08 December 2021
The original Starward distillery was setup in 2007 in a former aircraft maintenance hanger, on the outskirts of Melbourne. Back then, Australian whisky was already well established (and centred mostly around the island of Tasmania) but bottles were difficult to track down in Australia, let alone the rest of the world. The founder of Starward, David Vitale, wanted to change this by making a whisky that could be shared and enjoyed rather than tucked away as an investment item.
Vitale set out to make a quintessentially Australian product, so all of the ingredients at Starward were sourced "within a day's drive." This meant barley sourced from between Hunter Valley in Northern Sydney and the Adelaide Hills and apera (a sweet Australian fortified wine) and red wine casks from Victoria to mature the whisky. The weather in Melbourne is, well, temperamental, which is much to the benefit of Starward whisky. Hot summers and cold winters, along with Melbourne's famous ‘four seasons in a day’ encourage expansion and contraction of casks, accelerating the effects of maturation and imparting a uniquely Melbournian twist on the juice.
After some early success, followed by funding from Diageo's Distill Ventures accelerator program, Starward re-homed in 2016, moving to a purpose built unit in Melbourne's Dockland s Precinct.
David Vitale is from an Italian family, and firmly believes that whisky belongs on the dinner table, along with good food and good company. The use of red wine and apera casks for maturation helps here, bringing about the familiar dark fruit qualities that mean Starward pairs well with with Australian BBQ, cheese and, well, just about everything edible.
Starward Nova is matured in lightly charred or steamed barrels sourced from Australian wineries making great shiraz, cabernets and pinot noirs. Often filled fresh when the barrel is still wet with wine.
The use of red wine casks gives the whisky exceptional length with bright aromatic notes of red berries, orchard fruits, vanilla, caramel and soft oak spice.