The Great “Down Under” Tasting Tour – Part 4
Two down and four to go in our Down Under Tasting Tour! Since we’ve covered the Limeburners and Nant single malt whiskies, the first two on the left, I will just continue going left-to-right as the whiskies are shown in the photo, which means that our next whisky is the Starward Single Malt Whisky from the New World Whisky Distillery. If you joined the Tour late, I recognize that the Starward is the third from the left, but in Part 1 of this series we had a review of another Australian whisky, the Tiger Snake Sour Mash Whisky from Great Southern Distillery that isn’t in the above photo!
About the New World Whisky Distillery
Founded in 2004, owner David Vitale, who spent a few years working with Bill Lark at Lark Distillery, undertook the start-up of the then-called Victoria Valley Distillery. Now operating under the New World Whisky Distillery name, Vitale approached the creation of his single malt whisky with a very specific objective, and that was to create an “accessible” whisky that represents the Australian craft whisky scene in his local markets as well as international markets.
Based in an old Qantas airplane maintenance hangar at Melbourne’s Essendon Airport, the New World Distillery uniquely produces and matures its whisky in the same building. New World uses an 1800 liter wash still and a 600 liter spirit still, producing approximately 20,000 cases annually.
Review: Starward Single Malt Whisky
Starward Single Malt whisky is produced using bespoke 100% malted Australian barley and is matured in Australian Apera (Sherry) casks. Before filling them, New World re-coopers the casks, and uses barrels of various sizes including 50 liter, 100 liter and 200 liter barrels. The maturation process takes advantage of the highly variable Melbourne climate which increases wood interaction. Starward Single Malt whisky is bottled at 43% abv and has no additives or caramel colouring.
Color: Light amber, although it is a surprisingly dark color considering this is likely quite a young whisky.
Nose: The nose is all about overripe banana, vanilla cream, vanilla extract, a hint of ripe orchard fruits and….that’s about it. And, sadly, water doesn’t make any noticeable change, either.
Taste: Just like the nose, the palate is full of sweet vanilla, banana, maybe a hint of toffee or caramel, a touch of red apples and pears. The arrival is sweet, the development is sweet and rather simple. A reasonably nice, full mouthfeel.
Finish: Sweet, short, vanilla and banana.
Overall: This is a difficult one to make sense of. I guess that it fulfills Vitale’s objective of creating an “accessible” whisky, as it certainly isn’t a challenging dram. The whisky is simple, straight-forward, and frankly just a bit uninspiring. While there are pluses in that it has a nice mouthfeel and the aromas and flavors are well-developed, this one just doesn’t offer much complexity or excitement. In some ways it reminds me of the TX Whisky made by Firestone & Robertson in Ft. Worth, which is similarly rather simple, but shows a reasonable level of quality.
Region: Melbourne, Australia
Distillery: The New World Whisky Distillery
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Maturation: American Oak “Sherry Wood”
Price: $80 AUS 700 ml bottle
Availability: Currently available
Sample Source: Mike D.
Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014, Ingvar Ronde, MagDig Media, Ltd.