ripe peach, caramel, and toasty oak. The palate is viscous and long with dark forest fruits flavors and a toasted oak backbone. The finish features 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.”
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. With Octave Barrels, Starward has gained this insight too and in turn has created a whisky even more delicious than the Melbourne-based distillery ever predicted.
Octave Barrels was recently awarded a Double Gold medal at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Bottled at 48% ABV, Starward Octave Barrel is now available in limited quantities at select retailers nationwide and online via Starward’s official website for $79.99 per 700ml bottle.
In February, following the release of its first Tawny single malt in 2019 (which was awarded the Best Worldwide Whisky at the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Competition in 2020), Starward unveiled its next iteration: Tawny #2.